Sex-offence rehab failed to stop pool assaults

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A CONVICTED sex offender who molested children while they were swimming at a West Yorkshire leisure centre has been jailed for nine months.

Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that 40-year-old Batley man Akbar Ali Kaji was given a two-year community rehabilitation order for identical offences in May 2004 after he indecently assaulted teenage girls at the Lightwaves Leisure Centre in Wakefield.

As part of that sentence Kaji had to undergo a sex offender programme, but yesterday Judge Jonathan Rose said that had not succeeded in preventing the latest offending in June last year.

Kaji, who has eyesight problems and walks with the aid of a white stick, had also been the subject of a banning order from swimming pools for five years, but that had expired by the time he began targeting youngsters at Huddersfield sports centre.

The court heard how Kaji, of Woodsome Estate, Staincliffe, repeatedly touched the bottoms, legs and arms of four girls aged between nine and 12 while he was swimming in the pool.

Prosecutor Jon Gregg said Kaji’s behaviour during his visits to the pool led to complaints being noted in a diary created by lifeguards at the centre.

In another incident Kaji also exposed himself to the seven-year-old girl while her father was distracted in the changing room.

Kaji, who is married with a son and cares for his father, admitted four allegations of sexual assault and one charge of exposure.

His barrister Richard Clews urged Judge Rose to consider passing another community sentence or a suspended prison term, but the judge rejected his submissions.

“It is evident from the reports that whilst you do not suffer from a psychiatric or psychological illness you do have a high sex drive with a propensity to commit sexual offences against children for your own sexual gratification,” the judge told Kaji.

“You were clear in saying to the author of the pre-sentence report that whilst you would also touch adults females whilst swimming you targeted younger girls because they were more vulnerable and would not say anything or complain.”

Judge Rose conceded that no physical injury was caused to the children, but he added: “For a child in a swimming costume to be touched not once but repeatedly by a stranger, a strange man significantly older then them, is upsetting, distressing and almost certainly quite frightening.”

The judge said the public would get protection from predators like Kaji through a further programme which this time would be indefinite and prevent him from using any pool which was not exclusively for over-18s.

He said: “The public also have a right to demand that men who are predators like you, who seek out small children like you, who commit offences like this – repeated occasions against small children – should also be punished to represent the public’s abhorrence at this sort of behaviour.”