Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Parents who asked son's abuser for cash criticised

A charity has condemned the parents of a four-year-old boy who accepted money from a man who sexually abused him instead of reporting him to the police.

Gerard Raffell, 42, a teacher who lived in Daventry, Northamptonshire, agreed to pay £18,000 to the boy's parents.

He was eventually arrested when the boy told of the attacks four years later.

Peter Saunders, of the National Association of People Abused in Childhood (Napac), said: "We are flabbergasted - it goes beyond belief."

Raffell was sentenced to a three-year community sentence at Northampton Crown Court after pleading guilty to causing the boy to engage in sexual activity and seven counts of possessing indecent images of children.

I don't know of any parent who would put a sum of money before bringing the abuser of their child to justice
Peter Saunders, Napac

He was also placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years and banned from ever working with children.

Mr Saunders told BBC Radio 5 live's Gabby Logan show: "This judge has let a man walk free who has sexually abused a child on many occasions - other children will still be at risk from this man.

"Those parents should have been brought before the court for something because it is outrageous - they discovered their child was being abused and did nothing about it.

"How bizarre - go away, give us some money and go off and abuse children elsewhere.

"The consequences of abuse are profound, they are long standing, they are deeply deeply damaging to the individual.

"I don't know of any parent who would put a sum of money before bringing the abuser of their child to justice. It's incomprehensible."

A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service said: "Gerard Raffell was initially charged with three counts of attempted rape and four counts of causing or inciting a boy under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

"At a plea and case management hearing, the defence indicated the defendant would be prepared to plead guilty to four counts of causing or inciting a boy under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

"In accepting this plea this young victim was spared the ordeal of giving evidence in court.

"This was explained to and accepted by the family."

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said it could not comment on the case in detail.

He added: "We can confirm that the council acted swiftly as soon as this issue came to us as a result of the police investigation to identify the needs of the child involved and respond appropriately."



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