A paramedic who was caught trying to meet a 14-year-old boy in Sunderland after engaging in ‘explicit sexual conversations’ and sending an ‘inappropriate photograph’ has been struck off.
Two years ago, Kevin Peel started speaking to who he thought was a 14-year-old boy called ‘Ryan’ through a dating app.
Mr Peel, who was then working for North East Ambulance Service, arranged to meet ‘Ryan’ at Sunderland Ski Slope but was instead confronted by the Guardians of the North group, which had create a fake profile.
The Conduct and Competence Committee made the decision that Mr Peel would be struck off the Health and Care Professions Council register at a final hearing last month.
The findings report published on the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service said conversations between Mr Peel and ‘Ryan’ began three days prior to the meeting taking place.
It was during the first conversation that ‘Ryan’ told Mr Peel he was 14-years-old and indicated that he was new to this and had never done anything like it before.
A day later Mr Peel engaged in sexually explicit conversation with ‘Ryan’ and sent a picture of him on the bed in just his boxer shorts and invited him to his house, states the report.
‘Ryan’ agreed to meet Mr Peel at Sunderland Ski Slope but he was instead confronted by the Guardians of the North, who called police and Mr Peel was arrested on September 6, 2016.
The following day he informed North East Ambulance Service and he was suspended from his duties.
Both the ambulance service and the police referred the matter to the Health and Care Professions Council, followed by Mr Peel’s self-referral.
Subsequently the CPS decided that no further action should be taken in the criminal courts.
The report said: “Taking all of the circumstances into account, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s actions in attending the location to meet Ryan were sexually motivated.
“The Panel regarded the Registrant’s assertion that he attended the location with the intention of providing guidance and counselling to Ryan as being not credible and totally inconsistent with his previous actions of engaging in sexually explicit conversations with Ryan whom he had been told twice was a 14 year old boy.”
The panel considered that Mr Peel’s “insight and remorse was limited”.
The report added: “The Panel acknowledged that the Registrant was embarrassed and sorry that he had walked into a trap set by a vigilante group. However, the Panel considered that the Registrant’s embarrassment and remorse was focussed on the effects on him, his family and the loss of his job, rather than a meaningful understanding as to the seriousness of his actions in enticing what he thought was a 14 year old boy into sexual activity.”
The panel was in no doubt that the conduct of Mr Peel would be regarded as “deplorable” and the report said the panel was not satisfied that the misconduct was unlikely to be repeated.
The report added: “The Panel considered as aggravating features the fact that the Registrant persisted in his contact with a person whom he was told was a 14 year old boy.
“This contact included sending a highly inappropriate photograph of himself and engaging in explicit conversations of a sexual nature. He also told Ryan that he was a Paramedic.
“The Registrant also persisted in denying that his going to meet the 14 year old boy was sexually motivated when it obviously was. The Panel also considered that the lack of any meaningful insight into his misconduct is also an aggravating feature.”
It concluded: “The allegations found proved establish that the Registrant whilst a registered Paramedic, chose to undertake a course of conduct in which he persisted in seeking to engage a person who, as far as he knew, was a 14 year old boy in sexual activity. His conduct went far beyond mere banter or simple contact. It involved explicit sexual conversations, an inappropriate photograph, inviting the boy to his house, arranging a meeting and actually attending that arranged meeting.
“The Panel considered that reasonable members of the public would be appalled if the Registrant was allowed to remain on the Register. The Panel concluded that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction in the circumstances is a striking off order. In the Panel’s view, any other sanction would undermine confidence in the profession and the regulatory process.”
A North East Ambulance Service spokesperson said, “Allegations regarding this former employee came to our attention and we took appropriate disciplinary action, following an investigation, which is in line with our internal procedures. The matter was also referred to the professional bodies, HCPC and NMC.
“Whilst the allegations concerned did not affect any of our patients, the safety and welfare of our patients must always be our priority.”