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Foster carer jailed for abusing teenagers in his care

Foster carer jailed for abusing teenagers in his care

A foster carer who abused and spied on three vulnerable girls in his care has been jailed for almost 12 years.

Paul Robertson, 64, of Coles Mill Avenue, Holsworthy, looked after many children who were sent to his home on respite placements in the early 2010s.

Judge Anna Richardson said the emotional damage inflicted on the victims would “last all their lives”.

He was sentenced for sexual assault, voyeurism and taking or making indecent images at Exeter Crown Court.

Judge Richardson said: “They [the victims] were sent to you by the authorities who were trying to protect them from sexual exploitation by older men but you yourself perpetrated that.

“You abused them horrifically and treated them however you wished for your own sexual gratification.”

Miniature hidden camera

All three victims were from troubled backgrounds which included earlier sexual abuse.

Robertson was only caught when police found he had been downloading child abuse videos in 2019.

After this, officers found videos of the girls, including one showing him having sex with a teenager in his care.

Despite two victims making complaints about his behaviour Robertson was allowed to carry on fostering and spied on a third teenage girl using a miniature hidden camera.

Only one complaint led to a formal investigation by Devon County Council, which rejected it in a week in 2013.

Robertson and his wife were both registered with a private care company and not directly employed by the council.

A spokesperson said due to “insufficient evidence” at the time in 2013 when allegations were made, no charges were brought against Robertson.

“It was the fostering agency’s responsibility subsequent to that investigation to decide whether they would continue to employ him as a foster carer.”

Robertson had another job and his wife Mary was the main carer, who knew nothing about what he was doing.

Robertson denied three counts of sexual assault against a child and was found guilty.

He had previously admitted two counts of sexual activity with a child, three of voyeurism and seven of taking or making indecent images of children.

Plus, he was also found guilty of three counts of sexual assault and admitted two counts of sexual activity with a child, five of voyeurism and 10 of making or taking indecent images of children or extreme images.

The judge jailed him for 11 years and nine months, put him on the sex offenders register for life and made him the subject of a sexual harm prevention order which restricts his access to children.

Source: BBC News