March 2006

Care worker who had sex with disabled girl is jailed

A CARE worker has been jailed for four years for having sex with a 14-year-old disabled girl he was supposed to be looking after.

Jamie Craggs, 23, was told he had abused the trust placed in him when he worked at the North-East residential home.

At Teesside Crown Court, Mr Justice Simon told him: “These offences tend to bring a suspicion on all those who do valuable and selfless work with the disadvantaged.

“What you did was a very serious breach of trust. She was entitled to trust you and you abused your position as one of her carers.”

Craggs admitted three charges of touching the girl sexually, but denied three counts of sexual activity with a child.

After deliberating for more than six hours, a jury found him not guilty of two of the sexual activity charges, but guilty of the other on a majority of ten to two.

The court heard that Craggs, of Jesmond Gardens, Hartlepool, had sexual relations with the girl for nine months from July 2004.

It was said that the teenager, who suffers from a muscle- wasting disease and needs round-the-clock care, went along with the relationship reluctantly, because she was flattered by Craggs’ attention.

But the judge told Craggs: “I am satisfied that there was no consent in any real sense in this case. She was highly vulnerable. The things you did were not things she wanted you to do.”

Police were called in after another care worker at the home, in Hartlepool, found semen on the girl’s bed in March last year. When Craggs was confronted about it, he said: “You’re joking – this could end my career.”

Yesterday, he was also banned from working with children ever again, and ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for life.

Alexia Zimbler, defending, said: “He is very sorry for what he has done. He realised he was somebody in a position of responsibility, in a position of trust, and he abused that.

“He has lost his partner and his two children, and he will no longer be able to work in his chosen career with children or have any un- supervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.

“He would wish me to assure the court that he has realised the irresponsibility and immaturity of his behaviour and that’s not something that will ever be repeated.”