A 20-year-old man described as manipulative and dangerous has been jailed for sexual offences against children.
Today at Bristol Crown Court (5 July), Rhys Beale, of Withywood, Bristol, was sentenced to three years and four months in jail after admitting charges of taking category A and category C images of a child and engaging in sexual activity with a child.
Beale was also given a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely.
Sentencing, HH Judge Picton said Beale was “manipulative” and targeted a vulnerable victim in need of protection. He said Beale was “incapable of respecting appropriate age boundaries”.
Beale was apprehended by Topaz, a team of specially trained officers within Avon and Somerset Police who exclusively disrupt offenders of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).
Investigating officer DC Kim O’Donnell said: “Rhys Beale is a highly dangerous offender who seeks to manipulate and control young girls. He infiltrated himself into the family of his victim and used these relationships to facilitate sexual abuse. He portrayed himself as a trusted friend, when in fact his motives were much more sinister.
“The level of grooming towards his victim was such that even now she denies any offences have taken place – despite him fully accepting his guilt. This demonstrates the hold Beale had over her. Sadly, this is a common factor in cases of CSE.”
DC O’Donnell added: “This case serves as a stark reminder that child sex offenders can be any age.
“More than half of all suspects investigated by Topaz are aged 24 or younger and people should not assume that people relatively close to each other in age are not able to exploit or be exploited.
“By working together and sharing information we can help inform, educate and prevent CSE from happening. But tackling CSE is everyone’s concern and we still need the public’s help.
“If you suspect a child or young person may be at risk, or have any information relating to CSE, please contact us.”
We would prefer to speak to you on the phone (by calling us on 101) or in person. However, if contacting us online is the safest way for you to get in touch, you can complete our secure online reporting form here. If you don’t want to speak to the police, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.
If you know or suspect a child or young person is in immediate danger, you should dial 999 straight away.
More advice about CSE, support services and a downloadable leaflet for partners is available via https://www.thisisnotanexcuse.org/child-sexual-exploitation