A foster parent who sexually abused vulnerable young children in his care during an 11-year reign of terror has been jailed.
Serial paedophile Desmond Ward, 60, sexually abused four boys, including two of his own foster children and a three-year-old toddler he was babysitting.
Evil Ward began abusing the foster children ‘almost immediately’ after their placement with him began.
He was found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault, three counts of indecency with a child and one count of buggery at Lewes Crown Court.
Ward, of Worthing in West Sussex, was jailed for 15 years for 16 offences on December 21st.
Detective Constable Beccy Hopkins, of Worthing CID, said: “One foster child was in foster placement with Ward between 1993 and 1994.
“The abuse began almost as soon as his placement began and only ended when he bravely told a social worker what was happening to him.
“Another of the victims, not a foster-child, was aged just three when the abuse began while Ward was babysitting him.
“A pattern of abuse and grooming then continued over a number of years until the victim was 15 in 1994.
“Only some 10 years later did he first feel able to speak up about what had happened to him.”
The child predator sexually assaulted another boy repeatedly during his one-year temporary placement with Ward which was reported several years later in 1998.
The fourth child was staying with Ward for the weekend when the foster carer sexually assaulted him. The victim reported the abuse more than a decade later.
Ward was a foster carer for West Sussex County Council from 1989 until 1994 when an allegation that he had committed sexual offences against a boy who had been in his care was investigated and he was removed from the fostering register.
Two further similar allegations were investigated in 1998 and 2004, but he was not prosecuted due to a lack of sufficient evidence.
But detectives reassessed all three previous cases when a further allegation was made against Ward in 2015 by another boy who he had fostered.
A year later, a fourth victim came forward and detectives established a ‘clear pattern’ in Ward’s behaviour while he was living at another address in Worthing and they were able to prosecute him.
DC Hopkins praised the victims, who are now adults, for ‘their incredible bravery in giving evidence’ against the abusive carer after such a long time.
She added: “The victims are now adults and came to court to give evidence during the trials.
“The convictions are testament to their incredible bravery in giving evidence against Desmond Ward after such a long time.
“He was an opportunist and predatory sex offender who put himself in a position of trust in order to access vulnerable young boys, two of whom were foster-children.
“We will always follow up such allegations, regardless of how long ago they are said to have happened.”