TV magician Richard Bellars sentenced over sex texts
A TV magician has been sentenced to a three-year community order for sending sexually explicit texts to a 15-year-old girl.
Richard Bellars, 31, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, also sent photographs of himself naked and performing a sex act.
Sevenoaks magistrates heard that in one text he told the teenager: "I will hold you down and rape you."
Bellars has performed magic on TV several times, including with the world famous illusionists Penn and Teller.
Sentencing him, chairman of the bench Gary Knight said the offence was so serious he could have been jailed.
He added that the situation had "escalated in a very short period".
The court also imposed a sexual offenders prevention order that restricts Bellars coming into contact with children unless their parents know of his convictions.
The father-of-one had met the girl and another teenager at a magic show in May to raise funds for the Royal Victoria Hall, in Southborough.
He communicated with the 15-year-old through Facebook, on Skype and on his mobile.
Bellars pleaded guilty to two charges under the Sexual Offences Act.
Speaking outside the court after he was sentenced, he apologised for his behaviour.
"To everybody that I know, whether a friend or a supporter of my magic career, I just want to say I'm truly sorry for my actions and for letting you down.
"It's never happened before and it will never happen again," Bellars said.
"I'm the same man you've always known and I made a stupid mistake."