Teenager placed with family raped toddler

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A teenage sex offender placed in the care of a family as part of a scheme run by his local social services raped their two-year-old son and sexually assaulted their nine-year-old daughter.

The 18-year-old, who was taken in by the family on an Adult Placement Service, was locked up indefinitely for public safety reasons at Cardiff Crown Court yesterday, after admitting rape and indecent assault.

Nicholas Cooke QC, the Recorder of Cardiff, said the case was a source of "grave concern". The parents, from the Vale of Glamorgan in south Wales, had hoped the teenager would be a role model and "big brother" to their younger children.

But they were not told of his history of sexual offences with younger children. In 2005 he admitted to exposing himself and touching a young boy sexually while they were sharing a hostel.

Two years after that he left his job in a bowling alley after parents discovered his efforts to procure the telephone numbers of young girls. And last year he was caught sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl who he thought was asleep.

None of these events were made known to the family. Social services admitted yesterday that placing the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, into the care of the foster family had been a "serious error of judgement".

His behaviour was only stopped when the terrified nine-year-old told her parents what was going on. Prosecutor Richard Evans said: "The foster parents' daughter told them how he would come into her room, lie on top of her, kiss her and put his hands under her clothing. She said when she called out, he put his hand over her mouth. The girl confided in her parents after her little brother was raped by the teenager."

David Pinnel, defending, said that social services were partially culpable for failing to warn the parents of his history. Social services in the Vale of Glamorgan have instigated an urgent case management inquiry into the circumstances of the teenager's placement.