01 Feb 2011

Charity Chief Exec dismissed

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Former chief executive Chris Hedges had been jailed for sex with 14-year-old girl

THE MAN at the helm of a Hampshire charity for four years was a convicted child sex offender, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Trustees of Open Sight were unaware that Chris Hedges had been jailed after admitting five cha-rges of having unlawful sex with a 14-year-old girl.

They didn’t carry out a criminal records check when they recruited him because the job didn’t involve him coming into contact with young people.

However, the Daily Echo has discovered that his role changed over time and he ended up dealing with vulnerable youngsters, even though he had been banned for life from working with children.

Hedges’ sick past only came to light after he was dismissed from his chief executive post for alleged bullying. Trustees told the Daily Echo that he would never have been offered the job if they had known about his convictions.

None of the current board of trustees of Open Sight, which supports thousands of people with sight loss across Hampshire, were in place when Hedges was appointed more than four years ago.

But a spokesman for the charity, which has bases in Eastleigh and Bishopstoke, confirmed Hedges had never made anyone aware of his previous conviction, or the fact that he is on the sex offenders’ register.


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