More than a dozen men have been convicted of sexually assaulting vulnerable teenage girls and young women in the north-east of England over several years.
The men, mostly aged in their 30s and 40s, were convicted of offences including rapes, sexual assaults and drugs offences during a series of trials at Newcastle Crown Court. Some have already been jailed while others await sentence.
The victims, whose ages ranged from 15 to their early 20s, were abused at specially-convened ‘parties’ – often referred to as ‘sessions’ – where they were supplied with drugs and alcohol.
There were 13 victims of sexual offences, many of whom gave evidence against their abusers in court.
The trials heard how the men would often threaten their victims with physical violence if they did not partake in sexual activity with them and others were subjected to sexual activity when they were incapacitated and unable to resist. Several victims were raped.
In total the offending took place over more than four years, between 2010 and 2014.
Over the course of the trials, more than a dozen men were convicted of rape or sexual assaults and/or trafficking for sexual exploitation as well as offences related to the possession or supply of drugs including cocaine and mephodrone, known as M-Kat.
The prosecutions followed a major investigation into the sexual exploitation of young women and girls in Newcastle by Northumbria Police.
Jim Hope, from the CPS, said:
“These men systematically groomed and abused vulnerable teenage girls and young women over a number of years for their own sexual gratification. Some have already received significant prison sentences for their actions and others still face sentence.
“This was a complex prosecution involving multiple defendants, but the CPS have systematically pieced together the relevant evidence to present the clearest possible case to the juries.
“These prosecutions would not have been possible without the bravery shown by the victims and the courage they showed in giving their evidence of what had happened to them.
“The impact of the abuse these young women suffered has been profound but I hope these convictions can offer them some comfort and help them move forward.”
Outstanding sentencing hearings for the remaining defendants are expected to take place in the week commencing 4 September 2017.
Notes to Editors
· Jim Hope is Acting Senior District Crown Prosecutor with CPS North-East