A former BBC presenter and church pastor has admitted to some 40 sex offence charges, including many related to children. Ben Thomas, 44, was accused of crimes including sexual activity with a child, sexual assaults, voyeurism and making indecent videos of children.
Thomas was bailed at Mold crown court ahead of a sentencing hearing slated for 18th August. Judge Niclas Parry told the former presenter: "The inevitable sentence is a significant custodial sentence." Thomas was a staff member at Criccieth family church in Gwynedd, Wales. His offences span from 1990 to last year in Wales, Shropshire, London, and Romania.
DC Lynne Willsher said that the case "involved the serious sexual abuse of vulnerable young children by a religious leader."
She added: "It is an awful breach of the trust placed in him by the victims and their families, and I cannot begin to imagine what impact the revelation of his offending has had on them.
"Today in court, Ben Thomas has admitted perpetrating 40 sexual offences. As a result of this, his victims have been spared the harrowing ordeal of a lengthy trial.
"North Wales Police are very grateful for the strength and courage shown by all victims and their families; this has greatly assisted our investigation to ensure justice has been done today.
"I am also grateful to the Evangelical Church and their safeguarding team for their assistance during the investigation."
Thomas worked as a reporter and presenter on Ffeil, the Welsh language news programme for young people, and on Wales Today. He left the BBC in 2005 to go and preach on the streets of London. Thomas returned to Wales in 2008 as pastor of the Criccieth Family Church, before leaving last year.
Criccieth Family Church said Thomas' arrest had come as a "complete shock to the church, the community in Criccieth and beyond".
They added: "Ben came highly recommended to this church and his safeguarding checks were satisfactorily completed during his time with us. We are now devastated by the revelation of such sin and grieve over the pain caused to the innocent victims, the betrayal and deception.
"Ben's resignation was offered and accepted immediately after his arrest but as a church we had little information. We are committed where possible, to being open and transparent with our partners and the wider community but have had to respect that the authorities have been conducting a serious and sensitive investigation.
"The church has been thankful for the concern and understanding we have been shown by our neighbours in Criccieth, who themselves are struggling with their own understandable sense of grief, confusion or even anger at the crimes and deception.
"Foremost in our prayers now are the victims and their families. We are also seeking to support the wider church family and partners as we all come to terms with this news."
The NSPCC called Thomas' crimes "horrendous" and said it was vital that his victims receive "ongoing support".
A spokeswoman for the children's organisation said: "Thomas has admitted to committing a wave of sexual offences over a long period of time and it is right that he now faces the consequences of his actions.
"It is crucial that anyone who has been abused feels safe to report what has happened to them, no matter how long ago the offence took place, in the knowledge that they will be listened to."