Former government apprenticeship adviser Doug Richard has today been cleared of child sex charges after a week-long trial at the Old Bailey in London.
The 57-year-old American multimillionaire, whose 2012 Richard Review of Apprenticeships led to ongoing reforms, had been accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl after meeting her via a ‘sugar daddy’ website, as reported by FE Week earlier this week.
Mr Richard told jurors that at the time he believed she was an experienced 17-year-old and insisted he would never “knowingly” have sex with a child.
“I feel terrible. I feel terrible for her and I feel terrible about myself. I feel terrible for my wife and children,” he said in court.
A jury of eight women and four men deliberated for four hours and 15 minutes before finding Mr Richard, of Islington, north London, not guilty of three counts of sexual activity with a child, one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and a charge of paying for sexual services.
The Richard Review of Apprenticeships, which recommended giving employers control over apprenticeship funding, has continued to impact on the FE sector since its publication in 2012.
As well as apprenticeships, he worked closely with the government as a member of the Small Business Task Force, which advised Chancellor George Osborne and Prime Minister David Cameron.
Copy and image credit: Press Association