A Doncaster man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage girl and having 6,000 indecent images of children has walked free from court.
During a hearing a Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday, Keith Benton, 47, of Parkstone Grove, Hatfield, was given a 12 month community order with a 60 day rehabilitation requirement, and was told he must sign the sexual offenders register for five years.
Last month, Benton pleaded guilty to having indecent images after being found with 6,000 category C images on his computer. A subsequent investigation in February last year found more category C images and one category B image.
Benton also pleaded guilty to a sexual assault charge from August 2016, when he was alleged to have groped a teenage girl under 16.
Prosecuting, Ian West, said that ‘perhaps the most aggravating’ aspect of the incident was that when Benton was asked by the victim why he was touching her, he said it was ‘because I like you’.
He added that when first challenged by police, Benton denied the sexual assault allegations and blamed the images on other people.
Mitigating, Gordon Stables said his client had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, had no prior convictions and was of previous good character.
He said: “There are a number of impressive references. In this type of crime people often distance themselves from the accused but that has not happened in this case.
“He has lost the relationship he was in and his job as a result of this - and he has lost his good character.”
Telling the defendant he was free to go, Judge Peter Kelson QC questioned why the case had even been sent to the Crown Court by Magistrates.
“You don’t need any lectures from me,” he added.
Speaking after the sentence, a family friend of the person sexually assaulted by Benton said the sentence was ‘unbelievable’.
She said: “He is still walking the streets. The victim doesn’t like going out in case she sees him. God know what the girls who were on the images on his computer have gone through.
“How they think they can rehabilitate him in 60 days is quite unbelievable. He should be punished for what he has done.
“There are people who are in prison for fraud who are not a danger to the community. The paedophiles are the ones who should be shut away.”