June 2011

Married man, 24, jailed after ‘taking advantage’ of girl

CHURCHGOER Jonathan Smith has been jailed for engaging in sexual activity with a girl he contacted online.

The 24-year-old married man “took advantage” of his victim, who was about nine years younger and had a crush on him.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard yesterday that Smith, who had teaching responsibilities at his church, made contact through Facebook.

During the course of many lengthy conversations on the social networking site, he asked her about her bra size, if she was a virgin and spoke about her breasts.

Prosecutor Neil Ahuja said they met, on his suggestion, on September 6 last year.

“Her age would have been apparent through her profile on the site,” said Mr Ahuja.

The court heard Smith, pictured, picked up the teenager in his car and took her to his home where he kissed her while they watched a DVD.

Mr Ahuja said the kissing became more intense and the pair “snogged.”

“Smith began to kiss down her neck towards the top of her chest and at the same time was using his hands to feel her legs,” said Mr Ahuja.

“He tried to put his hands inside her trousers and she stopped him.”

Smith next met the girl on September 23. He again picked her up in his car and took her to his house.

He took her to his bedroom and suggested sitting on the bed and they kissed.

Mr Ahuja said: “He moved his hand under her clothing and he touched her breast.

“He tried to put his hands inside her trousers but she again stopped him.

“He suggested she could lose her virginity.”

The girl’s father became aware of communication between the pair and Smith was arrested on December 11.

Smith, of May Street, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual activity with a child.

The court was told that in 2002, he received a caution for an indecent assault on a female under the age of 14. He was then aged 15 and his victim was aged 11 or 12.

Antonie Muller, mitigating, said Smith did not use any force on either occasion and desisted when asked to by the girl.

Mr Muller said: “He failed to suppress the sexual feelings he had about her.”

He described Smith as sexually immature and asked for any prison sentence to be suspended.

But Judge Paul Glenn said the offences were so serious only an immediate custodial sentence was appropriate.

He jailed Smith for six months.

The defendant, who will serve up to half the sentence, will also be on the sex offenders’ register for seven years and was barred from a range of activities involving children.

Judge Glenn told Smith: “It was quite plain she had a crush on you and you were happy to take advantage of her.

“You were unable and unwilling to control your urges.

“These meetings were premeditated. Your intention was to go as far as she would let you.

“You did desist when she made clear the advances were not welcome.

“Your offending will have had a significant effect on this young girl.

“She was a vulnerable child and was sexually and emotionally very immature.”