'Pillar of the Taunton community' branded a paedophile escapes jail

This is The West Country: Michael Coy during his time as Sergeant at Mace. Michael Coy during his time as Sergeant at Mace.

THE reputation of a man widely seen as a pillar of the community is in tatters after a judge branded him a “paedophile and a criminal”.

Michael Coy, 65, of Wellsprings Road, Taunton, was told he should be ashamed of himself after admitting kissing and groping a 13-year-old girl in his tent during a youth camp he was leading.

His fall from grace was complete when he was given 12 months prison suspended for two years, 120 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay his victim £750 compensation when he appeared at Taunton Crown Court.

The court heard the married father-of-two had been a leader at the former Taunton Youth and Community Centre, Sergeant at Mace at Taunton Deane Council, a special constable and a school volunteer.

At the time of the attack over 25 years ago, Coy, who the court heard was “touchy feely” with children, and his victim were camping at Great Wood, on the Quantock Hills.

He took advantage to kiss and molest her after inviting her into his tent when she became cold and scared.

The girl screamed and called for help and Coy resigned from Somerset County Council following an inquiry.

But his past caught up with him when a mother of a child at a school where he was recently working as a volunteer recognised him and police were called in.

Defending, Rebecca Bradberry said Coy, who told his probation officer “it was my caring nature that got me into this mess”, denied he was sexually attracted to girls.

The court was told he has no previous convictions and fully appreciates the seriousness and consequences of his actions.

Judge David Ticehurst, referring to Coy’s apparent “distinguished life” said: “All the time you hid this dark secret that you are a child molester, a paedophile.

“You visited your own sexual desires upon this young girl when you were in a position of trust.

“Now people will know you for what you are.

“You should be thoroughly ashamed of your conduct – it was entirely inappropriate, wrong and criminal. That’s what you are – a criminal.

“People who formerly may have looked up to you or thought highly of you will now know the reality of who and what you are.”

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