THE father of a girl with learning difficulties who was sexually abused has spoken of his family’s devastation as the perpetrator escaped jail.
The Burton dad, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity, was at Stafford Crown Court to see Christopher Adams, 71, of Hurst Drive, Stretton, walk away from court after a judge decided not to impose a custodial sentence, instead handing Adams a three-year community order and making him sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.
At a previous court hearing, Adams admitted three counts of engaging in sexual activity with a mentally disordered female.
The victim’s father said the family was disappointed with the outcome.
He said: “At the plea hearing the judge told him to expect a substantial custodial sentence, so we as a family are really disappointed.
“We feel let down. We’ve suffered for the last 19 months and it’s torn us apart.
“I’m relieved it’s done now and I’m relieved he got convicted, but there’s no relief at the sentence.”
The offences spanned two years, from December 2010 to December 2012, starting when the girl was 16.
Her father said Adams took advantage of his daughter’s learning difficulties.
“He completely took advantage of her vulnerability, telling her she would be taken away if she told anyone,” he told the Mail.
“If it was up to me he would be in prison for the rest of his life – he is a danger.
“I’ve seen stories like this in the news before, but when it’s your own family there’s nothing anyone can say or do to make you feel better. It has been horrendous.
“We’re scarred for life but we’ll just pull together as a family now.”
Dickie James, chief executive of Staffordshire Women’s Aid, was also appalled.
She said: “A three-year community order is simply not good enough for someone that has abused their power in this way with someone so vulnerable. It’s absolutely disgraceful.
“It’s hard for people to come forward to talk about sexual abuse.
“We have got to get a robust message out there that this will not be tolerated, but this does not convey that message.