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Army cadet leaders jailed for abuse of teenage girl

Army cadet leaders have been jailed for the sexual abuse of a teenage girl in their troop.

Posted on 03 June 2021

Lieutenant Dennis Bowie, 49, of Orchard Road, Bexhill, and Sergeant Alice McElinney, 33, of Cornwall Road, Bexhill, groomed the 14-year-old in the army cadet force in Bexhill, Surrey.

The pair were sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Friday, 28 May, 2021. Bowie was sentenced to five years and two months in prison. McElinney was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.

Bowie, had pleaded guilty to an offence of sexual communication with a child, two offences of sexual activity with a child, and also three offences of making indecent images of children.

The indecent images were taken from the Internet and are not believed to be related to any local children, said Sussex Police.

McElhinney had admitted one offence of sexual communication with a child, and two offences of sexual activity with a child.

In a statement, Detective Constable Anthony Luke said: "The defendants committed sexual offences against a young girl which were also a serious breach of trust in relation to their roles having responsibility for the care and welfare of young people.
"The court heard that three girl cadets in the same Unit had also been subject of personal and online attention from Bowie and McElhinney in a way which clearly breached ACF rules on contact between staff and cadets."

According to a court report by the Brighton Argus, the survivor of the abuse said it left her self-harming and in a statement she said: “I was used and felt trapped, I didn't see any way of getting out of it."

It reports Judge Janet Waddicor’s comments: "It's an abuse of trust by her family and the trust placed in them by the cadets "It was almost as if they were playthings."

Bowie will be a registered sex offender for life and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last indefinitely, severely restricting his access to children and digital devices, said Sussex Police.

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