May 2010

Knowsley Council care worker jailed for historic sex abuse

A WOMAN was jailed for grooming and abusing a young girl, more than 20 years ago.

Liverpool crown court heard openly-gay care worker June Higgins, 40, was just 16 when she befriended her 12-year-old victim.

For more than a year she repeatedly sexually abused the girl. She even kept her young victim quiet by warning her she would be brandished a lesbian if she ever exposed the sexual assaults.

Her crimes only came to light last year when her victim revealed what had happened to her in counselling and felt strong enough to tell police.

Higgins, of Salerno Drive, Huyton, denied any wrong-doing, but she was convicted by jurors of six counts of indecent assault between February 1986 and February 1988.

Zia Chaudhry, defending, told how Higgins had led an “unblemished life” for the last 22 years and had been working for Knowsley Borough Council.

But jailing her for two years, Recorder Nicholas Clarke QC said: “I must do justice for your victim who was severely traumatised by what you did.”

He added: “This was prolonged sexual abuse over a period of 12 months on a child of 12 and 13. It has had serious, traumatic and lasting effects on your victim.”

Recorder Clarke said Higgins’s victim had initially been flattered by the attention of an “older, more mature woman”.

Higgins then groomed the girl by introducing her to films of a sexual nature and on one occasion plying her with drink.

He said: “She complied because you were an adult. Over time you became more and more intimate with her and jealously possessive of her.”

The abuse eventually came to an end when Higgins became involved in adult same-sex relationships and is now open about her sexuality and about living in a gay relationship.

Recorder Clarke said he accepted Higgins did not present a risk to children.

He said: “I can treat this case as you experimenting at a time when you had not fully understood your own sexuality.

“It is clear to me you used your victim for that experimentation.”

Higgins was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for the next 10 years.