May 2010

Man admits having sex with girl of 14

A SKATEBOARDER who was in a relationship with a 14-year-old girl is starting a two-year jail sentence for underage sex.

Jonathon Atkinson, 21, formed a relationship with the 14-year-old after meeting her at a park in Darlington, a court was told. Despite later claiming he did not know how old the girl was, it was discovered that he met her several times at the school gates.

Teesside Crown Court heard that Atkinson initially told her that he was 16, although she later became aware of his true age.

Atkinson ended the relationship after three-and-a-half months, and later told police that he felt paranoid because “it wasn’t right”.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said at the time of the offences, Atkinson was 20 and the girl was approaching her 15th birthday.

Scott Smith, mitigating, described Atkinson as immature, and said that he had become isolated after being bullied when he was at school.

Mr Smith said: “This started off as a friendship and progressed to a sexual relationship.

He did not force himself upon her.

“He simply turned a blind eye to what was obvious to everybody else. He is an immature young man who has acted inappropriately.

“He didn’t do the appropriate thing and abstain from sexual activity or find a girlfriend whose age was nearer to that of his.

Atkinson, of Arundel Avenue, Darlington, admitted two specimen counts of sexual activity with a child in the summer of last year.

Judge Howard Crowson told him: “You took advantage of your friendship to have a sexual relationship with her.

“You may be a man of good character, but you must have known when you started the relationship that you were doing something wrong.

“Your responsibility as an adult male is to join the rest of moral members of society in protecting young girls from forming inappropriate relationships with grown men.”

Atkinson will be banned from working with children, and was ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.

The judge also imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which bans Atkinson from making contact with the girl for six years.