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Former Volunteer Chief Petty Officer Convicted Of Numerous Child Abuse Offences

Phillip Grove – former volunteer Chief Petty Officer with the Sea Cadets convicted of numerous non-recent child abuse offences

Philip Grove was given a 22 year custodial sentence at Taunton Crown Court on 23 February. Grove was found guilty of two counts of rape, ten counts of indecency with the child and three counts of indecent assault.

The Court heard that Grove volunteered with the Sea Cadets in Somerset during the 1990s and that whilst a Chief Petty Officer, he raped one individual and sexually assaulted another. Grove also behaved indecently in front of two other victims. Grove’s offending came to light when one of his victims bravely reported her abuse in September 2020 and an investigation was commenced.

Grove refused to admit his guilt, subjecting those he had abused to the stress and anguish of a criminal trial and in particular, having to give evidence at court. A jury found Grove guilty of 15 of the 16 offences he was charged with on a unanimous basis.

In addition to his custodial sentence, Groves was made subject to a life-long Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will be a registered sex offender for life. He was further banned from working with children.

Judge Cullum, sentencing Grove, referred to him as a “dangerous individual” and stated that he was a “self-centred, dishonest and callous individual who has shown no remorse”.

One of Grove’s victims said, in her statement read out at Court,

“For almost 30 years, I have lived in constant shame. Shame which I have owned but it was never actually mine to own.

“The whole of my adult life has been overcast in shadow, which I have never been able to shake off… A part of me, who I am, was taken away from me by Phillip Grove.

“My days are plagued by the memories of what happened and the nights I manage to get sleep, I am haunted by nightmares of both the incidents and Phillip himself.”

The purpose of the cadets is to give children and young adults an idea of the armed forces and provide an opportunity to learn valuable life skills and build friendships with others. Unfortunately, some adults within this environment abuse their position of trust and subject young cadets to sexual abuse. We have often heard that perpetrators of abuse within this context will use fear, the threat of violence and intimidation to keep those that they have abused silent and stop them from disclosing their abuse.

Over the years there have been numerous reports of sexual abuse within Sea Cadets, Army Cadets and Air Cadets. Individuals who have experienced sexual abuse within the cadets may be able to bring a claim against the Ministry of Defence (the organisation responsible for the various cadet services) for the abuse that they have suffered and the impact of this abuse on their lives. This would be on the basis the Ministry of Defence is responsible for its adult staff (and volunteers) within the cadets and that the abuser used their position within the cadets to perpetrate that abuse.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse or assault within the cadets and would like to have a free, confidential discussion about your options, then Hodge Jones & Allen can help you.

Olivia Coffey, a senior associate in the Civil Liberties & Human Rights team, has many years’ experience in acting for victims of recent and non-recent abuse. She can be contacted directly by emailing or by calling 0808 296 7694

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