An East Sussex man has been sentenced to six years and eight months imprisonment for sexual offences against two children, following an investigation into his activities by Sussex Police safeguarding detectives.
Officers also want to hear from any parents who are concerned, on learning of this specific case, that there could also have been sexual offences against their own children which need investigation, following the sentencing of Andrew Evans (see photo).
Evans, 36 and unemployed, formerly of Church Road, Crowborough, appeared in custody at Hove Crown Court on Friday 8 July, having previously pleaded guilty to seven offences:
- four offences of engaging in sexual activity with, and one of arranging and facilitating sexual activity, with a boy aged 15 he had met in East Grinstead, in September 2021: - one offence of sexual assault on a girl under 13 in Uckfield, and one of possessing indecent images of the same girl, while baby-sitting for her family, in March 2022.
Evans will be on extended prison supervision licence for a further three years on release and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order to last indefinitely, which includes prohibitions on any contact with a child under the age of 18; restricts his residence around children; restricts his movements in public places where children may be present, and restricts his access to mobile devices.
He will also be a registered sex offender for life, and will be closely managed by police and probation on his release from prison.
The Court also issued Evans with lifelong Restraining Orders, prohibiting him from any contact with either of his victims.
The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed enquiries by Sussex Police safeguarding detectives. Action has been taken, working closely with local authority and other partners, to ensure that no other children are currently at risk and the two children involved and their families have been supported by specially trained officers.
The offences came to light earlier this year, when police received the report that last September, Evans had met the very vulnerable 15-year-old at an isolated car park in East Grinstead. There he committed a series of sexual offences against the boy. Evans wanted to continue the relationship but the boy blocked contact with him and subsequently reported what had happened to his school and parents.
Whilst he was on police bail, with strict conditions not to have contact with any child, police discovered that Evans had been continuing to use a website profile to advertise as a baby-sitter. Officers followed this up and discovered that he had committed the offences against the seven-year-old girl while acting as a baby-sitter at her home in Uckfield.
Detective Constable Michelle Hayes said: ”I have seen the impact this has had on the two families almost on a daily basis and I have worked to build their trust over the last six months. Evans used his position of trust to target these children, devious in his behaviour, and finally there is justice for everyone involved.” Detective Inspector Steve Cobbett of the Sussex Police Public Protection Command said: "This has been a long and thorough investigation involving highly concerning allegations of serious child sexual abuse. The sentencing today reflects the gravity of these crimes. "It is important to recognise that the victims in these investigations have been extremely brave coming forward to report these crimes and relive them during our investigation. They deserve immense credit for this and will continue to be supported following today’s sentencing. I would like to thank them for their support and resilience throughout."
The mother of the 15-year-old boy said: "I live daily with the thought of what my son has been through, and constantly worry about keeping him safe. As a family we are only now trying to come to terms with this and the upset to his grandparents and extended family is massive. We cannot break the news to his younger brother as it is just too upsetting.
"I have had to take time away from work as I have been unable to cope with the stress and I cannot begin to truly articulate how upset I am.
"My son has disabilities and is vulnerable, and so it's important keep him safe in respect of day-to-day life, and then for this to happen is devastating.
"...what I do know is that this person should not be released for a very long time, and then should not be allowed near children or the vulnerable whatever their age."
Steve Cobbett added: "Evans has no previous convictions. However he had previously worked, employed and freelance, in several childcare sectors, both voluntary and statutory, across Sussex, Kent and Surrey, including nurseries, for some 20 years.
"We have been making widespread enquiries amongst many organisations across the South East and so far no criminal offences have been reported by them. "We have also set up a designated response, Operation Tristar, for any parent or guardian who, on learning of this case, has concerns that their children or children that they care for, could have been subjected to crimes. We will robustly investigate any new allegations and support any victims with our specially trained officers. If you have any specific such concerns please contact us in confidence either online or on 101, quoting Operation Tristar and arrange to speak to experienced officers. Your information will be treated with extreme discretion.”