A self-employed child counsellor from Richmond, North Yorkshire, has today, Tuesday 9 June 2015, been jailed after admitting child sex offences.
Robert Fothergill, 46, of White Lands, was jailed for six years at Teesside Crown Court. He was also issued with an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and ordered to sign the sex offenders register.
At an earlier hearing in April 2015, Fothergill pleaded guilty to one charge of causing or inciting a boy under 13 to engage in sexual activity between 2007 and 2009, one charge of sexual assault against a boy between 2008 and 2011, and three charges of distributing indecent images of children. He also admitted to attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity in February 2014, and possession of indecent photographs of a child. All of the offences happened in North Yorkshire.
Fothergill worked with children and young people across a number of schools in the North Yorkshire, Durham, Cleveland and Tyne and Wear areas.
Fothergill’s crimes were discovered during an investigation by West Yorkshire Police into suspected sex offenders in their area. Information was passed to North Yorkshire Police in February 2015 and Fothergill was immediately arrested and subsequently charged with the offences.
Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Fiona Wynne of North Yorkshire Police’s Serious Crime Team, said:
Fothergill’s admission of guilt has at least spared his victims the ordeal of going through the criminal justice system and a Crown Court trial.
However, nothing can ever undo the harm he has caused both to the children he has directly abused or those whose pictures he has shared.
Children’s safety is of paramount importance and they should be protected at all times from those who want to abuse them, particularly those who are in a position of trust.
It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure they are kept safe, from parents to professionals, and I urge anyone who suspects a child is being abused to contact the police, or if they prefer, one of the many other agencies who can help.
Anyone who is affected by sexual abuse, whether it is happening now, or occurred many years ago, should not hesitate to come forward.
If you do not want to talk to the police, you can contact Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) directly on 01904 669339 www.turntobridgehouse.org