Football coach jailed for child abuse

15/01/2014

A youth team football coach, who set up a false persona on a social media site which he then used to sexually groom children online, was today jailed for six years at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Kevin Eaton, aged 31, from Oldbury targeted his young victims by setting up a false profile of a teenage girl called 'Charlotte' on Facebook. He would then befriend the children, many of whom he knew personally, by sending a friend request to them. Once the victims had accepted his request, he would start chatting to them which he would later escalate to a sexual conversation.

He had downloaded naked images off the internet of a teenage girl, which he would then send to his victims claiming to be 'Charlotte'. Once he had sent these images to his victims, he would then ask them to send him indecent images of themselves, which they did.

One of the victims informed their parents of what was happening and they contacted the police who immediately launched an investigation.

The defendant was located to an address in Oldbury, West Midlands where he was arrested and his email account was subjected to a forensic examination. The police found 670 indecent images and movies of children at Levels 1 to 4. A further 287 indecent images and movies of children at levels 1 to 2 were distributed by the defendant.

Eaton pleaded guilty to 11 counts of causing or inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity, nine counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, seven counts of making indecent photographs of children and three counts of distributing indecent images and movies of children. 

The defendant was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.

Claire Nicholls, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Public Protection Unit, said:

"As a youth football coach and the club's child protection officer, Kevin Eaton was in a position of immense trust from all parties concerned, however, he completely breached this trust and began to commit some very serious offences which has had a devastating impact on the lives of the victims concerned. 

"He created a fake identity of a young teenage girl which he used to trawl a social media site in order to identify vulnerable young children.

"Once he had ensnared and built the trust of his young victims, he then began to sexually groom them and put them in intimate situations for his own sexual gratification

"It took a brave young victim to come forward and report his abuse to the police. This led to his arrest and this offending coming to light.

"We hope that this case sends out a clear message to anyone who uses social networking site to be vigilant at all times and report any suspicious behaviour or requests to the appropriate authorities.  By accepting a friend request from someone you do not know, you are in effect allowing a stranger into your bedroom with a camera.

"Finally, the prosecution team would like to thank the victims and their families for the support that they have provided to the investigation and prosecution. Without their assistance and the thorough investigation by the police, we would not be here today."