A mental health social worker serving a prison sentence for sexually abusing a seven-year-old girl has been struck off the professional register.
Michael Pointon abused the child for two years, between the ages of seven and nine. He was found guilty at Canterbury Crown Court of five offences of indecent assault and one of gross indecency.
Pointon was sentenced in October 2010 to four years in prison and added to the sex offenders register after admitting the offences, which took place roughly 10 years ago.
The General Social Care Council held a hearing on 6 May to decide whether Pointon, of Broadstairs, Kent, should be allowed to continue practising as a social worker.
A conduct committee heard the girl, referred to as Child A for legal reasons, kept the abuse secret until she was 16, when she finally reported it to members of her family.
Pointon handed himself in to Margate Police Station in November 2009. However, while he made some limited admissions at that stage, it was only when the matter was listed for trial that he took full responsibility for his actions, the conduct committee heard.
“Up until that moment, Child A had been expecting to give evidence at the trial, with all the fear and trauma that accompanies the need to relive such ordeals in a public forum,” the committee said.
“This compounded the damage already done by the abuse itself.”
Pointon failed to submit any mitigating statements. The conduct committee took into account the fact that he did not have any previous disciplinary findings against him.
But the committee found the abuse would have caused “significant psychological damage to Child A, who trusted [Pointon]”.
Removing him from the register, the committee concluded Pointon’s behaviour was a “serious departure” from the professional standards expected of social workers.
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