A FORMER police community support officer who was involved in caring for vulnerable children has been condemned as a “predatory paedophile” as he was sentenced to 10 years in jail for child sex offences.
Gary Hastings, 48, of Wright Street, Hull, showed no emotion as the judge said he abused his position of trust to abuse two vulnerable young boys.
He pleaded guilty at York Crown Court last month to seven counts of sexual activity with two boys, aged 14 and 15, over a two-year period.
Sentencing him yesterday, Judge Stephen Ashurst said: “This, on any view, is an extremely serious case, made more serious by the fact you have offended against two young men, who in my judgment were plainly vulnerable at the time.”
Referring to Hastings’s first victim, the judge added: “He was scared and confused. And in his own words, drawn from his victim personal statement, you completely messed up his life.
“It has left him acutely embarrassed and ashamed.
“This case is an example of the courage of young abuse victims in coming forward.
“As a result of the courage shown (of the two victims) it is a demonstration that is the only way in which a predatory paedophile can be brought to justice.” The judge said there was a breach of trust involved and a “huge disparity” in the ages between Hastings and his victims.
“You were three times older than these two boys,” he added.
The judge said Hastings, who worked for Humberside Police as a PCSO between 2008 and 2011, had denied he was sexually attracted to the boys.
But he added: “The fact they were underage was a factor in your sexual make-up.”
He said Hastings would have undergone training in child protection issues and must have been aware of the risks in coming into contact with teenage boys.
The court was told Hastings took his first victim on a trip to Newcastle in his yellow MG car and during the journey he felt his thigh.
The pair stayed at a flat where oral sex took place.
The victim said he felt “awkward and dirty” during the visit.
This pattern of having oral sex continued for some months but did not progress to full sex, the court was told.
Hastings met his second victim through a gay website. He was studying for his GCSEs and was 15 at the time.
Simon Kealey, prosecuting, said that on one occasion the victim turned up at his flat in his school uniform.
He added: “He asked him to change as he didn’t want to come across as a paedophile.” On occasions when the victim refused to have sex with Hastings, he would “kick off”, the court was told.
Hastings was suspended from duty in August 2011 when an investigation was launched and he resigned from the force in January of this year.
Yesterday he was also made subject to a sexual offences prevention order which limits his contact with young people.
In mitigation, Mark McKone said Hastings had “destroyed his life” and as a former PCSO and convicted sex offender he would find prison life “particularly difficult”.
He said his client had held a responsible job and was hard working.
Following yesterday’s sentencing, Superintendent Ray Higgins, the head of the professional standards branch at Humberside Police, said: “I welcome the sentence that has been handed out today.
“I recognise that Gary Hastings pleaded guilty at a very early stage and so has prevented his victims from being put through the traumatic experience of a lengthy trial, but nevertheless, it was his appalling abuse of trust that lead to these young men becoming victims and no doubt their experiences will live with them for the rest of their lives.”