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Ten men jailed as police stop sexual exploitation of 13-year-old girl
TEN men have been jailed after police uncovered a web of child abuse that involved a 13-year-old girl being groomed and sexually exploited by 30 suspects.
The discovery of such large scale abuse was sparked when the girl’s mother handed her child’s mobile phone over to police after she discovered a large number of sexually explicit text message and pictures.
It became the catalyst for a major investigation by the force.
They tracked down and identified 30 suspects – none of whom knew each other – who had groomed the girl online for their own sexual gratification.
The men from across the UK were aged between 20 and 45 and included a 14-year-old boy.
The offences ranged in seriousness from persuading her to send indecent photographs of herself to sexual activity with the girl.
The first abuser started using her sexually just days after her 13th birthday.
Their activities have been said to have left her so emotionally and mentally scarred she is now receiving intensive professional help.
In total ten men have been jailed for a total of 34 year and four months. One is still awaiting sentence, one has received a community order and others have been cautioned.
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Mason, head of crime at North Yorkshire Police said: “This investigation uncovered large-scale exploitation of a child for the sexual gratification of several men, some of whom were married and had successful careers.
“Although some of the suspects ceased all contact with the girl when they discovered her age, many didn’t and they have been punished appropriately or their crimes.”
He said it was a “difficult investigation” and involved studying a vast amount of data to secure the arrests.
North Yorkshire Police have issued a combination of warning signs for parents to look out for, that in some cases can be evidence a child is being sexually exploited:
• Regularly missing from home or school and staying out all night
• Change in behaviour – becoming aggressive and disruptive or quiet and withdrawn.
• Unexplained gifts or new possessions such as clothes, jewellery, mobile phones or money that can’t be accounted for.
• Increase in mobile phone use or secretive use
• Appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• Being picked up or dropped off in cars by unknown adults
• A significantly older ‘boyfriend’ or ‘friend’ or lots of new friends
• Spending excessive amount of time online and becoming increasingly secretive about time spent online
• Sudden involvement in criminal behaviour or increased offending
• Sexual health problems