A fiddler from a top Fife folk band who sent sick sexual messages to young girls - including one with a picture of his genitals - has avoided a jail sentence.
Falkland music tutor Ewan Stark, who was thrown out of the Lomond Ceilidh Band when the allegations surfaced, was handed a two-year supervision order requiring him to carry out 255 hours of unpaid work and placed on the sex offenders’ register for two years when he appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court.
Stark (39), of Back Dykes Terrace, had previously admitted a charge of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour and four charges under the Sexual Offences Scotland Act.
The offences took place between May 2009 and September 2014 at addresses in Cupar, Ladybank, Stornoway and Glenrothes.
The court had heard how Stark was found out after his wife found a naked picture he had sent to a teenage girl on his phone.
She then shopped him to the police - which led to four other victims being found.
He had met his first three victims through his band. He taught his first victim from the age of 12 - and when she was 14 she began receiving “inappropriate, sexual” messages from him.
Fiscal depute Susan Ruta had told the court: “They said things such as ‘are you going to wear something skimpy’, ‘lying in bed thinking of you’, and ‘when you come for your lesson wear something skimpy’.
“She told her mother of the messages and stopped all contact, including her lessons. The second complainer was her best friend and received messages on Facebook.
Ms Ruta went on to say they had been getting lessons from another band member.
“The messages to her said things like ‘it’s hot, what are you wearing to bed’. Both girls felt uncomfortable with this.
“He met the third girl in Stornoway when the band were invited by a local group to be guest musicians with them. She was 16 at the time.
“That evening the accused messaged her on Facebook around midnight. She remembered he was very forward and they exchanged messages and text messages.
“She thought he was very flirty and said he wanted to ‘cuddle and have sex with her’.
“On New Year’s Eve 2012 she received a message from the accused which included an indecent photo.
“He asked her to respond with a naked photo of herself but refused.”
That picture was later found by Stark’s now ex-wife after rumours circulated their village about his conduct. She then reported it to police, sparking the investigation.
Miss Ruta added that Stark later worked at the Lomond Tavern in Falkland, where he met two further girls aged 14 and 15.
He sent them “sleazy” messages, including one that stated “do you want to spoon with me” and another stating: “I could climb in through your bedroom window at night for a cuddle.”
Further messages added “you are good looking and hot”, “would you tuck me in” and “you are a good girl, I don’t believe you haven’t spooned before”.
Passing sentence, Sheriff Michael Wood told Stark that he was concerned about the fact that a background report had revealed that he felt he had done ‘no real harm.’
“That is simply not right,” he said. “Harm has been done to young girls.”
The court also heard that Stark had described the texts as only ‘morally wrong’ and had said that he felt that nothing in the past could be held against him.
“You describe the texts as morally wrong, which implies they’re not really wrong,” said Sheriff Wood.
“You also state ‘I now feel nothing in the past can be held against me’. Well it can and will be held against you. You now have a record for serious sexual offences and if you do it again you will go to prison.”