Cornwall mental health worker had sex with vulnerable client

A former mental health worker in Cornwall has had an ongoing sexual relationship with one of his vulnerable clients. Angus Froen, 42, had been a regular go-to to the victim’s apartment, and had a key in what was described as a massive breach of trust.

Frouin, of Budde, has appeared before Truro Crown Court to be found guilty of two counts of having sex with a mentally disturbed person by a care worker. The crimes took place about a decade ago, with the victim telling the police what happened some time later.

However, in what Judge Robert Linford called an “utterly scandalous delay”, he was charged only five and a half years later. The relationship continued for some time even after Froen quit his job.

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In the victim’s personal statement, the complainant said: “I was at my lowest point mentally, emotionally and physically when I was introduced to mental health services in Cornwall. I trusted them to support me and they seemed to be a caring and supportive team.”

“I feel stupid because I didn’t realize he was taking advantage and I blamed myself for years. Out of shame I started drinking more and he knew about my drinking problem. I drank too much and I couldn’t stop being sick and when I stopped drinking I had seizures and cardiac arrest that left me in coma for 12 days.

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“After I came out of the coma, I was able to start making my own decisions. He (Fruin) didn’t like that he wasn’t in control of me. It was hard on my family and it took a long time to tear down the high walls I was putting up to protect myself from my abusers. I walked to sleep, and I was Constantly anxious and in a state of panic day and night I had bouts of depression and freaked out when a guy showed interest in me.

“The case has gone on for too long. The past six years have been ruled by fear. I want this to end so I can start to repair the damage. I still see his face, hear his voice, and have vivid nightmares. It has taken away my dignity, my freedom, and my ability to trust others.”

Speaking on behalf of Frouin, who has no prior convictions, Pierce Norsworthy said the CPS delays could have been avoided and that the case hung on Frouin as well as the victim. He said: His mother is 86 years old and has dementia. He is her sole sponsor and does the cooking, cleaning and shopping.

“Before entering a guilty plea, he placed him in a nursing home on remand. If he retains his freedom she will be able to return to the family home.”

Norsworthy noted that had it not been for Frouin’s employment, a criminal offense would not have been committed. The reviewer described Frouin as a gentleman and a good man, and the court heard how sorry he was for the distress his actions had caused him.

In sentencing Froen, Judge Linford said: “The complainant was a user of the service and had been diagnosed with a number of conditions. A support team helped her and I was part of that support team.

“It was your duty to look after her and take care of her and not take advantage of her apparent weakness but you both began a sexual relationship. You visited her house and had a key to the property. There were a number of occasions where full intercourse took place. This was a grave breach of trust against a victim who had the right to feel safe.”

Judge Linford then calls the delays in investigating and prosecuting the case “extremely scandalous,” saying that the wait took a heavy toll on both the defendant and the plaintiff. Judge Linford then notes Frouin’s significant dilution, primarily his own issues, his regrets, glowing character references, his mother’s caring responsibilities and his lack of prior convictions.

Frouin was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years. Must complete a rehabilitation activity requirement and 180 hours of unpaid work. As a result of the convictions, Fruin must sign a sex offender registry.

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