Paedophile rugby coach, 25, avoids jail after grooming schoolgirls

Paedophile rugby coach, 25, avoids jail after grooming two schoolgirls, aged 13 and 14, and asking them for sex after training sessions

  • James Dowle sent sexually explicit messages to two teenage girls he coached
  • The 25-year-old said his sex life was poor and told the girls the size of his penis
  • Dowle admitted six counts of sexual communication with the two girls and was jailed for 38 weeks, suspended for two years. He must also pay a £500 fine

A shamed rugby coach was caught asking young players in his schoolgirl team for sex after training sessions.

James Dowle, 25, groomed two underage girls with sex chats after coaching the under-15 and under-18 female teams. 

Claire Pickthall, prosecuting, said: ‘Both victims were members of a rugby team and Dowle was the coach.

‘His messages to the 13-year-old victim were discovered in 2017 when her mother confiscated her mobile phone.

‘She became aware of sexual messages between Dowle and her daughter which started on Facebook messenger. It was classic grooming behaviour.

Shamed rugby coach James Dowle was caught asking young players in his team for sex

‘Dowle would ask the teenager what pictures she had on Instagram. He told her that he had pictures of himself in his feed.

‘He asked her what she had done in a sexual sense. He told her: ‘We should get it on’.’

The court heard messages were sent over Christmas Day 2018 and into the early hours of Boxing Day where Dowle told his victim that he was ‘craving a blowjob’ and told her the size of his penis.

The victim’s terrified mother contacted the police after discovering the messages and Dowle was arrested the following day.

Cardiff Crown Court heard the coach, from Nelson, south Wales was also fired from his role when the allegations came to light and an investigation was launched.

A second teenage victim was soon identified when a concerned mother came forward.

Miss Pickthall said: ‘The 14-year-old victim began texting Dowle during a disagreement with her mother.

‘The mother told her she was not to contact Dowle even if it was just about rugby.

‘She later confessed to her mother that there had been an exchange of sexual messages and that she had ‘done stuff’.’

The court heard the messages started innocently but ‘quickly turned to sexual matters’.

Miss Pickthall added: ‘The messages made reference to fingering and asked if she was a virgin. He then asked if she wanted sex.

‘He told her that his sex life with his partner was poor and told her the size of his penis.’

The 25-year-old Dowle admitted six counts of sexual communication with the two girls

Dowle was arrested in January 2019 and accepted sending messages to both his young victims.

In a statement read to the court, one victim said: ‘This situation has affected me in many ways.

‘I am anxious and cautious around older males and don’t feel comfortable around them.

‘The truth is, I didn’t see it coming. I was molested by someone I trusted.’

Dowle admitted six counts of sexual communication with the two girls aged 13 and 14.

Andrew Davies, defending, said: ‘To a certain degree there does seem to have been some immaturity by the defendant.

‘He is a young man with potential. He is a young man who always sought to work on a sports field.

‘He has ruined his life and he accepts that that that is his own fault.’

Dowle was jailed for 38 weeks, suspended for two years.

Judge Rhys Rowlands said: ‘As a grown man, you behaved in a wholly inappropriate way with two young girls.

‘You came to know them at their local rugby club where you were one of the coaches.

‘As such your behaviour clearly involved a breach of trust. It has had a profound impact on the girls and their families.

‘Young girls have enough to deal with without you using social media for your own sexual gratification.

‘You knew exactly what you were doing.’

Dowle must also pay a £500 fine and was made subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the next five years.

In a statement, the Welsh Rugby Union confirmed they ‘worked with police’ to bring Dowle to justice.

They said: ‘The Welsh Rugby Union has liaised with police as part of their investigation.

Dowle admitted six counts of sexual communication with the two girls at Cardiff Crown Court

‘James Dowle was issued with an interim suspension by the WRU safeguarding case management panel from rugby-related activities, and he remains suspended at this time.

‘The actions taken by the WRU were used in evidence to support the recent allegations against him.

‘The Welsh Rugby Union is committed to safeguarding children and adults at risk, and has a network of club safeguarding officers who work within the WRU safeguarding policy and procedures, to maintain a safe and positive rugby environment.’

Commenting on the case, an NSPCC Cymru spokeswoman said: ‘Dowle held a position of trust and should have been protecting the children in his care, instead of targeting girls online and taking an unhealthy interest in them.

‘This case highlights the urgent need for the UK Government to push forward with a mandatory ‘duty of care’ which requires companies to take reasonable steps to tackle harmful activity such as grooming on their sites, which we have been demanding through our Wild West Web campaign.’

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