A BRITISH paedophile who changed his name by deed poll and forged legal documents to find work as a teacher in Spain so he could exploit young children has been sentenced to 138 years in prison by a court in Madrid.
Ben David Rose was handed the jail term after being found guilty of producing child pornography involving 36 children aged between four and eight years old after lying his way into one of Madrid’s most prestigious private schools.
The case has raised serious safeguarding concerns after it emerged he had been convicted for similar crimes in the UK and placed on the sex offenders register before moving to Spain where he found work as an au pair and then as an English teacher in several schools in the capital.
The 32-year-old had in 2016 been convicted of sex crimes against children while running a summer camp in the UK when he used the name he was born with Ben David Lewis.
In an investigation carried out by the Olive Press last year, it emerged that within days of being handed a suspended sentence and placed on the sex offenders list he changed his name by deed poll to from Ben Lewis to Ben David, applied for a new passport and fled to Spain.
With a new name and passport he was able to pass criminal record checks which he used alongside doctored education diplomas to gain employment first at a well known English academy, followed by a teaching role at a bilingual concertado and finally at an expensive British syllabus private school in Madrid’s upmarket Arturo Soria, where he was arrested in June, 2020.
Read the full investigation by The Olive Press.
Police were tipped off to the presence of a ‘dangerous sexual predator’ working in Madrid schools after an investigation by police in Australia into the online sexual exploitation of children identified that someone in Madrid was making and distributing images.
In a trial that began in early May the court heard how the defendant who used the name ‘Ben David’ and ‘Ben David Rose’ first gained employment as an au pair caring for three young children in Zaragoza. He photographed the children naked, photoshopped images of his own genitals into the shot, and posted them on the dark web.
He also took sexual photographs of some 30 students under his care at a private school in Madrid, often by ‘upskirting’ – secretly filming up their skirts – and uploading them onto the child porn sites.
David was found guilty of producing child pornography, moral deparavity, crimes of discovery and disclosure of secrets, and falsification of official documents.
The three judges who convicted him wrote in a 72 page sentence that they had found him guilty of eight counts of making child pornography, a crime of inflicting degrading treatment on another person, 32 privacy offences and one count of forgery.
The ruling pointed out that there was no evidence that he had physically sexually abused his victims.
“In no case – as stated in the sentence – has it been proven that the convicted person sexually abused minors,” it said.
Although sentenced to a total of 138 years in jail, he will only serve a maximum of 20 years prison sentence plus eight years of probation and .must take part in sexual re-education programmes as well as pay compensation of between €3,000 and €6,000 to the family of each victim.
The case was used to highlight the deficiencies in the current legal system in a report by the Safeguarding Alliance to lobby UK parliament for a change in law in the management of sex offenders.
It argued that the current system which relies on the sex offender himself to notify the police with details of any name change or aliases they may use, alongside any change of address and passport information, makes it easy for offenders to slip under the radar and continue abusing,
“Spain needs to be aware of this failing in the UK and pioneer an international movement to protect its children from those abusers who slip under the radar in the UK,” Emily Konstantas of Safeguarding Alliance told the Olive Press.
“They need to be aware that the system we currently have in place in the UK is ripe for abuse and just isn’t working.”
Responding to the news of the sentence in Spain, Konstantas said: “There is no prison sentence long enough for the heinous crimes he committed. Being abused as a child can be a life sentence, it is the children we need to remember, the hurt and pain they experienced, and still experience today.
“At the time these horrific offences were committed The Safeguarding Alliance had already been lobbying for change around registered sex offender name change and publicly raising awareness. This loophole remains a live and very dangerous safeguarding risk to children and those most vulnerable and cannot be overlooked. We need a change to statutory guidance and immediate guidance issued.”
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