Ex-EastEnders actor avoids jail for sexual offences against three teenage girls
AN ex-EastEnders actor has today dodged jail after admitting sexual offences against three teenage girls while in a position of trust as a youth worker.
Joseph Shade, 24, who played Peter Beale in the soap from 1998 to 2004, confessed during his trial to sending sexual text messages to girls and touching one on the bottom.
Today at Norwich Crown Court he was handed a suspended prison sentence of 18 months.
In August, the court was told Shade’s offences were against three girls aged between 14 and 17, and happened between 2012 and 2015.
On the fourth day of his trial, Shade, of Sheringham, Norfolk, changed his pleas.
The 24-year-old admitted five counts of causing or inciting a child under 18 to engage in sexual activity while in a position of trust and one count of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.
A further five sexual offence charges will lie on file.
Judge Maureen Bacon QC, sentencing Shade on Friday, told him: “You sought to engage vulnerable teenage girls in sexual activity when you were in a position of trust.”
At the time, prosecutor David Wilson said: “He himself attended that youth project as a young person and got help from them.
“As he reached the age of 18 he became formally employed as a youth worker and in this capacity as a youth worker he then engaged with many young people who came from similar backgrounds and vulnerabilities as he had.
“During the course of his employment he accepts by his pleas that his relationships became too close to a number of attendees and he would engage with them by texting them messages asking them to have sex or to send sexual pictures of breasts and the like.
“On one occasion and only one occasion he touched one of them.”
The ex-TV actor was charged with the offences in October following an investigation by Norfolk Police’s Child Abuse Investigation Unit.
The trial of Shade, who lives with his girlfriend, was due to last five to six days.
Shade was handed an 18-month prison sentenced suspended for 24 months, a five-year sexual harm prevention order barring him from working with children and vulnerable adults, and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.
He must also sign the Sex Offenders Register and complete a 60-day offender programme.
Former EastEnders actor admits sex offences
Former EastEnders actor Joseph Shade has admitted sexual offences against three teenage girls.
The youth worker, from Sheringham in Norfolk, played Peter Beale as a child from 1998 until 2004.
Shade, 24, admitted five counts of causing or inciting a child under 18 to engage in sexual activity while in a position of trust and one count of sexual activity with a child.
He was released on bail and will be sentenced at a later date.
The offences were committed against three girls aged between 14 and 17, and happened between 2012 and 2015, Norwich Crown Court heard.
Shade was a youth worker at a project in Norfolk at the time when he sent sexual text messages to girls and touched one on the bottom, prosecutor Chris Paxton said.
The former soap actor had been helped by the youth project himself, but “as he reached the age of 18 he became formally employed as a youth worker… and engaged with many young people who came from similar backgrounds and vulnerabilities as he had”, Mr Paxton said.
Joseph Shade, 24 of Cliff Road, Sheringham, was charged in October 2016 by officers from Norfolk Constabulary’s Child Abuse Investigation Unit (CAIU) with eight counts of ‘abuse of position of trust/inciting sexual activity with a girl’ and one count of ‘sexual activity with a girl’.
The charges relate to offences involving a number of victims, whilst he worked as a youth worker, in North Norfolk between December 2012 and March 2015.
At a Norwich Crown Court appearance today, Shade pleaded guilty to six counts in total – five counts of position of trust/inciting sexual activity with a girl’ and one count of ‘sexual activity with a girl’.
Shade will be sentenced at Norwich Crown Court in due course.