A reality TV star turned convicted sex offender has been told he could face prison after he was found guilty of exposing himself in view of a 12-year-old girl.
Jeffrey Anderson (31) stood trial at Belfast Crown Court on a charge of ‘committing an act of lewd, obscene and disgusting nature and outraging public decency”.
He was accused of performing a sex act while sitting in a parked car in view of the public in June 2018.
A reporting restriction meant the media was banned from covering the case until a verdict was reached.
The trial started on Monday and concluded yesterday when the jury returned a ‘guilty’ verdict after deliberating for just over two hours.
The panel of eight men and four womenrejected Anderson’s claim that he wasn’t performing a sex act in his mother’s sports car but simply strumming his miniature guitar.
Following the unanimous verdict, Judge Neil Rafferty QC told Anderson he will be sentenced on December 3.
Anderson, from Crawfordsburn Road in Newtownards, was released on bail ahead of sentencing, but the judge warned: “I will be thinking about a custodial sentence as a disposal in this case.”
The 12-year-old girl raised the alarm after she witnessed a man performing a sex act in a blue BMW Z4 parked on St Jude’s Parade in south Belfast on June 20, 2018.
The schoolgirl, now 16, gave evidence at the trial on Tuesday.
She recalled how she was in the area after school and was walking with friends when she saw a man performing a sex act in a parked car.
The teenager said: “It was a really fancy sports car and as I walked past it a man just caught my eye.
“His seat was completely rolled back and I could see his bottom half, which was naked.”
She described in detail what she had seen.
The young witness said the incident made her feel “worried and uncomfortable”, and that after leaving her friends at a bus stop, she went home and told her mum what she had seen.
Her mother then drove to St Jude’s Parade and took a picture of the BMW which was still parked in the area.
Police were informed, images of the car’s registration were passed on and Anderson was questioned by police the following day and again in September 2018. Anderson made the case to both police and the jury that the schoolgirl was mistaken and that he wasn’t engaging in a sex act but playing his guitar.
Under cross-examination by a barrister representing Anderson, it was suggested to the schoolgirl that she had “put two and two together and come up with six”.
It was also suggested by the defence that she had “jumped to conclusions” about what she saw.
The teenager rejected this suggestion and said: “I know what I saw and I saw the lower half of his body.”
She said she had seen him behaving indecently, adding: “I am not making this up in my mind. I most definitely saw what I saw.”
Anderson found fame on TV talent shows The Voice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Superstar, and gained the nicknamed ‘Baby Jesus’ while touring as an understudy in the UK production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
When he was called to the witness box on Thursday, Anderson described himself as a “musician and writer” and said he always had a guitar with him.
Just before Anderson gave evidence, the jury was told he had previous convictions for voyeurism.
This, the Crown argued, indicated Anderson “had a tendency to engage in criminal acts for his own sexual gratification”.
He was handed a three-year suspended sentence last July after he admitted secretly recording 11 women over a period spanning 2005 to 2013.
When asked about this, Anderson said the offences occurred when he was immature, and they were “selfish mistakes”.
He told the court: “I was naive, and I made mistakes and I admitted my guilt for those charges. I certainly learned a lesson from that.
“I admitted my guilt, which was set in stone, but I’m not going to admit guilt for something like this, that I haven’t done.”
When asked about the June 2018, Anderson denied exposing himself and performing a sex act in the car.
Anderson claimed he parked on St Jude’s Parade that afternoon as he was hoping to meet a friend who was rehearsing for a production in the Lyric Theatre.
He said was wearing red shorts as he planned to go training, and when that didn’t happen he parked up and spoke to friends on his phone.
The Co Down man said he then got his guitar from the boot, smoked a cigarette then got back into the BMW where he started playing his miniature Baby Taylor guitar.
When asked about the girl’s claims that she saw him performing a sex act in the vehicle, Anderson branded this as a “genuine mistake”.
And when questioned about what she could have seen, Anderson said as he had long hair at the time, he had a hair bobble which he kept wrapped around the top of his thumb.
He said: “I believe the bobble around the thumb would have made the top of my thumb a redder colour and I believe that’s what could have been mistaken for (a private part).”
He added playing his guitar would have produced a “similar motion” to performing a sex act, but said: “The bottom line is that I know for a fact I was not exposed and I was not (engaging in a sex act) in my mother’s car on that day.”
This version was rejected by the jury, who convicted Anderson for the offence.