Coach lured boys by sending them pics of a fictitious 16-year-old girl.
Andrew Cook will spend the next six years in jail after posing as a fictitious 16-year-old girl named Anna Jones to get boys to pose nude for him. Cook was a public school rowing coach in the UK, and has admitted to 37 sexual offenses against students ages 13 to 17. He also pleaded guilty to possessing 53 indecent images of children and has been placed on the sex offender registry. Cook will never again be allowed to work with minors.
The rowing coach, who worked at Hampton School, in London, targeted his victims over a period of nine years, according to prosecutors. Surrey Police’s Pedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) began looking into the matter back in April 2018 after school administrators reported what was happening.
Detective Inspector Martin Goodwin, who heads POLIT said, “Our work is unseen. Front line officers have a part to play in the neighborhood, and they are visible to people, but these unseen, invisible crimes [are the ones] the public don’t often see. Offenses are taking place behind closed doors and it is our job to track down the people who are responsible.” He added that “adults that will go into chat rooms and prey on vulnerable children to exchange images. We identify children who have shared images with that particular perpetrator and when we execute warrants or arrests we often find that by seizing all the electrical equipment there will have been multiple victims and chat logs where the offender has groomed and shared images, or even tried to meet them for sex.”
The POLIT team discovered Cook invited his victims to a game of ‘truth or dare’ online and asked them to trade nude photos. On one occasion, he pretended to be his female cousin while talking to a boy online who he sent topless photos to and asked for him to return the favor. Victims harbored deep feelings of shame and disgust when they found out what their coach was doing.
Judge Alexia Durran addressed Cook in court, saying, “You were in a position of trust to many of the teenage victims. They said you were someone they trusted, someone who helped them when they were bullied, someone who had betrayed their trust. Some feel it has impacted their academic studies.’
A spokesperson for Hampton School responded to the allegations, “We have been deeply saddened by this matter, which runs completely counter to the values of our school. The welfare of our pupils is always our highest priority. As soon as we became aware of concerns in spring term 2018, we immediately informed all relevant authorities. Mr Cook was suspended from the School and subsequently dismissed with immediate effect following an internal disciplinary investigation. Since then we have worked closely with Surrey Police and partner agencies to assist with their ongoing inquiries and provide all possible support, both to them and to the victims. We are grateful to all those who have helped bring this matter to justice, not least of course those whose courage in coming forward provided invaluable assistance to the investigation. We express our deep regret to those affected and offer our continued support.”