December 2008

Sex text ex-teacher is out of Harm’s way

A former teacher has been made subject to the county’s first Risk of Sexual Harm Order.

Geoffrey Robert Neaum admitted exposing two underage boys to indecent images and making sexual overtures to one of them by text message.

Neither of the boys can be named due to an order made under Section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act (1981).

Bedford Magistrates’ Court heard that in July Neaum exposed the two boys to the covers of pornographic DVDs.

He also sent one of the boys a text message that said: “Hi. Do you like black on black? I am in the sex shop.” Neaum, 57, is now under a three year order, described by police as ‘a bit like an Asbo for potential sex offenders’.

He is banned from being alone with under-18s in any place where he happens to be, from communicating with under 18s without the express permission of parents or guardians, and from undertaking any form of paid or unpaid work which might mean working with children.

If he breaches any of his conditions he will be indicted and could face a prison sentence of up to five years.

Mr Neaum’s address, High Street, Great Barford, can be published after an attempt by his defence to keep his home details out of court.

Bedfordshire on Sunday challenged this attempt and won.

Defending, Emma Gargetter had said that Mr Neaum’s address was being withheld because of Mrs Neaum’s fears that their home might be attacked.

District Judge Nicholas Leigh-Smith considered that this was not valid.

Mr Leigh-Smith added: “It would be wrong if I were to try to fetter the hands of the press by making such a restriction.” Mr Neaum will not be placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register, a position which was described in court as ‘a legal anomaly’.

The order was brought by Bedfordshire Police Sex Offenders’ management team, and Mr Neaum attended court of his own accord.

DCI Simon Lansbury, head of Public Protection Unit for Beds Police said: “This is the first order of its kind in Bedfordshire and it is very unusual to obtain such an order on an unconvicted person.

“It reflects the hard work of the Child Abuse Investigation Unit, who gathered a large amount of information in a relatively short space of time so that the order was uncontested at court.

“The parents of the children affected had the good sense to report the behaviour of Neaum; and their confidence in both the police and in their own actions, has led to the prevention of potentially serious sexual harm to their children.”