April 2006

Parents of sex abuse victim call for offender to quit job

THE parents of a girl who was sexually abused at the age of 14 have spoken for the first time at their disbelief that the man responsible has been appointed to a £29,000-a-year post managing a community’s development trust.

The couple last night joined a South Yorkshire community in calling for the resignation of Phil Hemmans.

The County Durham family were responding to a report in The Northern Echo, which revealed that Mr Hemmans, 38, had got a job as chief executive of the Rossington Development Trust (RDT).

Mr Hemmans, 38, was sentenced to two years in jail in August 2001 after he admitted having sex with their daughter. He was a director of the Julie Graham Children’s Charity, in County Durham, at the time.

The discovery of his past created a storm of protest in the mining village near Doncaster, prompting calls for him to quit.

The girl’s father said: “We are disgusted and shocked that the panel have employed this person – when they were aware he was placed on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.

“They should remove him. He comes across as an intelligent and bright, but he is a monster and people need to know this.”

The family described how Mr Hemmans had taken advantage of a friendship between the girl’s family and his own to exploit her obvious crush on him. Despite the family’s attempts to stop contact, Mr Hemmans persisted.

The mother said: “He filled our daughters’ head with rubbish. We trusted him with our most valuable possessions – our children. He should not be allowed in a position of trust.”

But the RDT, which gets Euro-funding, has defended its decision to hire Mr Hemmans, saying he had served his sentence and that all checks and balances are in place to ensure he has no contact with young women.

Chairman Malcolm Clark said he had appointed him with full knowledge of his conviction and had contacted all the relevant authorities.

He said Mr Hemmans’ contract did not allow him to have any contact with young women or access to any of their files.

The RDT was due, at the beginning of this month, to take over the management of the Rossington Miners Welfare Scheme.

The scheme includes a social club and sports club, with several teams, though Mr Hemmans will have no direct dealings with the clubs, as his role is “purely administrative”.

August 2001

Parents’ video exposed pervert

THE director o f an after-school care charity is behind bars after admitting having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

Phil Hemmans, head of the Julie Graham Children’s Charity, had sex with the youngster about 20 times.

He was only found out when the girl’s suspicious parents secretly videoed the pair together.

They say the sickening sight of Hemmans skipping across their living room floor like a teenager, and becoming intimate with their daughter prompted them to call the police immediately.

Newcastle Crown Court heard yesterday how Hemmans, 33, took advantage of a friendship between the girl’s family and his own to exploit her obvious crush on him.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said the relationship was becoming more apparent when the two families went on holiday together.

He told the court: “He spent a lot of time alone with her, even though he was on holiday with his wife. They would go off taking photographs of sunsets and sunrises.”

When they returned to their County Durham home, the parents’ suspicions grew.

Mr Dryden said: “They decided to place a video camera in the sitting room to reassure themselves.

“They watched the video later that night and saw inappropriate behaviour.”

In police interviews, he admitted repeated sex sessions, including oral sex, with the girl, but claims she primarily initiated sex.

Hemmans, formerly of Charlow Close, Sacriston, admitted six counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, and was sentenced to two years, to run concurrently, for each offence. The judge ruled he would serve at least nine months.

He will be put on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.

Euan Duff, defending, said Hemmans resigned from his position at the charity when the allegations came to light last November, and has been threatened several time by Sacriston residents. Hemmans and his wife now live in the South.

Speaking after the sentencing, the victim’s parents said the sense of betrayal by their former friend was “overwhelming”.

The mother said: “He comes across as a very kind person but he is just an actor. He would visit her when we were out.

“We thought it was just a teenage crush. With hindsight it was clear that it wasn’t.

“This sentence is just not enough for the way he has devastated our daughter.” , but will serve only nine months in jail followed by an extension up to two years