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11 April 2019, 16:37 | Updated: 11 April 2019, 16:39
A 19 year old man from Bristol has been jailed for multiple child sex offences against four teenage girls.
Thomas Junior Medler, who is known as TJ, was convicted of sexual activity with a girl aged under 16 and sexually assaulting another, following a trial at Bristol Crown Court.
He had previously admitted sexual activity with two other girls who were also both aged under 16 at the time. The exploitation of one of the victims came after a sustained period of grooming.
He has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison, issued with a 10 year sexual harm prevention order and told to sign the sex offender’s register indefinitely.
During sentencing, His Honour Judge Ambrose said the offences involving at least two of Medler’s victims were “characterised by pressure and manipulation” and despite some of them seemingly being content with the relationships “the laws [he broke] are intended to protect young girls whatever their wishes might be.”
The judge told Medler: “You knew in absolutely no uncertain terms where the line was, so your actions showed a flagrant disregard for the warnings you had been given.”
Medler was apprehended following an Operation Topaz investigation.
Operation Topaz is a police-led approach to tackling child sexual exploitation which sees agencies share intelligence to investigate reports, catch offenders and support victims.
Investigating officer DC Kim O’Donnell said: “While still young himself, Medler is a dangerous individual who seeks to manipulate and control young girls.
“He pretended to harm himself in order that his victims would come to his house – exploiting their belief he cared for them – before sexually abusing them.
“His victims often felt like they had no choice but to engage in sexually activity with him so that he didn’t take his own life.
“Such was the spell he cast over one of his victims that she hid in a bathroom cupboard for three-and-a-half hours while police were at his house just because he told her to.
“Two of his other victims waited more than two years before disclosing what had happened to them to police out of concern for the consequences their actions might have for him.”
DC O’Donnell added: “This case serves as a stark reminder that child sex offenders can be any age.
“More than half of all suspects investigated by Operation Topaz are aged 24 or younger and people should not assume that people relatively close to each other in age are not able to be exploiting or exploited.
“By working together and sharing information we can help inform, educate and prevent child sexual abuse from happening. But we and our partners can only do so much and we still need the public’s help.
“If you suspect a child or young person may be at risk, or have any information relating to CSE, please contact us.”