May 2015

‘Bullied and vulnerable’ sex offender spared jail for breaching order by visiting baby unit

Stockton child rapist visited hospital's baby unit despite ban on contacting children

A sex offender who visited a hospital baby unit against a court order banning him from contact with children has been given a suspended jail term.

Troubled Jason Douglass will be under the supervision of the Probation Service, who said he was vulnerable and victimised.

The 26-year-old was given a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) in 2004 banning him from unsupervised contact with children.

At the age of 14, he was given a supervision order for raping a younger boy.

Douglass went on to breach the SOPO more than 20 times.

He was given a suspended jail term in March last year after he admitted talking to children and showing them a snake in an alleyway.

Douglass, of Hartington Road, central Stockton, then ended up in Teesside Crown Court for flouting the order again with the hospital visit, which he admitted.

He went to the University Hospital of North Tees with others as a visitor to see a newborn baby on May 18 last year.

The court was told he attended the hospital because another man had threatened to “stab him up” if he did not.

A member of staff on the neo-natal unit was left “shaken and distressed” after finding out about Douglass’ court order.

Tamara Pawson, defending, said: “There is no suggestion that he’s had any contact with children or that it was sexually motivated.”

She said Douglass had received support from the Moses Project, a Stockton charity, with his “chaotic lifestyle”.

After a six-month deferment of sentence, Judge Peter Bowers said Douglass had kept out of trouble.

He said Douglass’ original sexual offence was in 2004, adding: “There’s been no repetition of that sort of behaviour since.”

He told the defendant: “My main concern is to ensure that you obey the terms of the SOPO, and the purpose of that is to make sure the public feel safe and protected.

“The circumstances of this incident were unusual and there was never any question of you either being alone with a child or behaving in any way inappropriately.

“I’m quite satisfied that there was no risk at all to the public or to a child.

“You were to a large extent bullied in your going to the hospital.

“I’ve read a great deal about you, particularly your psychological problems and your development difficulties.

“You’re regarded by the Probation Service as being very vulnerable and (you have) apparently been victimised by others recently, beaten up.

“You’ve got to understand that when your offender manager says don’t do something, you don’t do it.

“Use her as a sounding board. She’s not there to cause trouble for you. She’s there to try and help you.”

The judge gave Douglass a three-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months with supervision.

He added: “The purpose of supervision is to help you, to try and get some order and structure into your life.

“Try and accept the help you’re being offered, please.”

He also ordered that Douglass does not go to hospital without first telling his offender manager, except in an emergency.

October 2014

Stockton child rapist visited hospital’s baby unit despite ban on contacting children

A child rapist has admitted visiting the baby unit at a Teesside hospital – despite being banned from contact with children.

Jason Douglass, 25, is barred from unsupervised contact with under 18s but has defied the order “dozens of times”.

His latest breach took place when he visited the University Hospital of North Tees’s neo-natal unit in Stockton with friends in May this year.

Despite Douglass flouting the order, Judge Peter Bowers indicated the ban may be too tough – by barring him from contact with 16 and 17-year-olds – and could be appealed.

Douglass, of Hartington Road, Stockton, is already serving a 12-month suspended prison sentence imposed in March after admitting talking to children and showing them a snake in an alleyway.

He also spoke to a 17-year-old girl while visiting an abstinence charity.

Douglass was banned from having unsupervised contact with under-18s with an indefinite sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) by magistrates in 2004.

Aged 14, he was given a supervision order for raping a younger boy.

But instead of sending Douglass to prison, Judge Bowers deferred sentencing for six months – and gave defence barrister Tamara Pawson permission to appeal against the ten-year-old order, which he believed “could be too onerous”.

Prosecuting, David Crook told Teesside Crown Court on Tuesday that Douglass had a “litany of breaches” of the order since it was imposed, with dozens resulting in a community order punishment from the courts.

He said the latest breach came on May 18 this year: “He was unsupervised. He attended with others as a visitor to see a new born baby.

“His partner had been the birthing partner of the baby’s mother. He went because the baby’s father had threatened to “stab him up” if he didn’t. There were four other premature babies on the ward.”

Mr Crook described how a member of staff on the neo-natal unit had been left “shaken and distressed” after finding out about Douglass’ order.

Mitigating, Miss Pawson presented two letters of support to the court, one from Brian Jones of the Moses Project – a Stockton charity helping men with drink and drug problems.

The charity said it would help Douglass to receive support and attend appointments, and help him keep a diary to help avoid breaching his order.

Judge Bowers said: “This order was imposed after a distressing and nasty case in 2004, when he was 14. There has been nothing else on his record apart from breaches of this order since.

“The age of 18 seems to be too high. If he spoke to a girl of 16 or 17, it could be said they are old enough to make their own decision.”

Judge Bowers deferred sentencing for six months – and imposed a new condition to his order, to stay away from hospitals and GP practices unless there was a medical emergency.