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Parents Urged to Check Children's Internet Use As North Yorkshire Paedo Jailed

Michael Atherton 250314

11:23am 25th March 2014

Parents are being urged to check what their children are up to online, as a North Yorkshire paedophile starts a seven year jail term.

42 year old Michael Atherton from Scarborough, who police are describing as a "sexual deviant", added women and girls using fake profiles on Facebook before building their trust and then exposing himself to them using Facetime.

He was jailed for 17 offences including, exposure, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and breaking a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Atherton's youngest victim was an eight year old girl from North Lincolnshire, who called police after seeing him take part in a sex act while chatting to her daughter online. The mum is now urging other parents to keep a closer eye on what their kids get up to online.

The mum said in a statement:

“I feel so relieved that justice has been done and he has been put into prison."

“This shows how the internet should be monitored at all times where your children are involved .Thankfully I do monitor my daughter’s internet activity."

“North Yorkshire Police have been excellent with me and my daughter throughout the investigation, especially DC Neighbour.

Another of Atherton's victims had been harassed by him for ten years before finding the courage to report him to police. The woman, from Keighley, said:

“I am glad that I came forward and reported this man to the police. I identified Michael Atherton which assisted the police in linking him to other victims. I believe one of the victims was as young eight-years-old.

“I am pleased that the investigation is now over and a good sentence was given.

“Michael Atherton started harassing me from the age of 14 and did not stop for 10 years. He is a pest that never went away and I am glad that I will finally be left alone.”

Police are urging parents and children not to accept friend requests from people they don't know online.

Detective Constable Michelle Neighbour, of Scarborough Protecting Vulnerable Person’s Unit, said:

“Michael Atherton persistently engaged in sexual acts using various internet applications.

“He harassed his victims to satisfy is own sexual gratification. He befriended children and women on Facebook by using false profiles and then contacted them via Facetime and exposed himself.  

“Michael Atherton is a sexual deviant who will now have a number of years in prison to reflect on his behaviour.

“He can spend his days thinking about the impact his behaviour has had on his victims and participate in a sex offenders treatment programme, which in turn should teach him how to deal with his sexual desires within the private confines of his own home.”

To report online abuse or to get advice about keeping your children safe on the internet visit the Child Online Protection Centre website www.ceop.police.uk  

If you would like to report a sexual offence contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 – select option 1 – and pass information to the Force Control Room.

North Yorkshire Police has specially trained officers who will deal with your case sensitively and confidentially.

If you prefer not to give your name, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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