An Army cadet trainer has been jailed after posing as 15-year-old girl to “bait” teenage boys into performing sex acts online.
Jamie Hopes, 24, tricked around 40 boys he met online into sending him indecent videos of themselves – believing they were talking to a teen girl.
After entering a guilty plea to several charges related to child pornography and causing a child to engage in sexual activity, Hopes was sentenced to four years in jail.
At the sentencing in the Cardiff Crown Court on Friday he was also given a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention order forbidding him from contacting anyone under the age of 18.
Hopes’ crimes were uncovered in June last year, when police traced some of the graphic videos posted on social network site Tumblr to his IP address.
Officers found 50,000 indecent videos and images of children on two electronic devices at the home Hopes lived at with his parents in Maesteg, South Wales, some of which he had shared with other paedophiles online.
One file named “For Baiting” held photos and graphic videos of the girl he was posing as to deceive the teenage boys he had met and groomed on a number of social network sites.
Detective Constable Carl Taylor from South Wales Police said: “[Hopes] targeted dozens of teenage boys on popular social networking sites, gaining their trust by pretending to be a girl their own age, and grooming and manipulating them in to engaging in sexual acts.
“Our team have not been able to identify all of those affected by Hopes’ offending, but of those we’ve managed to trace, all have suffered greatly and the abuse has had a profound effect on them.”
At the time he was a training sergeant with the Dyfed and Glamorgan Army Cadet Force.
The Cadet Force, which has locations across the UK, is one of the country’s largest voluntary youth organisations for young people aged between 12 and 18 and is sponsored by the Ministry of Defence.
After his arrest, Hopes pleaded guilty to 15 charges that included causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, possession of indecent images of child, distributing indecent images of a child and possession of extreme pornography.
As well as serving jail time, Hopes will remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely.