A man has been jailed for 18 years for sexual offences against children with special needs in West Sussex, police said.
Phillip Scott, 24, of Sidmouth, Devon, appeared before Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday (November 26), said police, having been convicted in May after a trial, of 28 counts of sexual offences.
Police said he had been convicted of four counts of sexual activity with a child, and four counts of causing or inciting a child into sexual activity. He was also convicted of 19 offences of making indecent images of children and one offence of distributing indecent offences of children.
Three further offences of possessing indecent images of children at his address in Devon were taken into consideration by the court in sentencing, police said.
The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by detectives from the Sussex Police Complex Abuse Unit.
It found that Scott, known as Pip, had sexually assaulted two vulnerable boys who were much younger than him,
This was a complex and sensitive investigation, and we are glad that justice has now been done for the boys and their families.Detective Constable Nicky Beard
He also ‘groomed’ a younger boy, while not actually physically assaulting him, over the internet, into engaging in sexual activity online.
Police said he was found not guilty of grooming a fourth younger boy over the internet into carrying out sexual acts online.
When police searched Scott’s address, they found several electronic devices containing many indecent images of children, some of which he had contributed to others with an interest in such material.
Detective Constable Nicky Beard said: “Scott had taken advantage of these vulnerable young boys over a period of years for his own sexual gratification.
“The victims bravely supported our investigation throughout. Two of them gave evidence at Scott’s trial with special support arrangements, including speaking from behind screens shielding them from the direct view of the defendant. The mother of the third boy also gave evidence.
“We are also grateful for the assistance of Devon and Cornwall Police in carrying out local enquiries and searches in co-operation with us.
“This was a complex and sensitive investigation, and we are glad that justice has now been done for the boys and their families.”
Police said Scott will be a registered sex offender for life and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last until further court notice, severely restricting his access to children and computers.
Reacting to the sentencing, a spokesman for the NSPCC said: “Vulnerable children have suffered a horrific catalogue of abuse at the hands of Scott.
“They have shown great bravery in speaking out and we hope they receive all necessary support to move forward with their lives.
“We would urge anyone concerned about a child to speak out as it could ensure they get the help they need.”
Adults with concerns about a child can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000, while Children can call Childline on 0800 1111.
For information about the support and advice available to victims of sexual offences see the Sussex Police website.