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Teenage nursery worker on trial in Exeter for sexual assault of children

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Simon Turner/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Simon Turner/Alamy

A teenage nursery worker sexually assaulted eight young children he was employed to look after, a jury has heard.

Jayden McCarthy allegedly assaulted seven girls and one boy between the ages of two and four over a two-and-a-half-week period at a nursery in Devon.

McCarthy, now aged 18 but 16 at the time of the alleged offences in July 2019, was arrested after a girl claimed he had carried out a serious sexual assault on her.

Jason Beal, prosecuting, told Exeter crown court that there were no adult witnesses to the alleged assaults, but when police examined 250 hours of CCTV from the nursery, 13 “incidents” were identified.

The jury heard McCarthy joined the nursery in March 2019 as an apprentice. He produced references and checks were carried out to ensure he was not barred from working with children.

Related: Ofsted inspectors to visit schools facing sexual abuse claims

He underwent further training and there were no concerns about him, the court was told, though some staff said he was immature and he let the children throw toys around and climb all over him.

The alleged sexual assaults came to light when a girl told her mother what had happened after returning home wearing different clothes to the ones she had gone in with. She told her mother what McCarthy had allegedly done to her.

McCarthy was suspended and asked to leave the nursery while an investigation was launched. Social services were contacted and the police were informed.

Beal said: “The defendant was caught on CCTV sexually assaulting children on various days over a period of 10-29 July. There were eight children involved and they were aged between two and four.”

McCarthy told police he had never touched a child sexually or for sexual gratification and he denied being sexually aroused by children.

He is on trial for one count of rape and 13 counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 13. He is also charged with two further rapes not connected to the nursery. He denies all charges.

The trial continues.

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