A teacher once named ‘Britain’s sign language tutor of the year’ has been jailed after being snared by a female paedophile hunter.
Sick Robert John Lupton-Le Masurier, 41, who is profoundly deaf, was caught posing as a 13-year-old boy on the gay dating website Grindr.
He attempted to meet an underage youngster for sex but was instead met by Cheyenne O’Connor, 25, and became the fifth paedophile to be jailed by the mother of two.
She launched her one woman campaign to ‘clean up’ her community of Jersey as she claimed victims of sex abuse were being let down by the justice system.
And she said that while was pleased with her latest conviction, she felt his prison term should have been longer after it was reduced to seven months “as an act of mercy” by Magistrate Sara Fitz.
She lowered it from nine months after reading a letter from an expert about the effects that prison can have on a deaf person.
Mrs Fitz said that she was taking into account deafness in terms of the additional hardship the defendant would suffer in prison. “Those hardships are very well set out in the report,” she added.
The defendant from Jersey admitted a charge of attempting to meet a child of 13 following sexual grooming.
Prosecuting, Lauren Hallam told the court how Miss O’Connor set up a fake profile on Grindr on 7 January under the false name of “Benny” and registered the age as being 18, due to the application rules.
Once on Grindr, Ms O’Connor however posed as a 13-year-old boy.
The court heard that three days later ‘Benny’ received a message from Le Masurier and told him his age.
Benny told him: “I not going to lie I am underage. Don’t want anybody to talk to me that doesn’t want to.
Le Masurier replied: “You mean you don’t want some fun?”
Benny then said he had never done anything before to which Le Masurier responded: “You want to try?”
Benny then told him: “I’m 13.”
After this, Le Masurier asked the boy about his school and for pictures, asking him to be discreet.
He told Benny: “I’m really looking for fun (sex),” adding later on in the conversation,
“Don’t worry about being nervous, don’t mind your age as long as you are very, very discreet.”
Ms Hallam said that the conversation continued with some “very sexual requests” and the pair then continued to exchange messages for five days.
When they eventually met Miss O’Connor photographed Le Masurier walking around the area and then went to the police.
During his police interview, Le Masurier, who his advocate described as “profoundly deaf,” said he didn’t understand the word “13” or “age.” He said he had a poor command of English and didn’t understand the content of the conversation – denying that he knew the boy was 13.
Advocate Nina Benest, who was defending Le Masurier, said he was profoundly deaf, of previous good character, had pleaded guilty on the first occasion and had several references.
She said he had been in a relationship for 20 years and never had a previous underage encounter or any “general sexual interest in children.”
She said Le Masurier took full responsibility for his actions and understood how he had broken the law, for which he offered an “unreserved apology.”
She added: “He knows nothing beyond what is expressly explained to him. There is no white noise for him, no TV, no radio, no general conversation, no eavesdropping. There is no osmosis by which he can learn society’s rules.”
She explained that his first language is the British Sign Language (BSL) and that English is foreign to him and needs to be translated.
In addition she said his command of English was equivalent to that of a seven or eight-year-old.
Advocate Benest told Court that there was no information about any prison officer having even a basic command of BSL. She said that as a result of his conviction, Le Masurier lost his job, lost his partner and was “ostracised by the community.” She said he was completely isolated and couldn’t rebuild his life.
She told the court: “He had never came across the word ‘grooming’ before and it is something that had to be explained at length to him during his interview. This has been a shocking and frightening experience for him.”
He was also made the subject of a five-year restraining order limiting his use of computers and also told that it will be at least five years before he can apply to be removed from the Sex Offenders Register.
Speaking after the case Miss O’Connor said: ‘I don’t think it should have been reduced just because he was deaf. What difference does it make if it is five months for 12 months inside. He is still going to get the same grief.’
“Robert a former school teacher up until his arrest attempted to meet a 13 year old boy at his home.
“The excuses used by Robert today in court were appalling, ‘I didn’t understand the number 13’ along with ‘A lightbulb clicked and I realised what I had done while waiting to meet him’
“Bearing in mind this man stayed 20 mins longer then the child did and also had arranged another meet the following day.
“His sexual chat was explicit and he also proceeded to send a picture of his tiny little man area covered by parts of his boxers.
“The sentence was lowered from the standard 9-11 months due to him being completely deaf and no one knowing sign language at the prison, so Robert I hope you enjoy your time up there with the other five serving time.”
Miss O’Connor has vowed to continue her work to trap people who want to try to meet children.
She added: “I thought the publicity would make a few think twice about contacting me but it seems to have just got worse, nothing will stop them.
“Child abuse is a massive issue in Jersey and there is no-one else doing this but me.
“I decided to carry on based on how rubbish our justice system was and how many victims were being let down.
“The justice system is shocking when it comes to this.”