Man jailed after sex assaults on 15-year-old autistic boy in Orpington Walnuts Leisure Centre toilets (From News Shopper)
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Man jailed after sex assaults on 15-year-old autistic boy in Orpington Walnuts Leisure Centre toilets
A MAN who sexually abused a 15-year-old autistic boy in the Walnuts Leisure Centre toilets in Orpington has been jailed for eight years.
John Bartholomew, aged 50, from Upper Norwood, was found guilty at Croydon Crown Court today of rape and sexual assault.
The jury heard how Bartholomew approached his victim on October 9 last year in the swimming pool changing rooms.
The victim was asked by Bartholomew to follow him into his changing room - fearing for his safety, the victim agreed.
Once inside the changing room, Bartholomew sexually assaulted his victim.
The boy managed to escape from the changing room and alerted staff who called police.
Bartholomew was arrested as he left the leisure centre.
Detective Constable Ann Downes, from Sapphire, part of the Met's sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command, led the investigation.
She said: "Bartholomew preyed on this victim's vulnerability, manipulating the situation to isolate him and attack him.
"Bartholomew was found guilty by a jury and I welcome this conviction today. I hope it serves as a warning to others who may be tempted to pursue children in this way."
Detective Inspector Faye Churchyard, also of Sapphire, added: "Bartholomew is a dangerous man.
"It is likely that he stalked his victim over a period of time and then struck when he thought he would go undetected.
"The victim has found the courage to see his attacker convicted and I commend him and his family who have shown immense strength through what must be an incredibly difficult time.
"Bartholomew is now in prison and I would appeal to anybody else affected by this man's behaviour to come forward and speak to police - specially trained officers and partner agencies will support you."
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