A 60-year-old man has been jailed for nine years for sexually assaulting two teenage boys approximately 25 years ago.
Philip Rendle, of Ashburton in Devon, was sentenced today (Friday 3 March) at Taunton Crown Court having previously been convicted of three counts of indecent assault against two boys.
The offences took place during a camping trip in Somerset in the late 1990s / early 2000s.
In statements, both victims told how they struggled to tell anyone what happened for a long time as they felt embarrassed and ashamed.
One added the abuse made him question his sexuality.
“I have always been attracted to women but because I froze and didn’t stop it or because I felt I couldn’t stop it, this made me question my sexuality,” he said.
“I know now that as a child put in that position it was natural to freeze or not stop it but at that time, I wasn’t old or wise enough to understand that and it ate away at me.”
Both victims also described how they had turned to drugs as a way of coping with the trauma of what they went through.
In his statement, the second victim said: “[Drugs and gambling] have been the only way to take my mind off what happened and to try and distract me from ever talking about what happened.”
In addition to his prison sentence, Rendle received a sexual harm prevention order.
Detective Constable Philip Hockey said: “The two victims have shown great courage throughout the investigation and the subsequent judicial process.
“It takes bravery to speak out about such a traumatic and violating experience, especially one which they had locked away from their families for more than twenty years.
“I hope this is some kind of justice for them both, provides some closure and assists them to move forward positively with their lives. I hope they can also find some peace knowing they no longer have to keep this secret hidden.
“It is never too late to speak out about something that has happened to you. This case shows that everyone will be listened too, the matter investigated thoroughly no matter how much time has passed and there is support available for you.
“If you have been affected by this inquiry then please don’t hesitate to contact police via the non-emergency 101 number.”
Victims of rape or sexual assault, recent or non-recent, can self-refer to The Bridge, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre available 24/7 365 days a year. Visit their website or call 0117 342 6999.
They can also visit www.thisisnotanexcuse.org for details of charities and organisations who are experts in supporting victims.