Fury as paedophile, 61, escapes jail after claiming girl victim, 7, pinned HIM down and forced her tongue in his mouth
Freed: John Thompson, 61, was given a suspended prison sentence for sexual assault
A judge’s decision to free a sex offender who accused his seven-year-old victim of ‘coming on to him’ has outraged children’s welfare charities.
Paedophile John Thompson, 61, claimed he was helpless as the child, then aged just seven, pinned him down and forced her tongue into his mouth.
He claimed the little girl was flirtatious with him and was coming on to him before the assault.
But Judge Gillian Matthews gave him a suspended sentence because it was the only way he could receive treatment despite Thompson being ‘a potentially high risk’ to girls.
The decision provoked outrage from children’s charities who argue Thompson should not have been allowed back on the streets.
Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association of People Abused in Childhood, said: ‘It is outrageous that he got a non-custodial sentence.
‘The man is clearly a danger to society, and particularly to children, and shame on the judge for passing what we consider is such a despicable sentence.’
Teesside Crown Court heard police were called in January last year when the girl’s grandmother found out about Thompson’s inappropriate behaviour.
Tina Dempster, prosecuting, said: ‘He indicated that her behaviour towards him was sexualised and essentially was flirting with him and coming onto him.
Teesside Crown Court, pictured, heard Thompson claims his victim had ‘come on to him’
‘He described an incident whereby he was sitting on the bed, she came towards him, sat astride him, pushed him down and forced her tongue into his mouth.’
The court heard that after his arrest, Thompson told police: ‘I knew it was wrong, but somehow our mouths became open. I could not push her off.’
A probation report into the case said Thompson groomed the girl – described as needing attention and tactile – but his barrister argued the youngster had instigated sexual contact.
Tamara Pawson, mitigating, added: ‘He accepts that he should have stopped her there, rather than reciprocating and kissing her back.
‘But it cannot be said he had an intention to exploit or groom a vulnerable young girl.
‘It is clear that Mr Thompson does have a somewhat worrying attitude towards the offence, and that’s something that needs to be addressed.’
Miss Pawson urged Judge Matthews not to jail Thompson because he would need a four-year sentence to get treatment behind bars.
She also said that locking up the grandfather from Hartlepool, County Durham, would punish his disabled partner who he is a full-time carer for.
Thompson admitted a charge of sexual assault and was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with probation service supervision.
He was also put on the sex offenders’ register, banned from having unsupervised contact with girls under 16 and ordered to attend a treatment programme.
Judge Matthews told Thompson: ‘You are a man of good character and that is an important feature in the sentencing assessment, and also your having pleaded guilty.
‘I note what has been said about that child and her background. However, it is very clear to me she is an extremely vulnerable victim.
‘I know not whether you selected her deliberately, but it seems to me you should have been able to withstand such attentions as she was giving you.
‘I have read the pre-sentence report and noted the factors in there carefully, and you reveal some worrying traits in your beliefs about this matter.
‘Therefore, it is impossible for me to assess fully the risk you pose and I have to err on the side of caution that you are potentially a high risk of offending against other female children.
‘Therefore, it is vital that you are subject to a sex offenders’ treatment programme.
‘Bearing in mind the guidelines for sentencing in such cases, I could not pass a sentence of imprisonment which would ensure you receive treatment.’
The decision comes after the problem of prison treatment for sex offenders was highlighted in a national report earlier this week.
The study, by the prisons and probation inspectorates, warned that many prisons were failing to rehabilitate sex offenders.
They found that one in three sex offenders did not receive any treatment – one in four were not even given a serious risk assessment.
The former brewery worker said after the case: ‘I regret it and can assure everyone that nothing like this will ever, ever happen again.’
Commenting on the case, Children’s charity Kidscape said: ‘It is absolutely unacceptable for a 61-year-old man to claim that a seven-year-old girl made sexual advances to him that he could not prevent.
‘The responsibility must lie with the adult. However precocious the child, her vulnerability should have been evident.
‘The adult male should have taken direct action to prevent the situation, and the relevant agencies should have been alerted.’