A CHILDREN’S safety charity has called for paedophiles living at York’s probation hostel to be much more closely monitored, after a resident was able to groom a teenager on the Internet and sexually assault her.
Kidscape claimed offenders living at Southview should be denied unmonitored access to the Net as part of their licence arrangements.
The Press reported yesterday how Richard Graves, 39, had gone to the hostel in Boroughbridge Road after serving nine years of a 14-year sentence for raping an eight-year-old girl, but was then able to groom a 14-year-old girl and take her to a lock-up garage at Tholthorpe, near Easingwold, where he sexually assaulted her. He was jailed indefinitely.
Kidscape director Claude Knights said curfews and supervision needed to be “totally rigorous” when dealing with persistent and dangerous predators.
“Such devious and manipulative paedophiles should not be allowed unmonitored access to the internet, and this prohibition should have formed part of the licence arrangements,” she said. “This case also points to the need to monitor the residents of approved premises much more closely during the day.” But Mike Ryan, assistant chief officer for North Yorkshire probation area, said that during their stay at Southview, offenders already had to comply with a strict regime, which was rigorously enforced, and there was close liaison between the police, prisons, courts and other partner agencies.
He said this was significantly safer and more effective than allowing high risk offenders to disperse into the community, making supervision much less effective, more costly and potentially more dangerous for the public.
“In this instance, all the agencies involved were satisfied that appropriate licence conditions were in place, based on previous offending history.”
He added that under no circumstances was there any internet access available at Southview itself for offenders.
Holgate Labour councillor James Alexander said questions needed to be asked about why Graves was released at all.
He said local councillors were not made aware of rare cases such as this until the court proceedings had been completed, but they had regular meetings with Southview staff and raised any received public concerns directly with the management.