October 2004

Sex text scout helper is free

A scout group helper who sent explicit text messages to a teenage girl has walked free from court. 

Benjamin Cockburn, 27, exchanged a series of mobile phone messages with the 14-year-old girl before inviting her home for “practical lessons”. 

The pair went so far as to arrange a secret rendezvous after school but when the girl’s mother suspected what was going on she put a block on any contact. 

Prosecutor Julie Clemitson said Cockburn began to exchange texts with the girl, which culminated with the meeting arranged for the girl’s practical sex education. 

She added: “While it is accepted the girl played her part in the messaging, the law exists to protect her from herself as well as to protect her from sexual predators.” 

Miss Clemitson said Cockburn had been provided with a Scout Association advice sheet of “dos and don’ts” for dealing with young people. 

Cockburn, 27, of Millford Way, Bowburn, Durham, denied inciting the girl to commit an act of gross indecency with him between January and March this year but was found guilty at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday. He was given a year community rehabilitation order and ordered to register as a sex offender for five years.