Soaps

Ex-EastEnders actor spared jail after admitting sexual assaults against three teenage girls

Ex-EastEnders actor Joseph Shade has been sentenced today to an 18-month suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting three teenage girls between 14 and 17-years-old.

Shade, 24, played Ian Beale's son Peter between 1998 and 2004 before becoming a youth worker where he sexually assaulted three teenage girls.

Today, he was handed an 18-month sentence suspended for 24 months, a sexual harm prevention order for five years which means he will be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults during that time, and was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

WATCH: Ian Beale's first appearance on EastEnders back in 1985

He will also be made to sign the Sex Offenders Register, and will complete a 60-day offender programme.

Norwich Crown Court was told that Shade sent text messages to girls between the ages of 14 and 17 asking them to either have sex with him or send him photos of their breasts, and on another occasion touched one on the bottom.

Judge Maureen Bacon QC, sentencing Shade on Friday, told him: "You sought to engage vulnerable teenage girls in sexual activity when you were in a position of trust."

She also said that she had taken into account the fact that Shade was aged between 19 and 21 at the time of the offences which took place between 2012 and 2015, also considering his maturity level and also the fact that he has not offended since.

Shade smiled as he left the court (Credit: SWNS)

But prosecutor David Wilson told the court how he had received training on safeguarding boundaries when he started his job as a youth worker, saying: "The need for those boundaries is fairly obvious, as the young people there were vulnerable."

Whilst he previously denied the 11 counts of causing or inciting a child under 18 to engage in sexual activity while in a position of trust, he has now changed his plea.

He has now admitted five counts of the above, and also pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.

Shade is now 24-years-old (Credit: Facebook)

The offences took place between 2012 and 2015.

Chris Paxton, prosecuting, addressed Norwich Crown Court: "He himself attended that youth project as a young person and got help from them."

He continued: "As he reached the age of 18, he became formally employed as a youth worker and in this capacity as a youth worker he then engaged with many young people who came from similar backgrounds and vulnerabilities as he had."

Mr Paxton added: "During the course of his employment he accepts by his pleas that his relationships became too close to a number of attendees and he would engage with them by texting them messages asking them to have sex or to send sexual pictures of breasts and the like.

"On one occasion and only one occasion he touched one of them."

Here being carried by co-star Nigel Harman (Credit: SWNS & BBC/ EastEnders)

Shade originally denied 11 counts against four girls, but on the fourth day of the trial changed his plea and admitted six sexual offences against three girls, with the prosecution ordering that the other five remain on file.

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