Rapist made teen victim into a 'fraction of a man'

The victim of a man who raped him as a teenager has said he has been left a "fraction of the man" he could have been.

Sam Powers, 28, from Swindon, has been jailed for 20 years after he was found guilty of the rape of a child following a trial at Gloucester Crown Court.

The former teaching assistant had also admitted 44 counts of sexually abusing children.

In a statement read to the court during sentencing on Friday, his victim said: "Powers has destroyed me. I'm not a fraction of the man I could have been."

The court was told Powers had abused 17 victims who had been identified, but there may still be more.

Judge Rupert Lowe said Powers had "picked on vulnerable boys that he instinctively knew would be easy to manipulate".

If you have been affected by any of the details in this report you can find help and support at the BBC Action Line.

The court heard Powers had plied the teenager with alcohol before raping him.

The victim statement continued: "It's profoundly altered my life. Trauma has affected my mental health, anxiety and depression.

"All of my relationships suffered with trust issues.

"I knew what he'd done was wrong. I thought I was OK, but I am not."

'A calculated monster'

Following the sentencing another victim told the BBC that Powers was a "monster, extremely calculated and manipulative".

"[There was] not one drop of remorse from him at all," he said.

He had met Powers online and said that he had made him feel "appreciated by someone".

"He said some really despicable things and I went along with it because at the time, it made me feel less ugly," he said.

"He pushed the right buttons, said the right words, to get what he wanted."

He said he now felt a "sense of freedom and hope".

"He's in prison now, and while the things were abhorrent and inhuman it feels like the ball is in my court," he said.

"I hope the rest of the victims feel the same way I do."

'Violent sexual fantasies'

The court was told that Powers had also worked at a gym in the town.

The offences took place during a two year period, and included voyeuristic offences and internet based offences.

Powers had paid some victims for images and videos of them engaging in indecent sexual acts and would also secretly film in different locations.

One of his victims wrote in their statement that Powers had talked of "violent sexual fantasies".

He added that Powers had persuaded him to take and send images showing him engaging in sexual acts and explained how Powers kept these photos in a folder on his computer.

"I had implicit trust in him. I thought he had my best interest at heart. He did not and used his power and authority to abuse young people like me," the victim said.

"I hold an immense amount of guilt. I’ve had to undergo therapy to manage my feelings of guilt and shame."

Det Insp Gareth Kitchener, from Wiltshire Police,
Det Insp Gareth Kitchener said Powers was a "superficially charming man" [BBC]

Another victim statement read: “I fully trusted him and he betrayed that.

"I’m worried I’ll never be able to trust people again even when I know they were trying to help me. When I hear people talking about him it makes me so angry.”

A further victim told the court they had "heart palpitations" whenever Powers touched the top of his arm.

"Even now I get triggered or upset if someone says they can trust me - that's what he used to say to me."

Det Insp Gareth Kitchener, from Wiltshire Police, said Powers was a "superficially charming man".

As well as the 17 victims identified by name, Det Insp Kitchener said there were others that have not been identified.

"Mr Power's kept records of his offending and through that we were able to identify many of the children," he said.

"It may be that we never know exactly how many he offended against or who those victims are."

'Difficult and distressing'

Defence lawyer, Alexandra Bull, told the court that Powers has "frank acknowledgement that he has sexual interest in children".

"He has no issues at home, he had a good childhood. He had friends, wasn't bullied," she said.

"This offending relates to a sexual interest in children. Why is something we will not know."

Judge Lowe sentenced Power to 20 years in prison, four of which will be on licence. He was also made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 25 years and will not be able to work with children again.

Det Insp Kitchener said it is difficult to judge what the impact will be for the victims over the years and months to come and commended them for finding the courage to talk about "very difficult and distressing incidents".

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