Febuary 2012

Sexual grooming ‘never physical’

A YOUNG man attracted to a 14-year-old he met at a drama group admitted sexual grooming but had never touched him, Truro Crown Court heard.

After hearing the case for the prosecution, put by Philip Lee, Judge Christopher Harvey Clark QC told 21-year-old Daniel Sowden, of Wheal Agar, Pool: “What you did was both legally and socially unacceptable and it has not surprisingly caused a good deal of distress and anger to the boy’s parents.

“Whatever encouragement he may have given you, there was no excuse for you grooming him in the way you did.

“The public will be best served by your being subject to a three-year community order with closely monitored supervision. More specifically, you must attend and participate in the Thames Valley Sex Offender Programme, a very intensive course, the object being to alert you to your previous behaviour and discourage you from committing further similar offences in the future.”

On being asked, Sowden told the judge he was in a loving relationship with a man of 31.

Sowden was barred from contacting the boy again, in person or through social networking websites, and ordered him to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.