Chatham, Kent, UK – A prolific sex offender has spent decades disguising himself as a woman, which allows him to get near to and grope female strangers in public spaces.
57-year-old Paul Reed has a record of nearly 40 offenses, many of them sex crimes, and was first slapped with a sexual offenses prevention order in 2007 upon his conviction for sexually abusing an underage girl.
The order initially barred Mr Reed from cross-dressing. Despite his regular violations of the order, the condition has since been relaxed so that Mr Reed can wear women’s clothing so long as he does not approach, communicate with or touch female strangers while doing so. Psychiatrists concluded that “the wearing of women’s clothing is ingrained in Reed’s psyche,” such that his “emotional needs” require him to cross-dress, Judge Michael O’Sullivan found in 2012. Mr Reed is also forbidden from wearing any item of clothing that covers his face.
Over the years, Mr Reed has continually breached the order, wrapping his face with a scarf, and wearing a hat and thick fur coat to give the impression that he is a vulnerable elderly woman, suffering in the cold.
He has molested women on the bus or tube – stalking at least one from the tube station – chatted with underage girls, fondled women around shopping centers, and routinely lurked outside of a local hospital to capture the sympathetic attention of nurses. He uses pretexts to get victims who engage him in conversation to huddle close to him so that he can stroke and fondle them.
Starting in 2009, Mr Reed served three years in prison for luring into his car a 14-year-old girl who believed him to be an older woman. Following his 2012 release, he was quickly hauled before a judge for his 15th breach of the order.
“Periods in custody and the registration requirements of the sexual offences act have made absolutely no difference. The question is whether or not we break the cycle,” Mr Reed’s 2012 defense counsel Tim Brown said, requesting a program for medium and high-risk sex offenders. Judge Jane Sullivan agreed, and imposed a two-year community order calling for 34 counseling sessions and a supervised 50-day rehabilitation activity requirement.
Mr Reed’s criminal behavior has persisted. In April 2019, he pleaded guilty to two sex assaults, which occurred in November and December 2018, and nine additional breaches of the sexual offenses prevention order.
“Mr Reed has had an element of transvestism since childhood, his first memory being when he was 11. He desires to wear women’s clothes. He now accepts he is a transvestite and regards women as the gentler sex,” current defense attorney Kerry Moore argued before the court, insisting Mr Reed’s non-consensual groping of women’s bodies is comfort-driven, rather than sexual in intent.
A psychiatric evaluation previously determined that Mr Reed’s “obsessive” behavior is triggered by a complex about his height. Mr Reed, who stands 5 feet tall, feels uncomfortable around other men, as they mock him about his stature. He claims to find solace in groping women.
Featured image credit: SWNS
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