United Kingdom

Nursery apprentice, 16, 'raped and sexually assaulted eight infants while at work', court hears 

Pictured: Jayden McCarthy is accused of sexually assaulting children while working at a nursery in Torquay in July 2019

A 16 year old nursery worker raped and sexually assaulted young children he was employed to look after, a court heard today.

The teenage nursery apprentice is accused of sexually assaulting eight children aged between two and four in a two-and-a-half week period in July 2019.

Jayden McCarthy, now aged 18 and can be named, was arrested after a little girl told her parents in graphic detail that he had performed a sex act on her.

Exeter Crown Court said a series of sex attacks were carried out by nursery staff member McCarthy who only started working at the nursery in Torquay in March 2019.

Prosecutor Jason Beal outlined the case and said: 'These assaults were of a varying degree ranging from touching the child over their clothing in their private areas and an instance of oral rape putting his penis into the mouth of a little girl.

'The assaults were not witnessed at the time.'

Mr Beal said they came to light when one of the victims went home at the end of July and told her mother what McCarthy had done to her.

The police were contacted and 250 hours of CCTV from the nursery were examined.

The prosecutor told the court thirteen incidents were identified.

Mr Beal said the defendant said that 'he may have touched them on occasions but that touching was not sexual and he derived no sexual pleasure from it.'

The jury heard he joined the family-run nursery in March 2019 and he produced references and was checked on the barring lists because of working with children.

McCarthy denies three counts of rape of a child and 13 counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 13 and the trial continues and is currently on trial at Exeter Crown Court (pictured)

He underwent further training and safeguarding issues and until the end of July there were no concerns about him.

Mr Beal said some of the staff said he was immature and he let the children throw around toys and climb all over him but they put his immaturity down to the fact he was only 16 years old.

But the incidents came to light when a three-year-old girl told her mother what had happened at the nursery one day when she returned home wearing different clothes to the ones she had worn earlier that day.

Mr Beal said the children did take a change of clothes because they could get wet playing in water and sand. 

After describing the alleged incident to her mother, the court heard the child then described the same incident to her father. 

They contacted the nursery and McCarthy was suspended and asked to leave while an investigation was launched.

A court heard McCarthy (pictured leaving court today) denied being sexually aroused by children under three and said he had not engaged in sexual acts when interviewed by police

Social services were contacted and the police were informed and the little girl told an officer the same details.

Special interviews were carried out with the child and the defence barrister in the trial asked her questions about anything that happened with Jayden that she did not like.

She replied it did described the same incident again, the court heard.

Prosecutors told the jury McCarthy was arrested and he agreed that he had changed the little girl that day in a toilet because he was not supposed to change a child in front of the CCTV cameras.

He said her clothes were wet but he did not need to change her underwear.

He said he struggled to put her dress back on and another staff member helped him but he denied exposing himself or sexually assaulting the child.

He was asked about guidelines when changing children and he said to 'try to keep your hands away from the bikini line and the bikini area'.

Mr Beal said police examined 250 hours of CCTV and 13 incidents were identified saying: 'The defendant was caught on CCTV sexually assaulting children on various days over a period of 10-29th July.

'There were eight children involved and they were aged between two and four.'

Mr Beal said McCarthy used sun tan cream to rub into the children in areas beneath their clothes which he said showed the real purpose of what he was doing.

He said he rubbed suntan cream into a little boy in a 'very cursory way' and there was a striking difference with little girls with his hand up their dress and touching their private areas.

The court heard he also placed their hands on his genitals.

Mr Beal said CCTV clips were a sample of what he was doing but he said: 'These are not isolated incidents.'

In a statement to police, McCarthy stayed silent apart from saying he had never touched a child sexually or for sexual gratification, and he denied being sexually aroused by children under the age of three and said he had not engaged in sexual acts.

He denies three rapes of a child and 13 counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 13.

His trial continues.

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