A former pastor and BBC tv presenter has been jailed for 10 years and 4 months after he admitted abusing boys and males over virtually three a long time.
Ben Thomas, 44, carried out a lot of his assaults whereas his victims have been sleeping at Christian camps and conferences, Mould crown courtroom in north Wales heard.
Sentencing Thomas for 40 sexual offences involving 33 boys and males, the choose, Timothy Petts, mentioned: “For practically 30 years, you hid a darkish secret, specifically that you simply have been a prolific intercourse abuser.”
The overwhelming majority of Thomas’s victims have been teenage boys and Petts mentioned Thomas used his place as a “revered church chief” to pinpoint victims. The choose mentioned Thomas, who started the sexual abuse when he was 14 or 15, had a “facade of respectability” however was a harmful offender, and dominated he can be on the intercourse offenders’ register for all times.
Thomas labored for BBC Wales as a presenter on Ffeil, the Welsh language information programme for younger folks, and as a reporter on Wales At present. He left the BBC in 2005 to evangelise on the streets of London earlier than returning to Wales in 2008 as pastor of the Criccieth Household Church in Gwynedd.
His offending got here to mild when one sufferer got here ahead and Thomas was reported to police.
When interviewed by police, Thomas, of Flint, initially answered “no remark”, however three weeks later requested to be re-interviewed and confessed to offences towards victims aged between 11 and 34 in north Wales, Shropshire, London, and Romania.
Many victims have been unaware that they had been abused till they have been traced by police after Thomas’s confession, and never all of these he admitted abusing have been discovered, the courtroom heard.
Thomas, who has a spouse and kids, pleaded responsible at an earlier listening to to offences together with sexual exercise with a toddler, sexual assaults, tried sexual assaults, indecent assaults, voyeurism and making indecent movies of kids. The courtroom heard he as soon as hid his cellphone in a wash bag at an out of doors centre to movie boys going to the bathroom or showering.
On some events when his victims woke to seek out him of their room, he pretended to be sleepwalking, the courtroom heard.
One man who woke as he was being assaulted described his mattress shaking and being “extraordinarily frightened”, as he believed believing “darkish spirits” have been attacking him.
In an announcement learn to the courtroom, one other sufferer described feeling offended, damage, disgusted, let down and violated. He mentioned: “His face received’t depart my ideas.”
A spokesman for NSPCC Cymru mentioned: “His offending can have had a profound impact on a lot of these he abused and it is important they can get all the assistance they should transfer ahead with their lives.”