'Abhorrent' Fife scout leader jailed for indecent assaults of teen boys
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Police have welcomed the jailing of John Somerville for historic indecent assaults and behaviour they described as “abhorrent.”
Somerville, 57, plied the boys with alcohol, started games which ended with the boys having to take their clothes off as forfeits and sexually abused them. The three victims were aged between 13 and 14. He preyed on the youngsters after taking them on camping trips across Scotland in the 1990s. Two of his victims were in court to see Somerville sent to prison.
He had avoided jail after being convicted of similar offences in 2006 and had gone on to run a gardening business. Somerville, of Greenwell Park, Glenrothes, was sentenced at Dunfermline Sheriff Court having previously admitted a catalogue of offending against the boys.
On various occasions between1996 and 1998 in Glenrothes, within a vehicle travelling to various locations within Fife and Glasgow and at various camping locations in Scotland, he indecently assaulted a boy then aged 14 years.
Somerville also admitted that on various occasions between June 1996 and 1997 in Glenrothes and various camping locations in Scotland, he used lewd, indecent and libidinous practices towards another boy then aged 13. He also admitted that on an occasion between December 1998 and February 1999, he indecently assaulted a third boy then aged 14.
Defence solicitor Peter Robertson said, “This was abhorrent and predatory behaviour and that is accepted by him. He is full of remorse and understanding. He is not asking for forgiveness as he says he doesn’t deserve it. He accepts he was abusing his position as leader. He’s very regretful about the long-standing pain and suffering and what he’s stolen from their childhood. He doesn’t recall some things but doesn’t deny they happened.”
Mr Robertson said his client has a son: “He has thought about how he would feel if someone had done that to his child. He feels completely disgusted about that,” added the solicitor.
Sheriff William Gilchrist said it was not clear from the social work report whether Somerville was indeed remorseful. The sheriff said his actions were “a serious breach of trust, involved a degree of planning and targeted vulnerable children.” He jailed Somerville for 45 months backdated to 9th March when he was remanded in custody. Somerville will also be subject to a 12-month supervised release order and was put on the sex offenders register indefinitely.
Detective Inspector Calum Lawrie said Somerville “abused a position of trust to carry out his abhorrent behaviour over a prolonged period of time” and added: “It is a good example of how time is no barrier to justice and he will now face the consequences of his own actions.
“All reports of sexual abuse, regardless of the time frame, will be thoroughly investigated by the Non Recent Child Abuse Investigation Team.
“ We were committed to supporting anyone who comes forward, while investigating thoroughly and robustly to bring offenders to justice.”
Detective Inspector Calum Lawrie said Somerville “abused a position of trust to carry out his abhorrent behaviour over a prolonged period of time” and added: “It is a good example of how time is no barrier to justice and he will now face the consequences of his own actions. All reports of sexual abuse, regardless of the time frame, will be thoroughly investigated by the Non Recent Child Abuse Investigation Team.”