England

Holiday camp sex offender Jason Gaunt sentenced

Guildford Crown Court
Image caption The case was heard at Guildford Crown Court after a Surrey Police investigation

A children's entertainer who used social networking sites to groom young boys has been sentenced to a three-year community rehabilitation order.

Jason Gaunt, 22, from Walsall, West Midlands, worked at holiday camps so he could befriend youngsters, then contact them on the internet.

Guildford Crown Court heard he took jobs at camps in Lowestoft, Suffolk, and Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.

He had pleaded guilty to 19 charges involving three boys under 16.

The court was told Gaunt first engaged the boys in sexually explicit webchats then progressed to performing sex acts in front of a webcam.

He encouraged the boys, one of who was 11 at the time, to obtain webcams and perform sex acts themselves.

He was caught after an operation by Surrey Police's Paedophile Online Investigation Team.

Judge Peter Moss told Gaunt that sentencing guidelines meant he was unable to impose a prison sentence.

But he said the offences were "incredibly serious" and amounted to "very serious breach of trust".

Gaunt was ordered to sign on the sex offenders register for five years.

He was also issued with a sexual offences prevention order banning him from being in the company of or contacting young males under 16.

Internet ban

He was also banned from using the internet on any computer or device that does not have monitoring software installed and from having profiles on social networking sites.

Gaunt worked as a children's entertainer at Kessingland Beach Park Resort in Lowestoft in 2007 and 2008 and at Seawick Holiday Park in Clacton-on-Sea in 2009.

Surrey Police began their investigation after being contacted by the parents of a teenage boy who reported concerns about their son's contact with Gaunt in February last year.

"This case should serve as a warning to teenagers and their parents that people like Gaunt will use social networking sites and chatrooms to groom young people for sexual purposes," said Det Con Jon Merry.

"We would advise all young people to take extra care when speaking to others online, even if you think you may know them. "

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