10:37am Tuesday 19th February 2013
By Vanessa Cornall
A YOUTH project worker used his car as a meeting place to kiss and cuddle a 14-year-old schoolboy, a court heard.
Christopher Midgley was working at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy when he committed a ‘gross breach of trust’ and began an inappropriate relationship with a pupil, the prosecution claimed.
The 26-year-old was part of the academy’s Entrepreneurship team, encouraging young people to develop their business ideas, Preston Crown Court heard.
Midgley, of Brookside, Coppull, Chorley denies eight charges, including four charges of sexual activity with a child and four charges of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.
The prosecution said the inappropriate relationship blossomed after the victim approached the “openly gay” youth project co-ordinator to discuss a number of personal issues.
The pair would then meet up to kiss and cuddle in Midgley’s car after spending time getting to know each other online, the court heard.
Prosecutor Kathryn Johnson, told the 12-strong jury that the actions of the youth worker, who delivered courses in personal, social and health education, were only discovered after his victim confided in a friend who then brought the two-year relationship to the attention of the authorities.
She said: “The victim’s mother found pictures of her son and the defendant in intimate poses before the police investigation. She did not report the pictures as she was unaware Midgley worked at the academy.
“Throughout his police interview the defendant told police that the relationship was purely platonic.
“The pictures discovered by the victim’s mother were then shown to the defendant during a later police interview. He admitted that he had not told the truth in earlier interviews and accepted that they had kissed.”
The prosecution also told the jury that it was irrelevant the victim consented to these acts as under the law a child under the age of 16 cannot consent to sexual activity with an adult.
Midgley, who is also a Chorley District Scouts young leaders’ leader, has been suspended from his duties at the school and by the scouts.
The defence claims that despite being based at the school, Midgley was not in a position of trust with pupils.
Midgley has been granted bail for the duration of the case under the condition that he has no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 16 and no communication with any of the prosecution witnesses.
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