A paedophile who sexually assaulted young girls at a church youth club has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Jack Hodgeson, 65, took advantage of the girls, as young as eight, when they attended the club where he worked during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Hodgeson tried to kiss one eight-year-old in a walk-in cupboard as they put away equipment, but she struggled and escaped, prosecutor John Topham told Bradford Crown Court yesterday.
The second victim – described as one of his favourites – was also eight when Hodgeson kissed her in the cupboard in a sexual manner.
The third girl was sexually assaulted twice, when she was eight and then when she was 11. Mr Topham said that on the first occasion the defendant picked up the girl and held her against his body.
The second assault involved kissing her on the lips.
Mr Topham said the offences came to light in 2012 when one of the victims saw the defendant working as a volunteer. She contacted the other victims and they all went to the police.
Hodgeson, of Gerrard House, Idle, Bradford, pleaded guilty to four charges of indecent assault.
Judge Jonathan Rose told Hodgeson he had been in a position of trust and responsibility to the girls but he also noted that he had pleaded guilty.
He sentenced him to three months’ imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered him to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work for the community.
He also ordered him to undertake a medium-level activity for 30 days, “to assist you to come to terms with the fact you are a paedophile”.
Judge Rose added: “What you did was not affection. It was sexual behaviour towards little girls. The community deplores such behaviour.”
Hodgeson was ordered to register as a sex offender for seven years and prohibited from working in any employment which would bring him into contact with children.
After the case, Detective Constable Jodie Hayes, of the Bradford Child Safeguarding Unit, said: “Hodgeson was in a position of trust and took advantage of that fact to commit what were a series of serious offences against young girls.
“We will not tolerate this type of behaviour in our communities, and I would urge anyone who believes they have been subjected to this type of crime to come forward by calling Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or the non emergency 101.”