Referee admits sex offences against teen
A FOOTBALL league referee who took charge of matches in Suffolk is today facing jail after admitting two sex offences against a 14-year-old boy.Teacher Gary Lewis, 33, twice emailed sexually explicit images to the teenager, magistrates in Ely, Cambridgeshire, heard.
A FOOTBALL league referee who took charge of matches in Suffolk is today facing jail after admitting two sex offences against a 14-year-old boy.
Teacher Gary Lewis, 33, twice emailed sexually explicit images to the teenager, magistrates in Ely, Cambridgeshire, heard.
Lewis, of Haddenham, Cambs, has been on the Football League referees' list for three years and can officiate at Championship, League One and League Two games.
He appeared at Portman Road as an assistant referee during a number of Ipswich Town games, according to Suffolk referee assessor Kelvin Morton, and also refereed FA Cup and FA Trophy semi-professional games elsewhere in the county.
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He is due to be sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on a date to be fixed.
The Football Association said Lewis had been suspended from officiating at matches involving players aged under 16, pending an inquiry, but could continue refereeing adult games.
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Magistrates were told Lewis had taught at two secondary schools in Cambridgeshire.
Solicitor Adam Haselhurst, for Lewis, said the teacher had resigned from his post and would not teach again.
The Football League website said Lewis began refereeing in 1988, became a Football League assistant referee in 2000 and joined the league referee's list in 2004.
He refereed the 2004 LDV Vans Southern Final between Colchester United and Southend United and has officiated at many games involving lower league teams.
Prosecutor Angela Sassoli told magistrates Lewis exchanged MSN internet messages with the boys over a number of weeks this summer.
It was during that exchange of messages that the indecent images were sent.
Lewis admitted gaining “sexual gratification” by sending the images to the youngsters, Mrs Sassoli said.
Lewis admitted two offences of sending an image of a person engaging in sexual activity to the boy.
Mrs Sassoli said the maximum penalty for each offence was a ten-year prison term.
Mr Haselhurst told the court Lewis would never teach again.
He said: “His career as far as teaching is concerned is at an end. He will never be able to teach again.”