A Hastings man faces trial over 17 alleged sexual offences against seven young girls, as well as blackmail, possessing indecent images of children, and possessing an offensive weapon.
Harry Leigh, 18, unemployed, of Mountbatten Close, Hastings, appeared in custody at Lewes Crown Court on Friday (13 April) charged with a total of 22 counts;
- two counts of rape of a 15-year-old girl at an address in Hastings in August 2017;
- one count of blackmail of a girl in 2017 to 2018;
- two counts of sexual assault, against two separate girls, 2014 and 2018;
- five counts of inciting five girls aged between 13 and 15 to engage in sexual activity, between 2015 and 2018;
- eight counts of causing four girls aged between 12 and 15 to watch a sexual act, between 2013 and 2018;
- three offences of making indecent images of children in January 2018;
- one offence of possessing a bladed article in February 2018.
He pleaded not guilty to all offences and was remanded in custody to appear for trial at Lewes Crown Court on 16 July.
No application was made for bail.
The charges, authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service, follow enquiries by Hastings-based Safeguarding detectives.
Detective Sergeant Steve Shimmons said; "Anyone who is affected by learning of this case can contact us via 101 quoting Operation Taverham, and can make arrangements to talk in confidence to experienced investigators who can help provide access to sources of support and counselling."
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