Congratulations to Sussex police for catching a prolific paedophile, but shame on the judicial system for letting him remain free in the community.
The article, ’Hove Grindr pervert Michael Dawson wanted sex with boys,’ highlights the awkward question of what to do with paedophiles.
I recently watched a man on Youtube proudly declare the only good paedophile, is a dead paedophile!
Or is a good paedophile personified in the guise of Michael Dawson, who claims, (via his lawyer), he only spent 20 years as a Scout leader, as a “genuine desire to help the development of young boys,” rather than anything sexual.
Lawyer Kevin Light defending Dawson said, “My client refutes the suggestion of any sexual motivation, but rather a genuine desire to help the development of young boys.”
He added there have been no allegations made during his 20-year involvement with the Scouts.
Showing ‘no understanding’ of why his behaviour was wrong, Judge Shani Barnes spared Dawson an immediate prison sentence and instead told him to complete 40 hours of unpaid work and sessions with a sex offenders’ programme.
In a Sussex police sting, (along the lines of the ever-popular paedophile hunter rings, now springing up across the UK), Dawson was lead to believe he was meeting a 13-year-old boy for some kind of sexual contact.
When told the teenager’s age, Dawson replied, “I don’t mind if you don’t.”
Written by Aidan Barlow, the Crime Reporter for The Argus in Brighton:
A PERVERT cut holes in his vest to expose his nipples before going to meet a 13-year-old boy for sex.
Michael Dawson had contacted the boy, who he believed was a teenager, on the Grindr mobile phone dating app in Hove.
But the 54-year-old former Scout leader was in fact on his way to meet an undercover police officer who had set up a decoy account.
When asked if being 13 was a problem, Dawson replied: “I don’t mind if you don’t.”
Dawson tried to set up a meeting in George Street in Hove, but was arrested.
Then, while on bail for the first offence, he was back on Grindr approaching another police decoy account, this time for a 15-year-old boy.
Dawson claimed he only intended to go for a “drink” despite sending sexual suggestions to both and claimed he was “flattered” someone young would be attracted to him.
At Hove Crown Court Dawson admitted arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.
A report by the probation service suggested the former Gatwick Airport security worker showed “no understanding” of why his behaviour was wrong.
But he was spared an immediate prison sentence and was instead told to complete unpaid work and sessions with a sex offenders’ programme.
Stuart Ellacott, prosecuting, said Dawson committed the first offences in February.
Dawson told the boy – in fact a police officer – that he would wear a vest with holes in it exposing his nipples.
He wanted to take the boy back to his home where “some form of sexual contact would have taken place”.
Kevin Light, defending, said Dawson had worked at Gatwick for more than 25 years as a security guard and had also been an assistant firefighter.
Dawson was also a Scout leader for 20 years but said his motivation was not sexual and said there have been no allegations made.
“My client refutes the suggestion and says he had a genuine desire to help the development of young boys,” Mr Light said.
The advocate said Dawson, of Wilbury Avenue, Hove, needed “help” from the sex offenders’ programme.
Judge Shani Barnes said: “You attempted to meet young boys for sexual encounters.”
The judge imposed a 20-month suspended prison sentence and told Dawson to complete sessions with the Horizon sex offenders’ programme and 40 hours of unpaid work.
She imposed a ten-year sexual harm prevention order restricting Dawson’s access to under 18s and put Dawson on the sex offenders register.