Council correct not to arrange prostitutes for man with learning disabilities, judge

A judge has said social services bosses should not facilitate access to prostitutes for a man with learning difficulties who has a “high sex drive”.

The man had become fascinated with “female sex workers” about a decade ago after developing a relationship with a prostitute, Mr Justice Keehan heard.

He is now in supported accommodation and in the care of Lincolnshire County Council.

Bosses had asked for a ruling on what was in his “best interests” with regard to “contact with sex workers”.

They said they did not intend to facilitate access to prostitutes, either in Britain or in a country where payment for sexual services was legal, and Mr Justice Keehan said that was the right decision.

The judge, who is based in London, analysed the case at a hearing in the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who lack the capacity to make decisions are considered, and has outlined his conclusions in a written ruling published online.

Mr Justice Keehan did not identify the man, who in his 50s, but named Lincolnshire County Council as the local authority with responsibility for his welfare.

The man had said he had a “high sex drive” and found the “lack of access to sex workers” frustrating.

He said “self-pleasuring” was “not the same as having physical contact with a woman”.

Mr Justice Keehan said he accepted that the man would be disappointed by his decision.

“I have due regard to (the man’s) wishes and desires,” said the judge, who also hears cases in the Family Division of the High Court.

“But I have come to the clear conclusion that the local authority have adopted the right decision and approach, in not seeking to facilitate his contact with sex workers either here or abroad.”

He added: “I consider it would be wholly contrary to public policy for this court and for this local authority, to endorse and sanction (him) having sexual relations with a woman for payment.”

The judge said the man would also be at risk of damaging his health and being exploited – risks he did not understand – and social services staff might be in danger of prosecution.

“I entirely accept that (the man) will be, to put it mildly, disappointed by and he will undoubtedly not agree with my decision,” said Mr Justice Keehan.

“Nevertheless, I am satisfied that the conclusions I have reached are in his best interests.”

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