South West Wales

Former youth worker Michael Smith jailed for abuse

Michael John Smith Image copyright Dyfed-Powys Police
Image caption Michael Smith was jailed for six years

A former Pembrokeshire youth worker abused the son of a couple supporting him after he was sacked from his job.

Michael Smith, 49, from Haverfordwest was jailed for six years at Swansea Crown Court on Tuesday for child sex offences.

Pembrokeshire council said Smith was not working for it at the time of the offences and an inquiry did not uncover any other allegations.

The alarm was raised when the boy's parents became concerned.

Smith, known locally as Mik Smith, admitted sexually assaulting a child under the age of 13, inciting the child to engage in sexual activity and taking indecent photographs of the child.

He also admitted possessing 1,136 indecent images of children.

Brian Simpson, prosecuting, said all the offences, apart from the last, related to the same boy.

He said Smith had worked for Pembrokeshire Youth Service and later Pembrokeshire Youth Action Service until he was dismissed in 2012 after children complained about the ways he touched them.

Mr Simpson said some people continued to support Smith but his response was to "groom" the son of one of the couples for his own sexual gratification.

'Significant failings'

After the hearing, Pembrokeshire County Council said "justice has been achieved for a vulnerable young person".

In a statement, the authority explained a further joint investigation with police had not found any allegations that Smith abused children while employed as a youth worker.

The council said: "It is a matter of fact that there were significant failings in the disciplinary standards within the council's education directorate in 2005 when Mr Smith was the subject of various allegations about inappropriate behaviour.

"A joint investigation by the council and Dyfed-Powys Police at that time revealed no criminal activity or allegations of abuse.

"The significant failings in the council's disciplinary processes was brought to the authority's attention by the national inspectorates in 2011, leading to formal intervention - intervention the authority has accepted and acted on.

Image caption Council officials say previous failings 'would not be repeated now'

"Since that time the council has completely changed its procedures and management of the education department and is confident that the failings of nine years ago would not be repeated now."

The council said even though an investigation found no evidence that Smith abused other children while working for it, anyone with concerns has been urged to contact officials on 01437 776444 or the police on 101.

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