Paedophile sought out jobs where he’d have access to children
A man who sexually assaulted young children and was ‘actively seeking opportunities to offend again’ has been convicted of 14 counts of child sexual abuse after being arrested at his home near Chichester, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.
Keats Harvey, a 24-year-old American national, groomed and sexually assaulted four children, the youngest of whom was a toddler. He was also in possession of almost 9,000 indecent images of children, the NCA said.
He was arrested by NCA officers at his home in West Wittering in May 2020.
On Thursday (July 29), at Hove Crown Court, Harvey was found guilty of six counts of possessing indecent images of children (categories A-C), two counts of possessing prohibited images, two counts of taking and one of distributing an indecent photo of a child, two counts of assaulting a child, and meeting a girl under 16 following grooming.
During their investigation, the NCA also uncovered a number of chat logs and emails in which Mr Harvey exchanged images with other ‘like-minded individuals’ and admitted to molesting three young children.
Mr Keats met his victims through other adults he knew, the NCA said. The investigation identified four children abused by the American national, all of whom were under ten years old. The children have now been safeguarded.
NCA investigators said Mr Harvey made multiple attempts to meet and abuse his victims by befriending vulnerable adults with children and applying for jobs at places he knew would give him access to children, like hospitals and nurseries.
Mr Keats will be sentenced at Hove Crown Court on October 8 2021.
Peter Stevens, branch commander at the NCA, said: “Keats Harvey was conducting very serious offending, not just online but by physically abusing young children.
“On top of this, he was actively trying to befriend adults who had children and had researched jobs on the internet, at hospitals and nurseries, all with the aim of gaining access to children.
“In my view he is an offender whose behaviour was escalating in terms of the severity of the offending he was trying to commit.
“Prosecuting individuals like Harvey who pose a sexual risk to children is a priority for the NCA. My team worked tirelessly, with support from the Crown Prosecution Service, analysing reams of particularly disturbing material to build the case against him and ensure he would face justice.
“We also worked closely with policing partners to identify offenders and safeguard victims. In this case, Sussex and Hampshire Police provided significant support to the investigation.”