Former Cameron adviser charged with child sex offenses

Doug Richard. © Wikipedia
A former economic advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron, American businessman Doug Richard, has been charged with a string of child sex offenses after allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl.

Richard, 57, a BBC Dragons’ Den entrepreneur, was arrested in January. He has been accused of three counts of sexual activity with a teenage girl and one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. 

The married father of three denies the charges. In a statement, Richard said: “I absolutely deny the charges against me and I will contest this matter in court.”

Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Caroline Hughes said the service had “carefully considered the evidence gathered by City of London Police” about Richard’s case.

Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Douglas Richard to be charged with three counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The alleged offences occurred on 2 January 2015 and relate to one victim aged 13 at the time.

Richard is now charged with criminal [offenses] and has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.

Mr Richard will appear before City of London Magistrates’ Court on October 5.”

Speaking to the Daily Star, a Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “The charges follow the arrest of a then-56-year-old man on the 5 January on suspicion of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, sexual activity with a child, meeting a child following sexual grooming and rape of a girl under the age of consent.”

Richard founded School for Startups, an organization providing training and offering loans of up to £25,000 to budding entrepreneurs.

He was one of the original “Dragons” in the BBC’s “Dragon’s Den” television program, but left the show in 2005 after failing to make any investments in the second series.

The alleged sex abuser remains the only Dragon to not invest throughout a series.

Richard has worked closely with Prime Minister David Cameron over several years.

In 2008, he served as chairman of the Conservatives’ Small Business Task Force, advising Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne while they were in opposition.

The wealthy entrepreneur also went on an official government trip to Africa in 2011. 

He has received a number of government awards, including an honorary Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.