Former reality TV star Jeffrey Anderson jailed for exposing himself to 12-year old schoolgirl
In 2014, the 24-year-old Jeffrey Anderson stood under the spotlights as the BBC embarked on series three of it’s hit talent show The Voice UK.
Mentors Kylie Minogue, Tom Jones, Will I Am and Ricky Wilson might not have turned their chairs as he performed the Muse track Uprising, but he made an impression. The rugged rock star looks, the gritty rock star voice.
In fact, by the time he appeared on the show, the Newtownards singer had already had a taste of TV stardom.
Two years earlier, the plaudits were reeling in as Andrew Lloyd Webber searched for a singer to star in his musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
The 21-year-old Jeffrey, with his flowing dark hair, landed a spot in the live shows, making it through six stages of the competition. The nickname ‘Baby Jesus’ was christened.
Having taught himself to play guitar aged 11, his interest in rugby ended after a series of shoulder dislocations and he decided to concentrate on his singing.
Stepping onto stage in a student production of Les Miserables at Newtownabbey’s Theatre at the Mill in November 2010 gave him a taste for stage life, and by November 2011, he was at the Grand Opera House as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, going on to be first cover for the main role on the first UK arena tour of the musical.
The ITV show with Andrew Lloyd Webber seemed a natural progression and though not successful in the end, doors were opening in the industry.
He was, though, named best male singer in Ireland at the AIMS Awards in June 2012.
But all the time his musical career was developing, secrets were being locked behind other doors in his personal life.
By May 2016, those locks were staring to be unpicked. Anderson stood accused of child sex and voyeurism charges, with two further charges of indecently assaulting a female on a date unknown between August 1 2005 and March 31 2007 and another of indecently assaulting a second female on a date between April 1 and May 31 2006, withdrawn..
Fourteen charges remained, including theft, specifically stealing photographs in 2011, three counts of possessing an indecent image of a child in 2013 and ten counts of voyeurism on various dates between August 2005 and August 2013, alleging that for sexual gratification, he “recorded another doing a private act knowing that the other person did not consent to being recorded”.
In July 2020, Anderson, then 29, was handed a three-year sentence suspended for three years after admitting his guilt on the charges. In attendance at court, via video-link, were several of Anderson’s victims – some of whom were teenagers when they were secretly recorded by him. Some were recorded during private acts like going to the toilet.
As well as pleading guilty to the voyeurism charges spanning from 2005 to 2013, Anderson also admitted sexually assaulting a woman.
The court heard the charge, carried out between 1 January 2012 and 11 March 2012, was “against a backdrop where there was no consciousness or ability to participate”.
Anderson further admitted assaulting another woman, occasioning her actual bodily harm, on a date between 21 and 31 October 2015.
During sentencing, it emerged Anderson suffered a medical condition linked to erectile dysfunction in his younger years, and he claimed making and viewing the secret recordings helped him achieve arousal.
As well as being handed a three-year suspended sentence, Anderson was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years and was made the subject of a ten-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
But the offences kept on surfacing as the locks on those doors of a disturbing past kept on being flung open in court.
Now the singer has been convicted by jurors of being caught with his leather pants down, exposing himself in front of a 12-year-old girl in broad daylight in south Belfast back in June 2018.
From the moment the jury found him guilty, despite his claim he was ‘playing a mini guitar’ while sitting in his mother’s sports car and not performing a sex act, that three-year suspended sentence made jail time inevitable.
Anderson said the previous offences happened when he was immature, and that they were ‘selfish mistakes’.
“I was naive and I made mistakes and I admitted my guilt for those charges. I certainly learned a lesson from that,” he said in court.
“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.”
Mistakes have their consequences. The jury wasn’t swayed and a career in harsh glare of the showbiz spotlight painted completely to black. A rolling stone had gathered plenty of moss, a lot of it before the singer had even stepped into the limelight. Skeletons proved too numerous to remain locked in the closet and Anderson now has his crosses to bear.