Bravery of victims praised as attacker jailed

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THE BRAVERY of two 15-year-old victims of sexual assault has been commended after their attacker was jailed.

Lee Pearson, 28, of Wright Street, North Anston, near Sheffield, forced the girls into a sexual relationship with him despite knowing they were both underage,

He befriended the girls were they were both aged 14 and the abuse began several months later in September, 2011.

Pearson assaulted both girls on numerous occasions over the course of a year before one of the victims plucked up the courage to contact police in August 2012.

South Yorkshire Police’s Child Sexual Exploitation Unit launched an investigation and Pearson was arrested and charged with rape, sexual activity with a child and sexual assault.

He was convicted by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Det Con James Crossley said: “This man exploited these girls, who were vulnerable due to their age, for his own sexual gratification.

“Pearson lied to police and denied the allegations put to him, despite forensic evidence to the contrary, and forced his victims to go through the ordeal of a court case.

“I would like to commend the bravery of both young girls for reporting it to police and for facing their attacker in court. They have been supported throughout this ordeal by specially trained officers and will continue to receive support in the future as they attempt to move on with their lives.” DC Crossley urged any victim of sexual exploitation to report it to police.