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Paedophile Brit teacher who fled to Spain may have abused 36 kids as young as four – World News

A British teacher arrested after emigrating with a new identity may have sexually abused 36 children as young as four in a new string of horrific suspected crimes, according to Spanish police.

Convicted sex offender Ben Lewis is suspected of abusing dozens of children and using hidden paedophile forums on dark web browser to publish videos he made.

He moved to Spain with a new UK passport issued in the name of Ben David less than four months after he was given a two-year suspended prison sentence in Britain.

He was spared prison in June 2016 having admitted making an indecent film of a nine-year-old girl after telling St Albans Crown Court he wanted to get married and have children.

Last month it emerged in Spain that the 31-year-old was languishing in prison near Madrid awaiting trial after being suspected of reoffending while working as a baby sitter and school teacher.

Police and prosecution sources said at the time he was being held on suspicion of possession and distribution of child abuse images.



Children as young as four were abuse, according to Spanish police

In a new development Spanish police said today he is suspected of sexually abused children in his care.

Spain’s National Police said in their first official statement on the case, in which they did not name the convicted Brit paedophile: “National Police have arrested in Madrid a dangerous child sexual predator who allegedly used his position as a teacher in a school in the Spanish capital to abuse children.

“Thirty-six victims have been identified, all girls aged between four and eight.

“The arrested man, who is British, also worked occasionally as a baby-sitter and used hidden paedophile forums on the TOR dark web browser to publish the material he generated himself and obtain images generated by other people.”

Revealing the original tip-off that led to his arrest came from police in Australia, a National Police spokesman added: “The police investigation began in 2020 thanks to co-operation from other specialists dedicated to the fight against child sexual exploitation on the Internet and the identification of victims.

“In this case it was police in Queensland in Australia who detected the commission of a crime of distribution of (child sex abuse images) on the dark web and suspected the author could be in Spain.

“After receipt of the material, composed of numerous photographs and videos which showed different youngsters being sexually abused, National Police began the arduous task of identifying the places where the material could have been generated.

“Officers reached the conclusion that the one of the places where a large part of the paedophile material could have been recorded could be an education centre in Madrid, as the victims appeared to be female pupils of a primary school.”

A well-placed source added: “Initially the suspect was held on suspicion of possession and distribution of (child sex abuse images) but after further analysis of the images, detectives reached the conclusion there was alleged sexual abuse of the children.”

The arrest occurred on June 24 last year but the disturbing details about the way Ben David, as he is now known, was able to fool trusting employers in Spain into believing he had a clean criminal record have only now been fully detailed by officers in Madrid.

He also advertised as a children’s party organiser before moving to teaching jobs in Madrid after getting clearance to work with kids.

The official documents he used in Spain, including the passport issued in his new identity in October 2016 less than four months after his conviction following his St Albans Court guilty plea, identified him as Ben David.

He signed off emails and made some job applications as Ben David Rose and told other people he came into contact with that he was just plain Ben Rose.

He is also believed to have an Israeli passport.

Spanish police said they began investigating teachers at the school where a lot of the paedophile material was generated to try to discover if any were hiding their true identities after an initial criminal records check drew a blank.

The school has not been named but is believed to be in Madrid.

The Spanish National police spokesman said: “Detectives finally managed to isolate a British national who had changed his name and as officers suspected, had a criminal record in the UK for child sex offences and had been given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

“Experts had to use complex techniques to identify three of the minors who appeared in some of the images and videos.

“By this stage of the investigation the suspect’s home had been identified and a search warrant was obtained to search the property as part of an emergency operation to ensure his detention.

“The search proved complex from a technical point of view, because the suspect was using different encryption techniques which hindered access to the content of his electronic devices.”

Although Lewis is understood to have changed his name by deed poll and used his new identity to obtain police clearance in Madrid to work with children, Spanish police described many of the documents they seized from his home as “falsified.”

They said in a statement: “During the search, officers also discovered several falsified documents used by the detainee to enter Spain and gain employment as a teacher where he pretended to have a different name to his true identity.

“In Spain it’s obligatory for people who have regular contact with children, to present a certificate showing they have no sex convictions.

“This certificate, which had also been falsified, was found in the suspect’s home.

“The 36 victims, aged between four and eight, were identified following a careful and lengthy analysis of 10 electronic devices.

“Following the analysis police were able to link the suspect to the alleged commission of crimes of sexual abuse against minors.”

Ben Lewis, as he was known before he left the UK, was arrested by UK police in August 2015 after a worker at a summer camp he founded, LL Camps in Bushey, Hertfordshire, found naked photos of children as young as three on his iPhone.

Sandra Vicente told St Albans Crown Court she felt like her brain had been “polluted” after finding the sick images.

She was given the phone and entry PIN by the then-26-year-old to play music at a children’s party, but found the images in the deleted items after “getting nosey”, prompting her to go to police.

Officers who investigated the paedophile found a pair of child’s underwear next to his laptop as well as videos he had taken by pointing his camera up the skirt of a young girl.

Prosecutor Ann Evans said police found searches on one of his iPod Touches such as ‘Can a sex offender go to the USA?, ‘Accidental downloading child porn’ and ‘How do police search computers?’

He pleaded guilty to three counts of downloading indecent images of one of taking indecent images.

He was also ordered to register as a sex offender indefinitely.

The American-style summer camp he set up with a friend was closed down by Ofsted shortly after his arrest.

The Home Office said last month it was unable to comment on individual cases when asked about Lewis getting a new British passport as Ben David after changing his surname by deed poll.

The loophole sex offenders use to change their name and go under the radar of all authorities in a process that can take just 15 minutes online, has been flagged for many years by child protection groups like the Safeguarding Alliance.

Last summer the organisation discovered from 16 police forces which provided data that 913 sex offenders had gone missing.

A Freedom of Information request to the 43 police forces in England and Wales found there were 1,349 sex offenders who had notified the authorities they had changed their name by deed poll since committing their offences.

An online petition to end the loophole raised nearly 40,000 signatures.

Emily Konstantas, CEO of the Safeguarding Alliance, has said: “It doesn’t surprise me if this man has changed his name and gone abroad with a new identity.

“As shocking as this is, it’s not new and it’s continue to happen unless the UK gets a grip on their sex offenders. Our failure, a UK failure, is putting the rest of the world at risk.

“There’s no internal flagging system in place for sex offenders who change their names. It’s reliant on the offenders volunteering the information which obviously they’re unlikely to do.

“In other countries you can’t just sign a piece of paper and say you want to be called by a different name. It just doesn’t work like that.

“If checks were done using documents like peoples’ birth certificates more sex offenders who had changed their identities would be caught out.”

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