Mormon missionary jailed for child sex offences
But Joseph Shanks, 63 – who lived at the Church of Latter Day Saints missionary home in Chorley – didn’t realise the children’s mother he met online was really an uncover police officer.
And when the married father (pictured) turned up to rape his victims – who he thought were aged nine, six and three – he was arrested.
He has now been jailed for seven years after admitting ten sex charges.
Canterbury Crown Court heard how a police officer posed as “Sarah” a mother to three fictitious children, was contacted by Shanks.
Prosecutor Daniel Stevenson said: “Following conversations between ‘Sarah’ and Shanks it was clear from their conversation that the meeting was to facilitate him engaging in sexual activity with all three children.”
Shanks claimed he was in the army and volunteers for the church and rang from a mobile number.
But when that didn’t work - he called from a landline registered to the Mormon Church’s missionary training centre.
In November last year, the missionary worker left his wife in Lancashire and drove in his Hyundai Tucson 260 miles to the M23 Pease Pottage services, Kent, when he was arrested.
Shanks told police he was a member of the Mormon faith living in a Mormon community since 2016 and claimed he was doing “charitable work of god who would reward him with blessings as he tried to bring light into the lives of the three children.”