A Jehovah’s Witness who groomed a girl has walked free from court.
Richard Ogilvie was given a suspended prison sentence after a judge ruled his conduct was ‘bad, but not as bad as some cases we see before these courts’.
The victim’s father said he ‘understands and accepts’ the sentence and hopes the sex offender treatment Ogilvie receives will prevent another child and family suffering at his hands.
“My daughter is damaged,” the father added. “But with the help of our friends and family we will make her better.”
Ogilvie, 32, of Scott Grove, Hartlepool, was convicted last month by a jury at Teesside Crown Court of sexual grooming of the girl.
He was acquitted of inciting the same child to commit sexual activity.
The court heard Ogilvie sent the girl a series of texts, telling her he loved her to bits and wanted to snog her.
Christine Egerton, defending, said in mitigation: “He has been punished by the loss of his job, and the knowledge of the conviction by those in his community.
“He has not sought to hide what has happened, and accepts the jury’s verdict.”
The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, sentenced Ogilvie to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years, including a two-year supervision and sex offender treatment order.
The judge said: “This grooming was bad enough, but it was grooming for kissing and cuddling, not grooming for penetrative sex.
“The grooming took place over a limited time of about a week.
“It is better for society that you receive lengthy supervision and treatment, rather than be released after a few months from a short custodial sentence with little supervision and treatment.”
Ogilvie was made the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order limiting his contact with children.
He is also banned from contacting his victim, and he must register as a sex offender for 10 years.