Abuse in the Scouts

Victims of abuse in the Scouts

The Scout Movement is the UK’s largest youth organisation and its ethos has always been to encourage young people to develop life skills in a fun and challenging environment.

Scout groups across the UK are run by adult volunteers who act in a wide range of roles, including working directly with young people.

Because of its involvement with young people the Scouts has, unfortunately, attracted individuals to it who are willing to exploit their position of power, and proximity to children, in order to abuse those in their trust. Many people have suffered abuse at the hands of a Scout Leader, but also in rarer cases the abuse has been perpetrated by other Scouts.

Many people with responsibility in Scouting groups already have convictions relating to child abuse, click ‘read more’ below to find out more information about these offenders.

 

Make a claim now

Can I make a claim?

If you have been abused by someone connected with The Scouts, you can bring a claim for compensation directly against the organisation itself. The Scout Association may be vicariously liable for the abuse perpetrated by its members or anybody closely connected to it, or they may be negligent in allowing the abuse to take place whilst in their care.

Our highly experienced team have brought many claims against the Scouts as well as other youth organisations. We can advise you as to your rights and whether it is possible to bring a claim.

 

Former scout leader and soldier Anthony Allen was convicted in February 2018 of six counts of sexual assault of a child under 13 and six counts of sexual activity with a child under 15.  He was also sentenced for numerous counts of making images of children. The offenses took place at several locations including at scout camps.  His victims were all between 8 and 16 and were repeatedly abused between January 2013 and September 2017 and 2018.  In 2018 Allen was jailed for 11 years.

In 2004 former scout leader James Axe was convicted of eight counts of indecent assault and 1 of indecency with a child.  Seven charges were later quashed by the House of Lords but one of indecency and another of indecent assault still stand.  He was jailed for three and a half years and placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.  Axe was also banned from working with children for life.

James Bailey, (known as Jim) former preacher and scout leader, was jailed in 2012 for eight years after being convicted of seven counts of indecent assault of a male under 14 and eight counts of indecency with a child under 16.

In 2017 Ian Barker, a scout leader in Camden North London, admitted five charges, one count of indecent assault with penetration on a boy under 14, 1 count of indecent assault on a boy aged under 14 and 3 counts of indecency with children. He was jailed for 10 years.

In 2011 Christopher Bewick, former beaver scout leader, admitted five charges of possessing indecent images of children. He was jailed for 8 months and was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Retired teacher and former Scout Master, Richard Biddick, was jailed for eight years in April 2016.  Riddick admitted two counts of indecent assault of an 11 year old, breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and failure to comply with the Sex Offender’s Register.  Biddick was also placed on the Sex Offender’s Register for life and issued with an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.  In 2002 Biddick was convicted of having 10,000 indecent images of children and in 2013 was made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

In January 2021 Stephen Boulton, an Akela at a scout group, pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault of a child under 13.  He was sentenced to 28 months in prison and given a 10 year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years and was barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.

In 2014 Myles Bradbury admitted abusing 18 boys in his care, while he worked at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge between 2009 and 2013. Bradbury admitted 25 offences, including sexual assault, voyeurism and possessing more than 16,000 indecent images.  He was also a Scout leader at the time. Bradbury was sentenced to 22 years in jail.

Robert Andrew Bustard former scout leader in Derbyshire, pleaded guilty to five counts of rape of a boy aged under 13, two counts of inciting a boy aged under 16 to engage in sexual activity, making images of children and supplying a class B drug.  In 2014 he was sentenced to 14 years in prison and placed on the sex offender’s register for life.

In 2017 Eric Cannellscout leader, was convicted of eight counts of indecent assault. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail.  One of Cannell’s victims has been awarded £150,000 in compensation.

In 2017 Paul Cherrett admitted 18 charges including indecent assault and possessing indecent photos.  The offenses, against nine boys between 1975 and 2016, took place at scout camps amongst other locations.  In 2016 Cherrett admitted to a charge of sexual activity with a child.  Cherrett it was jailed for nine years.

In October 2020, Oliver Cooper, former Beaver Scout Leader in West Sussex, was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault on a girl, one count of taking indecent photographs of a child and 13 counts of voyeurism. Cooper was sentenced to six years in prison and will be on the sex offender‘s register for life.  He was also given a sexual harm prevention order which will severely restrict access to children and has been disqualified from working with children and vulnerable people for life

Former scout leader Tony Coverdale admitted sexual activity with a girl and causing or inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity and was jailed for 40 months in 2017. He was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders register for life and is subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order banning him from any unsupervised contact with girls under 16 and contacting the victim in any way.

Former Sea Scout leader Callum Thomas Craig was convicted of eighteen counts of indecent assault and gross indecency in 2003. He was sentenced to 6 years in jail. Craig’s offenses spanned a period between 1973 and 1990 and were carried out against boys aged between none and fifteen.

Anthony Michael Critchley, former policeman and scout leader, was convicted of abusing a boy in 2016 and jailed for 2 years. In 2018, after another victim came forward, Critchley pleaded guilty to 6 indecent assaults and one of indecency with a child, all dating from the 1970s. He was jailed for 28 months.

Former scout leader Richard Cumberland was jailed for nine years after plotting to rape a child.  In July 2020 Cumberland pleaded guilty to 15 charges including arranging to meet a child for sex in 2017 and distributing indecent images of children through online chat rooms. Cumberland also admitted breaching a sexual harm prevention order several years ago. Cumberland was jailed for a year after admitting causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and two offenses of possessing indecent photographs of children.  Police found almost 300 images of child sex abuse on his computer.  Eight other offenses which he denied were ordered to be left on file

In 2011 former scouts volunteer Keith Cutler was jailed for four years for abusing a boy in the 1970s. He admitted 10 counts of indecent assault of a male under 18 and two counts of possessing indecent photographs of a child

Former scoutmaster David Daines was convicted in 2006 of eight sample counts of possessing indecent images of children and two of making indecent images of children. He was jailed for 15 months.

In 2007 Michael Drinkwater, former scouting volunteer and member of the Scouting Fellowship, was pleaded guilty to three charges of rape and one of assault by penetration against a 13 year old girl.  One charge of sexual assault related to another young girl.  All offences took place between 2005 and 2007.  Drinkwater was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence with a minimum of five years.  He was also disqualified from working with children for life and ordered not to live in any house with girls aged under 16.

In 2011 Steven Etherington, Scoutmaster and cub leader in the East Riding area for 20 years, was convicted of two counts of sexual assault.  Etherington was the Scouts’ child protection officer in charge of training scout leaders across the Yorkshire District.

In 2006, Ken Fawcett, former Assistant County Commissioner for the Scout Fellowship, pleaded guilty to 26 counts of sexual abuse of young boys and three of indecency to children.  The offences took place between 1974 and 1990.  Fawcett was jailed for four years and when released from prison, he will be bound by a sexual offences prevention order for 10 years and his name will remain on the sex offender’s register for the rest of his life.

Roger Franklina former Scout leader in west Oxfordshire, was found guilty of four counts of indecent assault in 2011.  His victim was abused between 1968 and 1970.  Franklin has seven previous convictions for indecently assaulting boys under 13 in 1964 and 1968.

In 2017 Peter Gavin, scout leader in Bradford, admitted one offence of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and two of sexual activity with a child. He was jailed for 4 years and was ordered to register as a sex offender for life.

In 2007 Alistair Graham, former scout master, was convicted of making pornographic images of boys. He was given an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order. He was also convicted of sexually abusing Scouts and was jailed for a year in approximately 1995, and banned for life from the Scout movement.

Former Scout Master from Ellesmere Port, Terence Hamblett, has been jailed for 12 years after admitting a string of child sex charges.  He pleaded guilty to all 20 offences he was charged with, including inciting another man to sexually abuse his own infant son on a webcam on multiple occasions for Hamblett’s sexual gratification.  Hamblett used to run a scouts group.  Forensic examination of his internet enabled devices revealed 922 indecent images and videos of children being sexually exploited, including 233 of the most serious type.  They also revealed that Hamblett had distributed more than 600 files containing child sexual abuse material.  Hamblett was ordered to sign the sex offender’s register for life.

In 2011 Peter Holland, former volunteer at cubs and scouts groups, was convicted of ten counts of gross indecency and 15 counts of indecent assault. He was sentenced to 6 years in jail. In 1959 Holland had also been convicted of seriously assaulting 5 young boys while working as a housemaster at a hostel for youngsters in Wiltshire.

In 2018 Matthew Hopkins, former PCSO and cub scout leader, was jailed for five and a half years for a raft of offences including three charges of possession of indecent images of children, four of making indecent images of children, three counts of voyeurism as well as possessing a prohibited images of children and possessing an extreme pornographic image.  He had already been convicted of an indecent assault on a boy at a previous trial.  He was also made the subject of a 10 year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was ordered to sign the Sex Offender’s Register for life.  In 2021 Hopkins was released from prison on licence.

Christopher Johnson, a former scout leader, was convicted of three charges of indecently assaulting a young boy in 2017.  Johnson was jailed for four years and ordered to register as a sex offender for life.  Johnson was also barred for ever working with children.

James Lench, former scout leader, was already serving a 9 year prison sentence for sexual abusing children, when, in 2017, he was further convicted of three counts of indecency with a child, six counts of rape against another make child.  He was handed a 10 year and 4 month sentence and will subject to an extended licence period. Lench had been released on licence part way though his first sentence but was returned to jail after he was caught visiting a swimming pool.

In 2019, former teacher and scout master, Russell Howard-Tricker was jailed for 14 years having admitted two counts of indecent assault.  He was also was convicted of 2 more and committing buggery. The offences took place in the 1960s.

In 2018 Philip Levi, former scout leader, was sentenced to 11 years three months having pleaded guilty to 12 counts of indecency with a child between 1972 in 1985. Levi led a scout troop in Harrow West London.  In the 1980s Levi was fined for an attempted indecent assault on a 12-year-old boy. In 2015 Police found 484 indecent images of children on his laptop

Brian Lewis, a former Scout master, who had already served a prison term for historic sex abuse of four boy scouts was jailed again in 2018 after another 10 victims came forward.  Lewis received a five year and three month sentence in 2014 after he admitted interfering with four boys when he took them on camping trips.  In 2018 the length of sentence was passed on him again for 26 further offences of indecent assault on 10 young boys over an 18 year period.

In 2016 Peter Loco, a former scoutmaster, was jailed for five years having been convicted of 11 counts of indecent assault on a male, one count making indecent images of a child and 13 counts of making indecent photographs of a child. Loco was in charge of First Bredbury and Woodley scout group in Stockport during the mid-1990s when the crimes took place.

Philip Longbottom, former scout leader and sea cadet district officer, was jailed for life in 2016 (with a minimum of seven years for multiple counts of rape, serious sexual assault and indecent assault against boys over a period of 40 years.  In April 2019 Longbottom returned to court to be given a second life term, of which he will spend at least six years in prison, for a further five charges of buggery involving three boys and 10 offenses of indecent assault.  In 1970 Longbottom was given a suspended sentence for four offenses of indecently assaulting young men.  Police have encouraged any further survivors to come forward and make contact with them.

In 2008, former Scout leader Richard Stephen McGuire pleaded guilty of 28 offences including sex offences including attempted rape, sexual assault, sexual activity with a child and taking indecent images of a child. He was jailed indefinitely for public protection.  He must serve a minimum of seven years before he can apply for parole.  He has also been banned from working with children and was given an indefinite sexual offences prevention order, banning him from associating with or having photos of under-18s or having computers, internet or photography equipment.  In 1993 McGuire was jailed for two and a half years for offences including five indecent assaults and two if taking indecent photographs of children.

In 2016 former Birmingham scout leader, Mike Medhurst, was jailed for five years and four months, having admitted 10 counts of indecent assault on boys under 16 and one count of gross indecency on a boy under 14.  Medhurst sexually assaulted scouts aged between eight and 11 years old.  Medhurst was jailed in 1991 for sex offences against children.

In 2007 ex-scout master, youth football coach and referee, Roy Mercer, pleaded guilty to thirty one sex offence against boys aged 4 to 16 over a 30 year period.  Mercer was jailed for six years.

In 2003 David John Michie, former head teacher and scout leader from Staffordshire, was convicted of four counts of indecent assault against two boys aged 12 and 13 between 1981 and 1986. He was jailed for 3 ½ years.

In July 2021, former scout volunteer Bruce Moir was jailed for nine years after having been found guilty of sexually abusing a 13 year old boy.  Moir’s offences took place in the 1980s and 1990s when he was living in Bedfordshire and volunteered as a scout leader.  In February this year Moir was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault and pleaded guilty to a further three counts of indecent assault against three young victims.  Moir will have to serve six years of his 9 year prison sentence before he can be considered for parole.  He will also serve an eight year extended licence upon his release.  Moir was also made the subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order and barred from working with children.  A further charge will lie on the file.

Former Swansea scout leader Anthony John Morgan was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2017. Morgan pleaded guilty to a total of 33 sexual offenses, including six counts of sexual activity with a child, four counts of causing/inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and two counts of rape, which took place between 2016 and 2017.

Clive Mucklow was jailed for 6 years in 1996 for abusing Cub Scouts. Mucklow was a cub leader at the 89th Birmingham pack in Hall Green for 15 years.  He was also an official at the Blackwell Court Scouting Centre in Bromsgrove.  Mucklow admitted 13 counts of indecent assault, gross indecency and taking indecent photographs.  A number of Mucklow’s victims have already made claims for compensation against the Scout Association.

Former scout leader David Oliver was convicted of six counts of indecent assault in May 2017. Oliver assaulted his victim in the late 1990s, sometimes in the grounds around the scout camp. Oliver was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years and a two-year supervision order.  It was also ordered that his name would remain on the sex offender’s register for 10 years.

In 2015 Gavin Owen, scout leader, was convicted of sexually molesting two teenage boys and possessing thousands of child abuse images. He was sentenced to 4 ½ years in jail.

In 2013 Ian Pain was convicted of raping a 10 year old child and sharing indecent images of children. He was sentenced to 16 years in jail. Pain will also have to sign the sex offenders’ register for life and is banned from ever working with, living with or communicating with children again.

In 2018 Richard Papworth pleaded guilty to downloading indecent photos of children, engaging in sexual communication with a child and charges of causing a child to engage in sexual activity. He was jailed for 6 years and ordered to serve an extra 4 years on licence after his release. His jail sentence was reduced to 5 years on appeal.

Matthew Parker, scout volunteer, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to facilitate a sexual offence against a child.  Parker was sentenced to a 12 month prison term, suspended for two years.  He was ordered to sign the sex offender’s register for 10 years and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Former scout leader from Shrewsbury, John Parrish, was jailed in 2017 for eight years.  Parrish pleaded guilty to four charges of indecent assault which took place between 1966 and 1970.

Former police officer and scout leader Phillip Paterson (formally Phillip Savage) was jailed for six years in 2019 after pleading guilty to three offenses a possessing indecent images of children and three of sexual activity with a 13-year-old boy.  He will be on the sex offender’s register for life and a sexual harm prevention order will run indefinitely.  In 2011 he was convicted of downloading and distributing 50,000 indecent images of children in 2001 and was jailed for 27 months

In 2009 Julien Pike, former Scout leader in Norfolk, pleaded guilty to five charges of having sex with a child.  Pike was sentenced to four years in jail.

Alan Pollitt, former scout leader, was jailed in 2019 for 10 years for sexually abusing a boy in 1970s. In 1997 Pollitt was jailed for 12 years for sexually abusing young boys, some of whom were cubs.

In 2017 Andrew Ranyard, former Scout Leader, was jailed for six years having been convicted of two offences of multiple indecent assault and one of indecency with a child.

In 2016 Peter Risdale, admitted seven serious sexual offences, 15 indecent assaults and nine offences of indecency with a child.  The offences took place between 1970 and 1982.  Risdale was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

In 2018 Paul Santon, who worked at a North West London scout group in the 1970s, was jailed after admitting two indecent assaults.  Santon worked with the same scout group as Philip Levi, who was also convicted of abuse against children

In 2016 Peter Slater, scout leader, pleaded guilty to possessing prohibited images of a child, three of making indecent images of a child and distributing indecent images of a child. He was given a 16 month prison sentence, suspended for 2 years. He was also ordered to take part in a 60 day activity program. He must go on the Sex Offenders register for 10 years.

In 2013 former scout leader and ex-BBC broadcaster, Michael Souter was found guilty of 26 child sexual abuse offences between 1979 and 1999.  He was jailed for 22 years.  Souter was first arrested in 1993 but, due to a lack of evidence against him, he continued to abuse boys for another six years.

In 1997 former Scoutmaster David Stanley was convicted of buggery, attempted buggery, indecent assault and possessing pornographic photographs with a view to distributing them on the internet. He was sentenced to 18 years in jail.

In March 2016, Reading Scout Leader Peter Swynford, was convicted of four counts of indecent assault on a boy under 16.  Swynford was sentenced to four years in prison for one count of indecent assault and two years each for the other three counts (to be served concurrently).  The offences took place between 1991 and 1994.

In 2017 Simon Teale, scout leader and trainee teacher, pleaded guilty to making thirty three category A indecent images, sixty two category B images and two hundred and thirty three category C images.

In 2019 Matthew Thomson pleaded guilty to searching for indecent images of young boys on the internet and grooming what he thought was a 14 year old boy. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail, as well as to a 10 year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, and must sign the Sex Offenders register for 10 years.

Andrew Tracey aka Mark Frost admitted forty five offences against children which include rape and assault against children as young 10 in the UK and Thailand. He pleaded guilty to 23 charges in 2017, having already admitted to 22 counts the previous year.  He was sentenced to 13 life sentences, and has to serve a minimum of 16 years.  In 1992 he admitted possessing indecent photographs of a child and was fined £200.  In 1993 Tracey/Frost was jailed for a year for allowing him premises to be used for drugs and sex with an under-age girl.

In 2015 Barry Warren, former scout leader pleaded guilty to two counts of gross indecency against boys under 13.  His sentencing was delayed after a further 12 people came forward with allegations of abuse.  Warren subsequently pleaded guilty to seven counts of gross indecency and one of sexual assault   Warren was sentenced to 10 years and 6 months in jail

In 2018 former Scout Leader in Edmonton and teacher, Peter Wells was convicted of seven counts of indecent assault and five counts of gross indecency.  All the offences took place between 1974 – 1992.  His victims were aged between 8 and 13 years old.  Wells was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In 2011 Derek Wiggett, former scout leader, was jailed for 6 years having admitted counts of unlawful sex, attempted unlawful sex, indecent assault and sexual activity with a child.  The offences took place in 1970s and 1980s.  Wiggett was ordered to register as a sex offender for life and was given a 10 year sexual offences prevention order.