By JR on Monday, July 11, 2011
Father fined 1,000 pounds and found guilty of harassment for warning families about a paedophile
A father who warned another parent about a convicted paedophile has been fined œ1,000 and found guilty of harassing the sex offender. He was horrified to find his ex-wife's new husband - stepfather to his daughter, 11 - had served three jail terms for sex crimes.
A reporting restriction imposed to protect the stepfather's identity means that none of the family members can be named. One of the stepfather's sentences was for molesting two 12-year-old girls as they slept at his house.
A court heard the father raised the alarm after discovering four of his daughter's friends had been invited to the family home for a sleepover to celebrate her birthday. When he showed the mother of one girl a newspaper clipping revealing the stepfather's convictions, all the parents stopped their children going to the sleepover.
Following that action, as well as repeated phone calls to the home of his ex-wife and her husband, the father was arrested and convicted of harassment at Worcester Magistrates Court and fined œ1,000.
The father told the court he spoke out because he would have `felt responsible' if one of the children at the sleepover had been harmed. He added: `My decision was to speak up to one of the parents and leave it up to their discretion. `I was concerned for her daughter as I always have been for my own. My daughter is open to quite considerable harm in my eyes.'
A judge heard how the defendant's ex-wife began a relationship with the convicted paedophile in 2007 and is now married to him.
The defendant said he initially socialised with his ex-wife and her new partner, but relations soured when he learned of the man's past.
The stepfather was convicted of attempted rape in 1980 as a teenager. He was convicted of the same offence in 1988 and was jailed again in 1996 for molesting the two girls.
The court heard the defendant had signed a police harassment notice after earlier claims that he may have discussed the stepfather's past with others. The notice required him not to reveal the stepfather's convictions to anyone, including his own daughter.
But he breached the order last September by alerting the other parent. Prosecutor Owen Beale said the father, frustrated at what he saw as decreasing access to his daughter, also called his ex-wife's home 14 times in two hours one evening the same month, and rang her mobile phone three times.
In one message he said of the stepfather: `You are a self-confessed paedophile, rapist, fraudster, the lot... I just want to speak to my daughter.' In another, he threatened to come `round to sort things out once and for all'. The couple were at home but did not answer the phone. Instead they noted down the content of the messages and informed police.
The father told the court on Thursday that he made the calls as he had been unable to reach his daughter on her mobile because of poor reception in the area where she lives, and did not contact police or social services about the sleepover because he `didn't think they would act quickly enough'.
Mr Beale said of the fact the defendant's daughter was under the same roof as a convicted sex offender: `The authorities were not concerned that there was a risk because they left her there.'
District Judge Mark Layton described the case as `hugely difficult' but said the charges against the father had been proved. He must pay œ775 costs and a œ15 victim surcharge, and banned from contact with the stepfather