For many years Richard Stacey advised and sought justice for people in Bristol and beyond.
The specialist benefits adviser at St Paul’s Advice Centre took pride in laudable work representing the ignored and misunderstood and was studying to qualify as a solicitor.
But now his good reputation lies in tatters.
Because, in his own words, “some evil derailed him” when he sexually abused a youngster multiple times.
Stacey, 53, of Charles Road in Bristol, pleaded guilty to five charges of having sexual activity with a child.
The Recorder of Bristol His Honour Judge Peter Blair QC jailed him for three years and 10 months.
He told Stacey: “The harm you caused has been incalculable and well described by (the complainant) in her victim statement.
“You have found it uncomfortable reading and so you should.
“It has lasting consequences on people’s psychology.”
Stacey was handed an indefinite restraining order to keep away from his victim.
He was also given an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order designed to stop him reoffending, was told to register as a sex offender indefinitely and was barred from working with children.
David Sapiecha, prosecuting, told Bristol Crown Court Stacey kissed the teenager on her bare chest and touched her intimately on some four occasions.
He cited a fifth, earlier occasion when Stacey touched the girl under her clothes.
When the matters were reported Stacey told police there was no reason to excuse his “odious behaviour”, what he did was obviously wrong and he couldn’t fathom out why.
Mr Sapiecha told the court: “He said (the complainant) was not to blame for his actions.
“He said he didn’t know why some evil derailed him.”
The complainant made an impact statement in which she said: “I’ll have to deal with it every day for the rest of my life.”
Edward Hetherington, defending, said his client had worked in the benefits sector.
Mr Hetherington said: “Over the years many vulnerable people had their situations improved by his input in their lives.”
Mr Hetherington told the court his client had been training to be a solicitor.
He added: “For him, loss of good character means something more.
“It is the loss of a reputation hard earned over many years.”