Former BBC Presenter Jailed 10 Years For Sex Offences | TimeTestedNews

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A former BBC presenter and pastor has been sentenced to 10 years in jail after he confessed to being a prolific sex abuser.

Benjamin Thomas, 44, plead guilty to 40 sexual offences committed over a period of almost 30 years, including sexual activity with a child, sexual assaults, attempted sexual assaults, voyeurism and making indecent videos of children. He was sentenced at Mold Crown Court on Friday.

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Thomas worked on the BBC’s Wales Today programme and the Welsh language children’s programme Ffeil. He was also the pastor of a Criccieth Family Church in Gwynedd, North Wales, until he was arrested last year.

The court heard that he assaulted boys and men while they were sleeping, often during Christian camps and conferences. A vast majority of his victims were teenage boys.

Judge Timothy Petts, sentencing, said: “For nearly 30 years, until your arrest in September 2019, you hid a dark secret, namely that you were a prolific sex abuser.”

He sentenced Thomas to 10 years and four months, with an extended license period of six years.

Thomas abused his position as a “respected church leader”, said Judge Petts. The former presenter’s preferred method was to wait until his potential victims were asleep to abuse them.

He said reports showed Thomas “struggled to reconcile his faith and sexuality”, but that was no excuse for his crimes.

“As time went on, you progressed to making secret videos of boys and men,” said the judge.

The court heard Thomas once hid his phone in wash bag at an outdoor centre to film boys going to the toilet or showering.

His abuse finally came to an end after one victim summoned the “courage to come forward”, said Judge Petts, and Thomas was reported to the police.

During his initially interview by police, Thomas answered “no comment”, but asked to be re-interviewed again three weeks later and confessed to offences against 33 victims aged between 11 and 34.

Many of his victims were unaware they had been abused until they were traced by police following Thomas’ confession, and not all of the people he admitted to abusing have been found, the court heard.

“You know the harm you have caused to your victims and the wider impact your crimes have had upon your family and the church community,” added the judge.

Thomas has been classed as a dangerous offender and it was ruled he would be on the Sex Offenders Register for life. The judge also issued a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Detective Chief Superintendent Gareth Evans said: “North Wales Police welcome today’s sentence and I hope it will give some reassurance and comfort to the survivors of Thomas’s abuse.

“He took a privileged position where he should have provided inspiration and guidance to young people, but instead caused real damage to young lives.”

A spokesman for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) Cymru said: “His offending will have had a profound effect on many of those he abused and it is vital they are able to get all the help they need to move forward with their lives.

“Thankfully, Thomas’s campaign of abuse has now been brought to an end and he is rightfully facing time in jail.”