BUSINESSMAN Stephen Read has claimed one of his alleged victims made up stories of sexual abuse because another boy forced him to fabricate the allegations.
Taking the witness stand at the beginning of the second week of his trial, Read, 58, from Bussage, told the jury at Gloucester Crown Court on Monday that he never sexually molested boys, showed them pornography or discussed sex with them.
“I am a normal heterosexual male and I have no interest in men and certainly not children,” he said as the defence began its case.
Read, former manager of Enviro Technology Services, denies 15 charges of sexual assault against four boys aged around 12 at the time over a 15 year period.
The alleged offences are said to have taken place on shooting, swimming and fishing trips the defendant undertook with the boys and in his car, the court heard last week.
But this week, in response to an examination by defence barrister Jane Rowley, Read said: “I never showed him (one of the alleged victims) pornography or touched him inappropriately.”
The defence barrister asked: “Then why did he say that you did?”
Read replied: “I think he was influenced by another boy, a more dominant character, into making up the allegations.”
When asked if ‘there was any truth’ in allegations that he touched boys inappropriately in changing cubicles when he took them swimming, Read replied: “There is no truth in that whatsoever.”
Ms Rowley then asked: “Did you discuss sex (with the boy) at any time?” to which Read replied: “Only if he asked and there was one occasion when he did ask me how often my wife and I had sex.
“I told him that was an inappropriate question and that he should not ask such a question.”
Read then denied that he had sexually touched one boy but agreed that the boy had viewed pornography on his computer, although he stressed that he never personally showed the boy any pornography.
“Did you get one of the boys to touch you inappropriately while in your car?” asked the barrister.
Read said he had not.
The court heard that Read ‘co-operated fully’ with police when he was arrested.“I told them where my office was and where my computer, phones and camera were,” he said.
“Nothing illegal was found.”
Read’s trial began last Monday, July 29 and is continuing.