September 2018

12 years for ‘puppet master’ teacher who incited others to abuse children worldwide

A teacher who incited people to abuse their own children for his sexual gratification has been jailed for 12 years

Richard Clark, of Topcliffe Road, Sowerby, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to 26 offences and asked for 54 others to be taken into consideration when he appeared at York Crown Court yesterday.

Using fake digital accounts, he contacted people on Skype in the UK, the United States and Nepal and incited people to take sexual images or abuse their siblings, children or grandchildren and record it for his own gratification.

In one case he contacted a 15-year-old boy and encouraged him to carry out sexual acts on his cousins, aged one and two.

He pleaded guilty to charges including ten offences of arranging or facilitating child sex offences and 12 counts of inciting or causing indecent images of children. 

He also tricked boys at a school into taking indecent images or video of themselves, whilst using fake social media accounts in which he posed as a teenage girl. 

The court heard on Monday a witness statement from a parent of one his victims, in which she said he had “robbed them of their youth” and left them unable to trust male teachers.

Another statement from the headteacher of the school where he targeted pupils said the school had employed school nurses, psychologists and counsellors to deal with the impact of Clark’s actions on students and teachers, but he feared some students would never recover from their ordeal.

Others were likely to miss out on opportunities to go to high-ranking universities because of the emotional and mental ordeal they experienced prior to their exams.

Clark also pleaded guilty to three of possession of indecent photographs of a child and one of possession of an extreme pornographic image.

This morning, Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told Clark: “These offences reveal you to be manipulating others to abuse children like some kind of malign puppet master.

“You incited offences of familial or incestuous abuse against children. These activities have been traced worldwide.”

Judge Stubbs said his crimes revealed him to be a “persistent predator”, whose victims felt traped by fear of exposure. He added: “The victim statements which have been referred to in court shows how you have robbed your victims of confidence, charater and potential life chances.” 

He handed him a sentence of 12 years, to spend a further eight years on licence. He was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which he will remain on for the rest of his life.