A mum accused of having sex with two teenage boys says the allegations have ‘destroyed her life’.
Caroline Lea, 36, was accused of luring a 15-year-old boy and his friend into her bedroom and allowing them to drink and take drugs in her Clifton Drive home.
She was found not guilty of all charges of sexual activity with the teenagers at her trial at Preston Crown Crown in January.
However, she was found guilty of allowing the teenagers to smoke cannabis in her house and was told by a judge that her lifestyle concerned the court.
But today she told The Gazette: “It’s completely destroyed my life. The case was the biggest farce I have ever seen in my life but I felt like the police just wanted to tick a box and say ‘case closed’.
“I lost everything. Social services took my children and I was only allowed to see them for a few hours a day under supervision.
“I had to appeal in court to get them back.
“I’m scared to leave the house. I feel like everybody is watching me when I pick up my children from school.”
The mum-of-three said she was ‘mortified’ when she heard in court how she allegedly coaxed the youngsters into sexual behaviour by leading them into her bedroom in her underwear.
She said: “I was so embarrassed. It was like listening to something out of Fifty Shades of Grey.
“It was every teenage boy’s stupid pornographic fantasy - it was outrageous.
“When they said ‘not guilty’ I just felt numb and I couldn’t make sense of anything.
“This case took over my whole life. My little son was in Year Six when this all started - now he’s in Year Eight.
“I’m having to rebuild my life completely; I don’t know where to start. I’m just wandering around in a daze.”
Trial judge Pamela Badley told her: “Your lifestyle clearly has a number of elements which are of concern to the court.”
The former civil service worker now says she regrets ever letting the boys into her home.
Lea, who declined to comment as to why she let the boys smoke drugs in her house, said: “I keep thinking about all the things I should have done to say no, to stop them.”
She added that the explicit stories, which also accused her of giving one of the teenagers amphetamines to keep him awake for sex, had ruined her reputation and the not guilty verdict had not stopped the rumours.
She said: “People online were saying that they knew I was guilty and that I’m going to get what’s coming to me.
“If I wasn’t as strong as I am I don’t think I could deal with it.
“My parents lived in Blackpool since 1980 and they had to move.”
Lea, who works as a full-time carer for her youngest son, who is deaf, now fears that her high-profile case will give legitimate victims of sexual abuse second thoughts about reporting it to the police.
She said: “It’s affected my children massively.
“My youngest son is disabled so I worry about him more because I can’t tell what he’s feeling.
“It’s just destroyed all of us.
“At the end of the day I’ve got to stay strong. I’m shattered but I’ve got to hold it all in for the boys and I can’t break down in front of them.
“At least I can cry my heart out to my parents.
“I’ve lost all my confidence in the authorities and it’s enough to make me want to pack up and leave town.”
Lea will be sentenced for the offence of permitting her premises to be used for the consumption of cannabis on February 25.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We respect the verdicts reached by the jury in this case and thank them for considering these matters so carefully.
“Whenever anyone takes the brave step to come forward to the police making serious allegations of a sexual nature it is absolutely right that we carry out a professional investigation.
“We worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and all of the evidence was subjected to careful scrutiny before a decision was taken to charge and to put this before a jury in the belief that there was sufficient evidence to justify a realistic prospect of conviction.
“The burden of proof in our system is quite rightly high and once again we thank the jury for giving this case their full consideration.
“Lancashire Constabulary remains committed to investigating allegations of this nature and we would encourage anyone who has been a victim of a sexual offence to come forward safe in the knowledge that they will be treated sensitively and professionally.”