An army cadet sergeant avoided jail after he lured a 'vulnerable' boy to a base to fulfil a sexual 'fantasy' of twisting his nipples and tickling h
An army cadet sergeant avoided jail after he lured a ‘vulnerable’ boy to a base to fulfil a sexual ‘fantasy’ of twisting his nipples and tickling him.
Kevin Tallon, 47, volunteered with Merseyside Army Cadet Force and held the ranks of staff sergeant and detachment commander.
He abused his position by asking a young teenager to help with maintenance work to get him alone.
Afterwards, Tallon, of Camborne Avenue, Halewood, Merseyside, took the boy’s mobile phone and deleted text messages inviting him to the base to ‘cover up’ his plan.
But the Territorial Army veteran later sent more texts, telling the scared boy: ‘If you were older I’d try and take you to bed.’
Liverpool Crown Court heard the victim suffered bullying, which Tallon knew, meaning the child was ‘particularly vulnerable’ and he invited him to the base one Saturday afternoon.
Kevin Tallon, 47, of Camborne Avenue, Halewood, Merseyside, avoided jail after he lured a ‘vulnerable’ boy to a base to fulfil a sexual ‘fantasy’ of twisting his nipples and tickling him
David Birrell, prosecuting, said: ‘He believed that other cadets would be in attendance but in fact he was the only cadet present and the defendant was the only instructor.
He noted Tallon’s actions were in ‘contravention of safeguarding policies’ in which he had been trained.
Mr Birrell said the boy thought it was unusual but was ‘content to remain because he trusted the defendant’.
After completing the work, in the words of the victim Tallon became ‘touchy-feely’ in a store room.
Mr Birrell said: ‘The defendant pinned the boy against a wall and twisted his nipples. That was over clothing.’
He said this lasted ‘a few minutes’ and the boy felt ‘weird’ and ‘uncomfortable’ but Tallon said: ‘You have a nipple-on.’
The pair then went into a locker room, where Tallon said: ‘You like to be tickled don’t you?’
The victim replied ‘not really’ but Tallon ‘pinned’ the boy over a desk, leaned over him and began tickling his sides.
Tallon knew the victim suffered bullying and he invited him to the base one Saturday afternoon, Liverpool Crown Court (pictured) heard
The cadet fell to the floor but Tallon continued tickling him, held his face close to the child’s and repeatedly said: ‘What’s up?’
Mr Birrell said: ‘The victim felt scared. He told the defendant to stop several times.’
The court heard Tallon ‘eventually stopped’, then asked the boy for his phone and deleted his earlier texts.
The child said he was going to a shop and Tallon bought him a sandwich, before offering a lift in a taxi but the boy declined and walked home.
That night Tallon sent further texts and asked: ‘What would you have done if I had kissed you?’
The child replied ‘I wouldn’t have been happy about it, put it that way’ but Tallon said: ‘Being completely honest with you, if you were older I would try and take you to bed.’
He added ‘don’t say that’ and the boy replied ‘I won’t’ but the next day the victim confided in a friend, who encouraged him to report it and the police were informed.
Tallon was arrested at his home and in a police interview admitted touching the child but denied any sexual motive.
Mr Birrell said: ‘He claimed it was banter and no more than that. I note from the pre-sentence report he appears to maintain that account.’
In a victim statement the boy said he had been frightened and was concerned about seeing Tallon in the future.
Tallon, who has no previous convictions, indicated a not guilty plea before magistrates but later admitted sexual activity with a child.
Fiona McNeill, defending, said his guilty plea reflected ‘remorse’ and he now accepted his behaviour was inappropriate.
She said the case involved a breach of trust and while Tallon may not have realised that at the time, ‘he certainly does now recognise in the cold light of day the way this offence took place and the way that it would look to anybody looking from outside’.
The army cadet sergeant deleted messages off the boys phone before he left but later messaged him again before the boy confided in a friend who encouraged him to report it. Pictured: Liverpool Crown Court
Ms McNeill said: ‘The most noteworthy, perhaps the most troubling aspect of the pre-sentence report is the lack of a significant degree of insight into Mr Tallon’s behaviour.
‘But what I would say is his guilty plea, his expression of remorse and his understanding so as it is of his behaviour are all important steps along that path towards an understanding and acceptance of his difficulties and issues.’
Ms McNeill argued there was ‘a realistic prospect of rehabilitation’ and sending Tallon to prison would impact on his family, including his father, who was at court and ‘clearly very concerned’. She said the voluntary worker had lost his ‘good character’.
Ms McNeill said: ‘He also has health issues including problems with his spine for which he receives physiotherapy.
‘He has received counselling in the past for experiences of his own both as a child and as an adult, when serving in the Territorial Army in Iraq.’
Judge Andrew Menary, QC, told Tallon: ‘It’s clear to me you deliberately arranged a rendezvous with the victim on this day in order to be alone with him, in order to satisfy some sort of fantasy you had in your head.’
The judge said: ‘You took advantage of him. The assault was bad enough but it must be recognised that in terms of the actual activity that you were engaged in, it was limited in nature.’
He said the invitation was a ‘clear breach’ of safeguarding rules and after ‘squeezing’ the boy’s nipples, Tallon tickled him.
Judge Menary said: ‘You were very close to him physically and not surprisingly he has expressed in his statement feeling scared about what was happening, fearful of what might happen, and asked you repeatedly to stop. Eventually you did.
‘It’s clear, despite what you say in the pre-sentence report, that all of this activity was designed by you as being sexual.
‘Whether it was a precursor to something more than that will never be known.’
He said deleting the texts was ‘plainly designed to cover up what had happened’ but the ‘brave’ boy reported him.
The judge said there was ‘clear planning’, a ‘gross breach of trust’ and the victim was ‘particularly vulnerable’.
However, he told Tallon he had ‘significant mitigation’ including his guilty plea and ‘positive good character’.
Judge Menary said while it was ‘disappointing’ Tallon hadn’t been as ‘frank’ as he could with the Probation Service, he showed enough insight for an officer to conclude work could be done ‘to reduce the risk you pose particularly to young people, which must be of real benefit to the community’.
He said Tallon had come ‘perilously close’ to jail but ‘it’s possible society will be better served by me suspending any term of imprisonment to enable the Probation Service to work closely with you as part of a robust community sanction’.
Judge Menary said: ‘Others may regard this as a soft option, but when they consider the following matters they might reflect differently.
‘Firstly if I was to send you to prison today, it would only be a sentence measured in months, given the guidelines.
‘That would effectively mean your release after serving one half of that and there would be little or no constructive support for you back in the community.
‘Whereas if I impose a suspended sentence order, with as I say robust community requirements, then not only will it result in significant punishment for you, but also a real benefit in terms of preventing all this happening again in the future.’
The judge gave him nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with a 40-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and a four-month home curfew, from 7pm to 7am daily.
He made a five-year restraining order to protect the victim and told Tallon to sign on the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.