A former teaching assistant has been jailed thanks to the hard work of specialist officers dedicated to the protection of children.
In March 2019, officers from our Child Abuse Investigation Teams (CAIT) arrested 25-year-old Michael Pena-Briggs at his home address in The Grove, Cambridge, shortly after an offence was reported to us.
The offence took place in the Uttlesford district.
Following a complex and sensitive investigation, he was charged in October 2019 with sexual assault of a child under 13.
Pena-Briggs faced his first trial for the offence at Chelmsford Crown Court in May 2021 but was met with a hung jury.
The retrial began last month and on Monday 9 May 2022, he was found guilty. It took less than 2 hours for the jury to reach the verdict.
At the same court on Monday 6 June, he was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment. He will also be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
Strength and courage
Investigating officer for the case, Detective Sergeant Stuart Pryke, said:
“Offences of this kind will always be shocking and disturbing, particularly when that person is in a position of trust. “This will undoubtedly be difficult news for the local community but please be assured that our teams and partners have safeguarded and supported all those involved in the investigation. “The victim and their family have shown incredible strength and courage throughout this lengthy and complex case. “Everything we do and all the hard work is for them, to make sure that they get the justice they deserve."
Unrelenting in pursuit of justice
The victim’s family have said:
“This has been a long journey but the police and the CPS have been unrelenting in their pursuit of justice. “We are especially grateful to DS Pryke of Essex Police for his commitment and dedication, and to CARA, the Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse, for their ongoing support. “We hope that by achieving this significant result, other victims and their families will have the confidence to come forward and work with the police so that more offenders can be apprehended and more children protected.”
We're here to listen
If you’ve been affected or would like to report information to us, please get in touch. We’re here to listen and will treat all reports seriously.
If you would like to remain anonymous you can make a report to independent charity Crimestoppers through their website or by calling 0800 555 111.
CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse) works with victims and survivors of sexual violence and child sexual abuse, providing independent, specialist support and promoting and representing their rights and needs. For more information, you can visit their website
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is also a UK-wide child protection charity focused solely on preventing child sexual abuse. The charity runs Stop it Now! – a child sexual abuse prevention campaign and helpline.
For more information on how Stop it Now! helps people address their online behaviour, please visit the website or call the confidential Stop it Now! Helpline on 0808 1000 900.