Child welfare officer and junior football coach sexually abused children

A CHILD welfare officer and youth football coach from Oldbury has been jailed for goading children into performing sexual acts on webcams as he chatted to them online.

Kevin Eaton, who coached children at a Sandwell club, set-up social media accounts under the guise of a schoolgirl and persuaded youngsters to strip for him.

As the 31-year-old started a six-year prison sentence yesterday, the former secretary of the club, which cannot be named for legal reasons, said police checks and safeguarding courses “were not worth the paper they were written on” and called for changes to the system.

The case is likely to send shockwaves throughout the junior sporting world as the club had conformed with all safeguarding rules and regulations.

The club’s chairman said the severity of Eaton’s offending coincided with his elevation to welfare officer.

After starting as a helper at the club 11 years ago, Eaton qualified as a coach, passed his CRB - Criminal Records Bureau check – and took safeguarding and child welfare courses.

The chairman said the club was “devastated” when Eaton was arrested and he was immediately dismissed.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard Eaton, of no fixed address, was caught after the mother of a 13-year-old girl reported online threats he had made to her daughter.

Detailed IT analysis by West Midlands Police officers traced the computer Eaton had used to an address in Aldridge Road, Oldbury.

The force's Child Online Safety Team’s examination of Eaton's online activity found he had contacted up to 100 children pretending to be a 15-year-old girl called Charlotte Large, including two boys he coached at the football club.

Eaton was charged with 20 counts of inciting boys and girls to engage in sexual activity in front of webcams, seven counts relating to making indecent images of children having encouraged them to send him naked photos and three of distributing the images.

Nineteen of the incitement charges were against seven children aged between 11 and 14 which officers were able to identify, whilst the final generic charge related to 23 young victims police have not traced.

He admitted all 30 offences committed from July 2011 to March 2013 and has been ordered to sign the sex offender's register for life.

A sex offender's prevention order was also passed preventing Eaton from ever working with children including in a voluntary capacity and from sleeping in the same building as any children under 16-years-old.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Rob Piper, said: "Many of these children realised they'd gone too far in sending naked images of themselves and were petrified 'Charlotte' would carry out threats to share the images with friends and family if they didn't bow to his demands.

“One of his victims was so upset by Eaton's actions that she tried committing suicide."

He urged parents to be vigilant of their children’s online activity and to question whether they should have webcams in their bedrooms.

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