Teaching assistant jailed for grooming teenagers online

Police photo of Stuart Baker Image copyright Northamptonshire Police
Image caption Baker persuaded five teenage boys to share explicit photos of themselves on Facebook

A teaching assistant who tricked five boys into sending him explicit photos of themselves has been jailed.

Stuart Baker, 40, lured his victims into sexual conversations by posing as a 14-year-old girl on Facebook.

Baker, who worked at Corby Business Academy, admitted 15 counts of sexual offences against children.

He was jailed for three years at Northampton Crown Court. Judge Timothy Smith said his actions had a "devastating effect" on his victims.

"You exploited these boys. This was a breach of trust as a high level teaching assistant," Mr Smith said.

The court was told that the youngest victim was 13 and that one had been suffering from "extreme anxiety" as a result of the abuse.

The grooming took place between January 2015 and August 2016, when a parent found a Facebook conversation and alerted police.

'Preyed' on victims

Baker had previously pleaded guilty to 10 charges of inciting children to engage in sexual activity and a further five relating to the making and distribution of indecent images of children.

He was banned from working with children and put on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

A spokeswoman for Corby Business Academy said: "There were no prior concerns about this individual's conduct, or any history of complaints.

"The police investigation has determined that none of the activities took place at school or using school equipment."

Det Andy Rogers from Northamptonshire Police said: "Baker preyed on his young victims in the most appalling way and for his own sexual gratification, manipulating them online in order to gain their trust.

"I am happy with today's result and I hope it goes some way to giving his victims and their families some comfort that justice has been done and that they can now start to rebuild their lives."

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