Criccieth Family Church, Gwynedd

Criccieth Family Church, Gwynedd

Benjamin Thomas

 

Ben (Benjamin David) Thomas of Coed Onn Road, Flint, Flintshire was a BBC news reporter and presenter, who left the broadcaster in 2007.  While at the BBC he worked as a presenter on Ffeil, the Welsh language news programme for young people, and on Wales Today.   After leaving the BBC he became a church minister. He worked as a Church Minister at Criccieth Family Church in Gwynedd from 2008 until 2019.

The offences

The assaults included indecent assault against children and adults and voyeurism, which took place between 1990 and 2019.  He was charged with 40 offences.   The offences occurred in North Wales, Shropshire, London and Romania.

Court

Ben Thomas first appeared in Llandudno Magistrates Court on Friday 19 June 2020.   He then appeared at Mold Crown Court on 17 July 2020, when he admitted 40 charges, as follows.

  • 10 counts of sexual activity with a child
  • 8 counts of sexual assault
  • 4 counts of attempted sexual assault
  • 9 counts of sexual assault
  • 7 counts of voyeurism
  • 2 counts of making indecent videos of children

Men and boys were the victims.  He was bailed for sentencing on 18 August 2020.

The judge told Ben Thomas he will be given credit for his early guilty pleas but will face a “significant custodial sentence.”

Police statements

In November 2019, Detective Superintendent Gareth Evans said, “'The enquiry is both sensitive and complex and will take weeks to complete. 

'We have a team of specialist officers dedicated to the enquiry who are working with the safeguarding team from the church and our partners in Local Authorities.

'I would like to reassure our local communities that there are no ongoing risks you need to be worried about.'

On 19 June 2020 the North Wales Police said, “Further to our statement in November (2019) regarding an investigation linked to the Criccieth Family Church, North Wales Police can confirm that Ben Thomas, Pastor for the church appeared before Llandudno Magistrates Court today charged with 40 offences of a sexual nature.

'This is now an ongoing matter for the courts and it would be inappropriate to make any further comment.

'If anybody who has not already spoken to us feels they may have information of relevance to the enquiry please make contact using the following methods:

'Email OperationBlueQuartz@nthwales.pnn.police.uk or ring 101 and quote "Operation Blue Quartz".'

 

After the hearing on the 17 July 2020,  DC Lynne Willsher said: "Ben Thomas’ offending involved the serious sexual abuse of vulnerable young children by a religious leader. It is an awful breach of the trust placed in him by the victims and their families, and I cannot begin to imagine what impact the revelation of his offending has had on them.

"Today in court, Ben Thomas has admitted perpetrating 40 sexual offences. As a result of this, his victims have been spared the harrowing ordeal of a lengthy trial.

"North Wales Police are very grateful for the strength and courage shown by all victims and their families; this has greatly assisted our investigation to ensure justice has been done today.

"I am also grateful to the Evangelical Church and their safeguarding team for their assistance during the investigation."

Sentencing

Ben Thomas was bailed for sentencing on the 18 August 2020. However, prior to that hearing he asked to be remanded in custody. His request was acceded to by the judge. The request from Mr Thomas came after his barrister had asked for the sentencing hearing to be adjourned due to unforeseen circumstances. He will now be sentenced on 29 September 2020.

Contact us in confidence today on 0333 123 9099, enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk, or through our online contact form.

If you have been the victim of abuse, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case. You will not need to provide any specific details of the assaults and are under no obligation to discuss the painful events. Our experienced abuse solicitors will ensure that you feel safe. We will deal with your enquiry with compassion and sensitivity.