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'Dangerous' paedophile jailed after raping 15-year-old autistic boy at Orpington leisure centre

PUBLISHED: 16:49 04 December 2013 | UPDATED: 16:49 04 December 2013

John Bartholomew was jailed for eight years at Croydon Crown Court.

John Bartholomew was jailed for eight years at Croydon Crown Court.

Archant

A paedophile has been jailed for eight years after raping an autistic 15-year-old boy at the Walnuts Leisure Centre, in Orpington.

John Bartholomew, 50, of Church Road, Crystal Palace was found guilty of rape and sexual assault at Croydon Crown Court today, despite pleading denying the charges.

The court heard how Bartholomew approached his victim in the swimming pool changing rooms at the lesiure centre, in Lych Gate Road, on October 9 last year.

Bartholomew, who the 15-year-old recognised from previous visits, asked the boy to follow him into his changing room. Fearing for his safety, the boy agreed.

Once inside, the 50-year-old sexually assaulted his victim before forcing him to perform and receive oral sex.

Staff were alerted after the boy managed to escape, and Bartholomew was arrested as he left the leisure centre.

Det Insp Faye Churchyard, of Sapphire, said: “Bartholomew is a dangerous man. It is likely that he stalked his victim over a period of time and then struck when he thought he would go undetected.

“The victim has found the courage to see his attacker convicted and I commend him and his family who have shown immense strength through what must be an incredibly difficult time.

“Bartholomew is now in prison and I would appeal to anybody else affected by this man’s behaviour to come forward and speak to police - specially trained officers and partner agencies will support you.”

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