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Ex-police officer who sexually exploited domestic abuse victims sentenced

|News, Sexual offences

A former police officer who used his position to groom and sexually exploit vulnerable women has been sentenced.

Erling Leask, 56, who was a community police officer with Northumbria Police, befriended the two domestic abuse victims in the early 2000s whilst on duty, before taking advantage of them.

He initially portrayed himself as professional and trustworthy, becoming a means of support to the women, as they were beginning to get their lives back on track following their abuse. But his interactions became increasingly inappropriate and sexual in nature, with both victims feeling too intimidated to speak out due to his position as a police officer. 

Leask’s first victim decided to report him to police years later when the distress caused by his abuse came back to her after she saw him leave a betting shop. Following this report, police contacted his second victim after the investigation revealed evidence of her complaint of indecent assault when Leask forcibly kissed her. 

The woman described how the aftermath of the assault led her to drop out of college and left her feeling scared, belittled, and untrusting.

He was today sentenced to 20-months imprisonment suspended for two years at Newcastle Crown Court, and is required to carry out 100 hours unpaid work and participate in Rehabilitation Activity Requirement for a maximum of 50 days.

He pleaded guilty in May to one count of indecent assault and two counts of misconduct in public office.

Debbie Breen, District Crown Prosecutor for CPS North East, said: “Leask grossly abused his power as a police officer, selfishly taking advantage of two vulnerable women in the pursuit of his own sexual gratification. He showed no regard for the immense impact his actions had on them.

“I commend the bravery of both women in reporting Leask and supporting the prosecution’s case.

“At the CPS, where the evidence and public interest tests are met, we will always bring charges against sexual predators no matter the length of time between the offences and reporting. We want all victims who report to see their day in court.”

Notes to editors

  • Erling Leask (04/12/64), pleaded guilty in May 2021 to one count of indecent assault and two counts of misconduct in public office. He is today (20/08/21) sentenced to 20-months imprisonment suspended for two years, and is required to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and participate in Rehabilitation Activity Requirement for a maximum of 50 days. 
  • Debbie Breen is a District Crown Prosecutor for CPS North East’s Rape and Serious Sexual Offence (RASSO) Unit

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