Caretaker accused of sex crimes tells jury: ‘I have no sexual interest in children’

A SCHOOL caretaker accused of committing sex crimes against four children has told a court he has no sexual interest in youngsters.

James Hodgson is alleged to have “used and abused” his position at a County Durham primary school to get close to boys and girls.

The 61-year-old told a jury at TeessideCrown Court that he liked the kids, and the job was the best he had ever had.

But he denied he ever over-stepped the mark in his friendliness, and said he had no idea why the allegations have been made.

Three girls and a boy have claimed Mr Hodgson either abused them, exposed himself to them and watched them at the toilet.

On the fifth day of his trial, the grandfather was in the witness box at the start of his defence case and denied all the allegations.

He told the jury he did not even know the boy who has accused him of abusing him in his boiler room and giving him sweets.

The prosecution claims Mr Hodgson gave presents and treats to the children to gain their confidence and buy their silence.

He admitted twice ignoring a headteacher’s warning to stop because such acts of apparent kindness could be misinterpreted.

Mr Hodgson, of Moorside, Spennymoor, County Durham, said he liked to reward youngsters who had helped him during a term.

In one of four interviews with police after his arrest in September last year, he said he knew he could not cuddle pupils.

He said children often hugged him, but he would simply pat them on the head, because safeguarding training had taught him to.

When asked about one of the girls’s claims, he replied: “I can’t understand why she has done it. I honestly don’t know.”

Ian West, defending, questioned the police investigation, saying a number of important inquiries had not been carried out.

Fingernail scrapings which might have proved if Mr Hodgson had or had not touched the youngster had never been done, the jury heard.

The clothes he was wearing when the final allegation was made were never sent away for forensic examination, Mr West said.
Police seized a computer, laptop, tablet and mobile phone and none of the devices showed an unhealthy interest in children.

Source: http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/13838044.Caretaker_accused_of_sex_crimes_tells_jury___I_have_no_sexual_interest_in_children_/