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Youth Guru Grooms Kids For Sex On The Web

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Post  AnnaEsse Tue 4 May - 18:19

Sky News

6:05pm UK, Tuesday May 04, 2010

Sky News undercover team

A youth consultant who gives relationship advice to teenagers secretly grooms children on the internet for sex, a Sky News investigation can reveal.

Simon Beard, 57, a former development officer at the National Youth Agency, was caught in a sting operation by Sky journalists after he arrived at a pre-arranged location to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

For six weeks, Beard was monitored cruising teen chat rooms engaging users in sexually-explicit conversation. He began an online relationship with a girl called "Amy" without realising he was talking to undercover reporters.

Beard spent a month grooming Amy online. He exposed himself on webcam and tried to persuade her to perform a sex act before suggesting she meet him to have sex.

After taking precautions to ensure the girl's mother wouldn't be home and that "Amy" wasn't part of an undercover police operation, Beard persuaded the girl to take an afternoon off school and arranged to meet her at an address in West London.

But after being followed to the meeting point from his home in Northamptonshire, Beard was confronted by Sky reporters.

On his website, Beard claims to have worked with young people "for 20 years".

Sky News can also reveal that in 2007 he ran a two-day training course in Manchester advising youth workers how to counsel teenagers about sexual relationships.

The "R U Ready?" event was described by Beard at the time as: "A middle-ground approach that says once a young person decides they are going to have sex it should be safe and it should be an enjoyable, positive experience. That may mean asking whether they are ready.

Sky internet grooming probe web text chat

Online chat revealed by Sky's investigation

"We'll be exploring issues such as friendship, pleasure and intimacy. We'll also consider the issue of rights and look at building skills around negotiation and saying 'no'. It's about empowerment - helping young people feel in control."

Beard, who is married with two children of his own, refused to comment when confronted by Sky reporters.

The incident highlights the dangers children face in internet chat rooms.

In March 2010, 33-year-old Peter Chapman was sentenced to life for the rape and murder of 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall who he lured with a fake profile on Facebook.

In May 2009, 41-year-old Alan Ross from Lanarkshire was discovered hiding in the bed of a 14-year-old girl after the teenager's horrified mother arrived home early from work.

Ross, who was sentenced to a year in prison, enticed the girl through the social-networking site, Bebo.

Sky investigators also confronted two other men who either arrived to meet 'Amy' or sexually-exposed themselves to her online.

Sky News has handed its findings to the police."
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Post  lubelle Wed 5 May - 17:10

I watched this on the news last night.I couldn't believe it.These horrible excuses for men, must be lurking waiting to pounce on these poor vunerable kids.
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