UK Family Law Reform

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Foster carer jailed for raping 'vulnerable' teen boy in his care

A foster carer who raped a “vulnerable” 15-year-old boy entrusted to his care after plying him with drink has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison.

Darren Bradley, 41, from Cardiff, was told by a judge he possessed a “predatory desire” which made him “suspicious” of his motives for becoming a foster carer in the first place.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Bradley had built up trust with the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, over a number of months after he was placed with him in June 2011.

On November 28 of the same year, church worker Bradley sexually assaulted and raped the child who then ran away. After the youngster was reported missing, he was tracked down by police and told them he had been raped by his foster carer.

Two days after the attack, police arrested Bradley who denied the allegation but told them he had massaged the boy to relieve him from stress.

After the results of forensic medical tests were presented to him which showed traces of his semen, he claimed he had been asleep on the sofa and awoke to find the complainant straddling him.

Matthew Roberts, for the Crown, said: “The defendant was the foster carer of the complainant from June to December 2011.

“He occupied a position of trust and was responsible for the well being and care of the defendant.

“The complainant ran away from his address on November 29, 2011. The complainant was reported missing and when found by police, told police he had been raped by his foster carer.”

The court heard the teenager had been in care since 2006 because of his mother’s inability to care for and protect him.

After different carers, he ended up with Bradley, who had a previous clean record and character references read in court from his time doing voluntary work in the community and with his church.

When confronted with the allegation of rape, Bradley was reported to have told police: “I have been trying to wrack my brains what could have triggered him to say these things.

“I know he suffers from stress. I have been massaging him to relieve him from stress.

“There was one occasion I went too far watching television I think.”

The teenager was too distressed to give evidence at trial but Bradley pleaded guilty to second category rape [rape which is accompanied by an abuse of trust] at a hearing earlier this month. However at his sentencing yesterday, he then made an application to change his plea.

But Judge Neil Bidder rejected his application, saying he had failed to acknowledge responsibility, adding he did not know who he was trying to convince.

Stephen Thomas, in mitigation, said there was no coercion or additional violence other then the offending itself.

Meanwhile the court was told Bradley, who stood in the dock with crutches, was in ill health and suffering from anxiety disorders.

Sentencing Bradley, Judge Bidder said: “This vulnerable boy, as he was vulnerable, was placed in your care as a foster carer.

“It was a very serious breach of trust and was, I have absolutely no doubt, quite a calculated breach of trust.

“You still failed to acknowledge responsibility despite the fact it was obvious to everyone the extremely strong evidence including scientific and medical evidence against you.

“The account to police and probation is transparently nonsensical. I’m not sure who you are trying to convince.

“Your failure, in the teeth of the evidence to take responsibility and your predatory desire does not bode well for any treatment regime in custody.

“I am extremely suspicious you went through the process of becoming a foster carer to be in the position you were to abuse a young boy.”

He also disqualified Bradley from working with children and placed him on the sex offender register indefinitely.

By Simon Gaskell

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