May 2011

Paedophile back in jail after following teen boy into toilet at Bristol church

A PREDATORY paedophile who pursued a 14-year-old boy into a toilet after targeting him at a church has been sent back to jail.

Kevin Rodgers, 36, met the boy at a church in central Bristol in January last year.

Bristol Crown Court heard that he followed the boy at church gatherings and tried to talk to him about homosexuality, despite being banned by a court order from having any contact with children after a previous sexual assault on a youngster.

Rogers was arrested after the boy’s mother spotted him following her son into a community centre toilet and alerted the church minister, who had already warned her about the paedophile’s background.

Rodgers, of City Road, St Paul’s, had been jailed for indecently assaulting a boy aged under 14 in 2002. Four years later he was made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which made him subject to 11 separate conditions aimed at stopping him from coming into contact with children.

Yesterday’s three-year jail sentence was his third for breaching the order.

David Hunter, prosecuting, said Rodgers started attending the church, which along with the boy cannot be identified for legal reasons, early last year.

“After the services there is a social gathering, which a 14-year-old boy also attends,” said Mr Hunter.

“Rodgers engaged him in conversation and would move to get the boy’s attention to talk to him.

“Sometimes the boy would go outside to play football and the defendant would stand nearby, watching him.

“The conversations were about general things like sport and clothes but the defendant did bring up homosexuality on more than one occasion.

“During the course of him talking to the boy, the minister at the church, who knew the defendant’s background, voiced concerns to his mother.”

The court heard that Rodgers then stopped going to the church in August last year.

But in January he attended a community centre near the church for a funeral.

“The same boy also attended, and his mother saw him go to the toilet,” said Mr Hunter.

“She then saw Rodgers follow him in and became concerned. She asked the minister to check what was happening.

“He found the boy in the cubicle and Rodgers washing his hands – nothing untoward had happened but Rodgers was again arrested for breaching his order.”

The court heard the boy described Rodgers to police as “odd” and “clingy” and said he had felt the older man had been “seeking him out”, which made him uncomfortable.

Rodgers’ predatory behaviour was previously exposed on national television in a BBC Panorama documentary on conditions in a Bristol bail hostel.

He was living at the hostel in Brigstocke Road, St Paul’s, in 2006 after being released from prison on licence.

Rodgers was filmed watching the toilets of the Mall Galleries shopping centre and wandering past children wearing a digital camera around his neck.

He was later moved into a flat in Wellington, Somerset, but was recalled to prison a month later after being caught loitering in a swimming pool changing room.

The court heard he was then made subject to the SOPO but breached it in March 2007, when he was arrested after being found within 20 metres of a secondary school, and again in October 2008, when he was caught with images of children and children’s clothes in his flat.

For the first breach he was jailed for six months and on the second occasion 12 months.

Martin Lanchester, defending, said Rodgers accepted he had a “profound problem” and was trying to address it.

“He has undergone treatment and completed courses successfully,” he said.

Mr Lanchester said Rodgers was a religious man who genuinely wanted to attend church.

“There was no element of grooming and no offence was actually committed against the boy,” he said.

“Within Rodgers’ own mind there was a degree of attraction – this is not a person who is in denial about his problem.

“He had told the pastor about his past offences – he was not trying to hide them.”

Mr Lanchester said that nothing physical ever happened between Rodgers and the boy, and that going into the toilet was not an attempt by Rodgers to do anything untoward.

“He is genuinely sorry for the boy having to be involved in a police investigation,” he said.

The court heard Rodgers, who admitted the breach at an earlier hearing, was getting help from a charity to try and fit back into the community.

Judge David Ticehurst told Rodgers: “The order was imposed to protect vulnerable children from your predatory activities.

“You have shown willful and persistent disregard for it.”