A police community support officer was jailed today for grooming a vulnerable 14-year-old girl while on a school visit, and sexually abusing her in a patrol car.
PCSO Lawrence Dunn, 48, forced the girl to submit to repeated sex attacks over two years by threatening to cause trouble for her family.
He was jailed for eight years after a judge branded his behaviour 'the highest and grossest breach of trust'.
Dunn was a PCSO in Bridgwater, Somerset, where one of his jobs was to visit schools to give crime awareness advice and counselling to children.
He first met the shy teenaged victim during an official visit, and he then approached her at the school gates and arranged to meet again later, Exeter Crown Court was told.
He started abusing her at her home when her parents were away and took her to remote lay-bys in the countryside where he forced her to take part in sex acts with him.
His assaults only stopped short of full sex because he is a diabetic who suffered from a form of impotence.
The victim’s friends became so worried about her contact with him that they reported it to teachers and the police.
She was too frightened to tell the truth at the time, and lived with her secret for three years before coming forward last year. Dunn resigned from the Avon and Somerset force during the initial investigation in 2008.
Dunn, a grandfather from Burnham-on-Sea, had denied eight counts of attempted or actual sexual activity with a child.
The judge ordered he should remain on the sex offenders’ register for life and made a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which bans him from unsupervised contact with children.
The judge told him: 'The victim was a schoolgirl of 14 and 15 and you were employed as a PCSO. You were 42 to 44 and the disparity in ages is obvious.
'Your victim was vulnerable and I have no doubt you observed this and turned it to your advantage.
'You entered the school in uniform as a PCSO and your task and your trust was to provide counselling and support to pupils. It was in this way you got to know her.
'You met her at the school gates and continued to meet her in the community and the offending began when you went to her home in uniform just after her mother had left for work.
'You entered on the pretext of asking questions but then shut her little sister in another room, took down the victim’s trousers, and assaulted her.
'She told the jury how you later picked her up in a police car and took her down country lanes where you attempted to have sex with her.
'She said she felt she had no choice but to submit because you told her otherwise her family would be in trouble. You would wear uniform.
'She said she wanted to run but thought it would make matters worse and feared you could be violent towards her.
'Her friends became increasingly concerned and police began an investigation into your alleged misconduct, but at the time the victim would not disclose the contact and you were permitted to resign without further investigation.
'The inquiry was not pursued at that stage so there was a delay until July 2011, when she gave a full account to the police for the first time. Her victim impact statement tells of the continuing effect on her.
'The aggravating factors are that your victim was vulnerable and you knew that. This was the very highest and grossest breach of trust.
'It is hard to imagine a man with a greater degree of trust than someone wearing the uniform of a police officer, where your responsibility was to protect the victim. Instead, you perpetrated these crimes, because you could.
'You did so using your uniform and using a police car. There was intimidation and coercion. She was scared. In my judgment, there was submission on her part rather than free agreement.'
During a trial last month, the girl said she was too much in awe of Dunn's position and power to resist when he demanded sex.
Her head teacher described the victim as a ‘kind and considerate girl but one who was vulnerable and regarded school as offering a sense of security and continuity’.
Ms Rebecca Bradbury, defending, said: “My client has lost his good character and his job and the respect of the community. His house could be repossessed and he will be released with no job and possibly no home.
'His parents are elderly and infirm and he had been looking after them. He had sought to protect them from these proceedings and has had the difficult task of explaining why he is no longer able to support them.
'The consequences have been far reaching for him and his family.'