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A man who was sexually abused as a child has spoken out in the hope it will give other victims the confidence to contact the police.
Stephen*, was one of two boys abused by Andrew Dutton in Benfleet in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Last year, Dutton, then 63, was sentenced to 17-and-a-half-years in prison.
Stephen described him as “a disgusting, manipulative, remorseless child sex abuser” who “ruthlessly exploited my vulnerability as a teenager and young adult for his own sexual gratification”.
In a new video, Stephen talks about his experience of reporting the crimes and how his “fantastic” senior investigating officer, Detective Constable Emily Monk of the force’s Quest team, helped bring Dutton to justice.
Quest investigates non-recent child sexual abuse cases where the victim is now an adult and the abuser was an adult family member or in a position of responsibility over the victim at the time of the abuse.
They have a 100% record at securing convictions for cases that have gone to court.
Stephen said: “I didn't realise what had happened to me was sexual abuse, until, probably, my late twenties.
“But I was living on my own then and I thought my parents wouldn't be able to deal with it if I told them. I thought, 'You're just going to have to take it to grave with you.'
“That's when I disclosed it to my wife and then it was about a year later that I decided to come forward to the police.”
Stephen visited Southend Police Station and passed a note to the person on reception. He was then taken to a side room to meet a specialist officer before Emily took on the case.
Stephen told Emily what had happened to him over a series of interviews and handed over diagrams of Dutton's house.
Stephen said he was treated with “dignity and compassion” and that the interviews were done at his pace.
“As long as you just say what's happened to you, you just tell the truth and stick to the truth and you'll be fine,” he said.
Emily said: “I've been on child abuse teams for 13 years now, so you really get to understand the impact it has on people. Working with a lot of victims, you understand the support they need, and how important it is to keep them updated.
“Once we start getting that account from the victim, we can then figure out that we might be able to go back to some records and get evidence to back up one part of the account they've given us. That might just be enough to tip the balance for it to be a successful prosecution.”
Emily also stressed that reporting a crime does not mean that the victim has to take the case any further.
Another of Dutton’s victims was tracked down over the course of the investigation and 18 months after Stephen first reported, Dutton was found guilty of five counts of indecent assault and five counts of indecency with a child at Basildon Crown Court.
Reflecting on the conviction, Stephen said, “I never thought when we walked into that police station, that he would end up being in prison for 17-and-a-half years now.”
He also wants to encourage other victims of child abuse to come forward after describing the positive effect Dutton’s jailing had on him.
“Their dirty little secret isn't a secret anymore,” Stephen said. “It is only now, a few months down the line after he's been put in prison, that you realise how much of an effect the process of coming forward and waiting for a trial, and the trial, had on you - that burden lifted from you.
“Even if it doesn't go to trial, even if all that happens is he (a perpetrator) gets interviewed, it might stop him doing it to one more person. And if that's all that happens, then you have achieved something.”
Emily added: “Do call us. We will work with you, and we will support you, and we will try to get justice for you.”
*name has been changed to protect identity
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