Salvation Army man jailed for sex crime

LEADERS of a church movement have condemned the actions of one of their youth leaders after he was sent to prison for having sexual relations with a child.

LEADERS of a church movement have condemned the actions of one of their youth leaders after he was sent to prison for having sexual relations with a child.

Senior officials from the Salvation Army released a statement saying they “deplored” the actions of their Ipswich member James Alderton, who is now behind bars after admitting sexual activities with a 15-year-old girl.

Alderton, 27, of Demoiselle Crescent, Ipswich, appeared at Cambridge Crown Court and was sentenced to four years in prison for two counts of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.

A spokesman for the Salvation Army said: “A breach of trust was clearly committed by the individual.

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“We deplore such behaviour and abuse of position and have co-operated fully with the police's investigations.”

Alderton met his 15-year-old victim on three occasions prior to the offence.

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They stayed in contact via the internet before meeting up at the home of the girl's parents. It was there that sexual activity took place.

Nicola Moore, prosecuting, said: “Both of them were expecting some form of sexual contact as her parents were going to be out.

“They kissed and she performed oral sex on him. He then performed oral sex on her.

“He asked if he could have full sex with her but she said no. He touched her and digitally penetrated her and she masturbated him.”

Ms Moore said the acts had left the girl so distressed that one month later she had attempted suicide by taking an overdose and slitting her wrists. Alderton was then arrested.

Judge Gareth Hawkesworth, sentencing Alderton, said: “At the time of the offences your victim was a vulnerable 15-year-old and you were 25 to 26.

“It is said that your offences were not premeditated and there was no manipulation, yet you acknowledge there was a voice in your head that knew what you were doing was wrong, yet you did nothing to stop it.”

Alderton texted and spoke to his victim via the internet between the camp in 2004 and the sexual activity on April 4, 2005.

On one occasion he sent a picture of his genitals to the girl and on several occasions there were discussions about sex.

Judge Hawkesworth said: “Whether you call it grooming or not, this pattern of behaviour aggravates your offences.

“More importantly, these offences involve a very serious breach of both your faith and the very substantial trust placed in you.”

Alderton pleaded guilty to the offences at an earlier hearing and the case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports.

Those reports indicated Alderton was not fully accepting of his actions and believed his victim was partly to blame.

However, Charles Myatt mitigating for Alderton, said he was now beginning to acknowledge what he had done.

He said: “He is in the process of trying to acknowledge the real extent of his criminality.

“He feels genuine remorse and feels absolutely terrible and awful about how she felt and that she acted in the way she did.”

Alderton was sentenced to four years in prison and given a sexual offences order, banning him from working with children indefinitely.

He is also banned from visiting or living in a dwelling without supervision, for five years.

A Salvation Army spokesman said: “James Alderton is no longer a youth leader or a member of The Salvation Army.”

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