Former Scout leader, 32, 'sexually assaulted young boy at Beavers group and tennis club'
Jason Asthana denies abusing the young boy in after-school activities



20:56 GMT, 17 December 2012

A former Beaver leader and tennis coach appeared in court today accused of sexually assaulting a child during after-school activities.

Jason Asthana, 32, appeared at a Crown Court hearing held at Brighton Magistrates' Court accused of inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and two counts of sex assault on a child under 13.

He denies the charges which allegedly took place on one boy between August 2009 and August 2010.

Jason Asthana denies the allegations

Beaver leader Jason Asthana

Beaver leader Jason Asthana, 32, is accused of sexual offences against a child. He denies the charges

At the time the alleged offences took place, Asthana was working as a leader of the Beaver Scouts youth club and as a tennis coach in Sussex.

Prosecutor Henrietta Pager told the court Asthana was the local Beaver leader and said: 'This is a case about the sexual abuse of a little boy.'

She added: 'The first incident was at Beavers when everyone else had gone home.

'He told the child to take his pants down then took a photo of his private parts and told him not to tell anyone.

'The next time was at tennis club when the same thing happened again, although this time Mr Asthana took the boy's pants down.'

Miss Pager told the court that at Beavers he also put his hands down the child's underwear and touched him.

The court in Brighton where the trial of Jason Asthana is being held

The court in Brighton where the trial of Jason Asthana is being held

The child did not tell anyone about what had happened for two years until one day his mother noticed he was distressed and asked what was bothering him, the court heard.

The mother told the court she had taken her son out for a 'rare treat' of a McDonalds meal when he told her what had happened when he was in the Beavers the previous year.

Holding back the tears, she said: 'I got into the car and he was crying.

'I said “What's the matter” and he dropped a bombshell.

'He said “Jason Asthana put his hands down my pants and took a photograph of me”.

'He just came out with it. We hadn't seen Jason for a while.

'I didn't know how to deal with it at the time. He was upset and agitated.

'I wanted it to be untrue, I was trying to find a reason why he said it.'

She said her son told her: 'I hate Jason and I hate this world.'

She told the court she couldn't tell her husband what had happened for a few days as she didn't feel he would be able to cope.

The boy's mother told the court she eventually telephoned the school for help before reporting the crime to the police.

A video recording showing a police interview with the child was also shown to jurors in the court. In it the little boy said he felt 'weird', 'angry' and 'upset' after what had happened.

He said he did not go back to Beavers after the incident as he told his mother it was 'boring'.

The court heard Asthana did not answer questions in police interviews and denied the allegations.

The trial, being heard by Judge Paul Tain, is expected to last three to four days.