Ex-Boys' Brigade leader jailed for child sex abuse

A former Boys' Brigade leader and youth football coach has been jailed for abusing seven boys in his care.

Craig Menzies, 55, carried out the crimes at various locations across Scotland between 1986 and 2004.

This included sexually abusing boys while on trips, giving them alcohol and showing them pornography. He also carried out abuse during so-called "fitness sessions" with one victim.

Menzies pleaded guilty to seven charges - four indecent assaults and three counts of indecent behaviour - at the High Court in Glasgow on 29 May.

Katrina Parkes, Scotland's procurator fiscal for High Court sexual offending, said Menzies had used his position and community links to "prey on vulnerable young boys who should have been safe in his care".

He was given 12 years in jail with three years on licence and has been added to the sex offenders register for an indefinite period.

The ex-physiotherapist took advantage of his roles by abusing a young footballer while he was injured, having told the boy he would not play football again if he refused to be treated by him.

Judge Tom Hughes said it was "quite clear" how badly the victims had been affected by Menzies.

He added: "In some cases, careers were ruined and others were involved in offending as they can't come to terms with what you did to them.

"I have taken account of that and it's quite inevitable I have considered that a lengthy custodial sentence is acceptable in this case."

The court heard that Menzies met four of the boys when he was a unit leader with the 118th Boys' Brigade Company, based in King's Park Parish Church in Glasgow.

During a trip to a campsite in Leven, Fife, in the mid to late 80s, Menzies indecently assaulted one boy, aged 13 or 14.

The child was intoxicated and asleep when the abuse began.

A second boy, aged around 12 or 13, was targeted during a camping trip at the West Highland Way, near Fort William, in the early to mid-90s.

Menzies gave the boy alcohol and showed him pornographic magazines before sexually abusing him.

He then targeted a third boy, aged around 12 or 13, at a campsite in Glencoe in the early 90s.

During an unofficial camping trip to the Isle of Skye, arranged by Menzies in the mid-90s, he indecently assaulted a fourth teenager.

A number of Boys' Brigade members were on the trip alongside the victim, who was their friend.

Victims commended

The court also heard that Menzies became involved with the Whitecart Angels Baseball Club in the mid-90s where he met his fifth victim, then aged around 10.

He admitted using lewd, indecent, and libidinous practices and behaviour towards the boy on various occasions.

The sixth victim, aged around 13, met Menzies through a family friend and would take part in "fitness sessions" held at Bellahouston Park or at Menzies’ home address.

He admitted sexually abusing the boy on an occasion in the early to mid-2000s.

Menzies was the manager and physiotherapist for Cart Castle Youth Football Club in Glasgow when he targeted his seventh victim in the early 2000s.

The boy, aged around 13 at the time the abuse began, was shown pornographic films and abused at Menzies’ home.

Ms Parkes commended the victims for coming forward, saying this had led to Menzies' conviction.

She said: “His depraved offending affected many, who now live with the traumatic consequences of his actions.

“I would urge any victim of similar crime not to suffer in silence but to report it and seek support. Our prosecutors will use every tool available in seeking justice.”

Tony Graham KC, defending, said his client did not remember the offences taking place.

The advocate added: "He does accept that the boys gave evidence to the police and were telling the truth."