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Man appears in court over child sex inquiry

A 19-year-old man has appeared in court charged in connection with an investigation into child sexual exploitation and abuse in Devon. Jake Ormerod, who was arrested on Thursday, faced two charges at Exeter Crown Court.

Mr Ormerod, of Torquay, is accused of offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 of engaging, or inciting a girl to engage in, sexual activity. The case was committed to the same court for a plea and directions hearing on 27 May. An application for bail was being heard in private.

Police said on Thursday their inquiry may involve 20 or more victims, mainly girls aged 12 and above in Torbay and Teignbridge in Devon. They have written to thousands of parents with children at secondary schools in the area to inform them of the investigation.

Speaking outside court Mr Omerod's mother, Janet Hoddy, 52, said: "There's no way my son could do any harm. He wouldn't take advantage of a young girl."