November 2015

Charity founder jailed of child sexual offences

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A man who ran a charity for young gay people in Salisbury has been convicted of a string of sex offences today.

William (Will) John Clark, 45, used spy cameras to film children and adults using public toilets in The Old George Mall, Salisbury, for sexual gratification.

And he secretly filmed young, gay men in the bathroom of his home.

Police found hundreds of indecent images of children as young as seven on his computer, Salisbury Crown Court heard today.

He also lied to the charity commission about his history of child sex offences when he set up the Rainbow Rooms in the city in 2009.

Once heralded a local hero, Clark has today been jailed for 28 months.

His parents sat alongside victims in the public gallery, as the court was told Clark had downloaded 943 indecent images and videos of children as young as seven between 2008 and 2014, including 60 of the most serious, category A, images.

Some of the images were “sadistic” featuring children who were “clearly distressed and suffering”, the court heard.

Judge Alan Large said: “Your motivation was, in my judgment, a continued sexual interest in children. No other explanation is tenable.”

In 2009, Clark set up Rainbow Rooms, a charity supporting young gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people in Salisbury and the surrounding area.

He lied to the charity commission, saying he had completed an enhanced background check.

But he failed to disclose his record of child sex offences, which included the indecent assault of a nine-year-old boy.

The judge said: “You knew full well if you had made proper declaration of your previous convictions you would not have been allowed to set up the charity.”

He added: “I accept that the primary motivation was to do good, but I have no doubt that as a by-product you knew it would bring you into contact with young, gay men, some of whom were bound to be needy.”

The judge said the victims of Clark’s secret filming felt “betrayal and anger” because of what he had done to them, and it had caused “significant emotional difficulties”.

Police also recovered videos of 40 men and boys recorded through a hole in the wall of the male toilets of The Old George Mall, with a view of the urinals.

The videos focused on men’s private parts, but the camera would move to record the faces of younger boys using the toilets.

(It was mistakenly said in court that he filmed men in the toilets at Salisbury coach station).

The court heard Clark had felt a “sense of excitement and thrill” at the risk of being caught filming.

Clark, who wore a light-grey suit and sported a beard as he sat in the dock, was given full credit for his guilty pleas.

The judge said: “This cocktail of offences is so serious, an immediate custodial sentence must be passed.”

He sentenced Clark to 12 months for the child abuse images, four months for lying to the charity commission (to be served concurrently), 10 months for filming people in his home, and six months for filming people in the public toilets.

His total sentence was 28 months, but the judge told Clark he would serve 14.

Clark was also sentenced under a court martial for four historic sex offences he committed at the age of 14 and 17 while living on army bases in Germany, while his father was a serving in the military.

He was convicted of indecent assault and gross indecency against boys a few years younger than him at the time.

For these offences, he was given a 12-month total sentence, to be served concurrently with his civilian court sentence.

Clark moved from Salisbury to Pell Lane, Ryde, Isle-of-Wight.

He previously admitted nine offences relating to indecent images of children, four voyeurism offences and one charge in relation to supplying false or misleading information to the Charity Commission.