Four Muslims admit to operating rape gang with girls as young as 13
Four men who exploited vulnerable girls for sexual gratification were caught when one of their victims saw a film warning how girls can be groomed without realising it is happening, a court heard.
Taiyab Hussain, Mohammed Hizar Rizwan, Shaheem Ratyal and Sohail Raja Ali, all from Burton, pleaded guilty to child sex offences in court last week, after their victims bravely came forward to their families and a police investigation was launched.
Police chiefs have now spoken out to praise their bravery and urge any victims to come forward to tell family members or police.
In May last year one of the men’s victims bravely confided in a family member. Soon after a second victim also came forward and reported offences to police.
Officers were told by four girls, who were just 13 and 14 years old at the time of the offences, that they had been sexually abused between December 2016 and March 2017.
The abuse first came to light after one of the girls watched a film that warned how girls can be groomed without realising it and she felt brave enough to tell her father. The men were subsequently arrested.
Hussain, 19, of Shobnall Street, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and two counts of possession of an indecent photograph of a child.
Rizwan, 18, of Derby Road, pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual activity with a child, one count of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Ratyal, 19, of Grange Street, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity with a child and five counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Ali, 19, of Weston Park Avenue, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.
All four men will be sentenced on April 16 at Stafford Crown Court.
Detective Inspector Simon Caton, the senior investigating officer for the investigation, from the force’s child sexual exploitation team, said: "These vulnerable girls found themselves in an impossible situation at the hands of these men who clearly acted together using coercion and intimidation to take advantage of them. They exploited the victims for sexual gratification.
"In this case I would like to pay tribute to the girls’ incredible bravery in coming forward initially and throughout this long and complex investigation.
"Tackling child sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, both current and non-recent remains an absolute priority for us.
"I would urge anyone who has been a victim of such crimes to come forward and report this to us, we will listen and you and your families will be supported by specially-trained detectives and social workers. If you are or have been a victim or you are worried about something, and you don’t feel ready to talk to the police, please speak to someone you trust."
John Wood, chairman of the Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board, said: "The primary concern of all the agencies involved in the investigation has been to safeguard the young girls making the allegations and ensure that they have been seen, heard and protected.
"In recent years there has been visible progress from safeguarding campaigns including 'Say no to Abuse' to make children and young people aware of the different ways in which they can be targeted. It is encouraging that this prosecution arose from one of the victims viewing a film which warned how girls can be groomed without realising it.
"I hope this sends out a strong message that child sexual abuse will not be tolerated in our communities and that people who report such matters will be listened to and supported.
"The safeguarding children board, working with a wide range of connected partners, will do everything that it reasonably can do in its joint efforts to prevent child sexual abuse."