March 2010

Youth club coach jailed for having sex with girls

Student Iain Johnston admitted sleeping with four underage youngsters while working as a voluntary coach in Glenrothes.

A youth club volunteer who admitted having a string of sexual liaisons with underage girls has been jailed for three and a half years.

Student Iain Johnston slept with four underage girls over a three year period while working as a voluntary coach at a youth club in Glenrothes. The High Court in Falkirk heard he had unlawful sexual intercourse with each of them, sometimes repeatedly, in his house and in woods. One girl, who was only 14 when Johnston first had sex with her, said she had “just given in” to him.

Johnston appeared for sentence after pleading guilty last month to four charges of having unlawful sexual intercourse with the girls between July 2006 and last May. He had originally faced charges of raping them, but the rape claims were dropped by the prosecution.

When Johnston is released from jail, he will remain on licence for a further three years and be placed on the sex offenders register.

Judge Lord Emslie said: “The court has to take seriously offences of this nature which involve girls who are too young or immature to fend for themselves.

“You have taken advantage of four girls who are considerably younger than yourself. Measures need to be taken to protect the public and young girls from further harm from you.”

Johnston was also referred to Scottish ministers under the terms of the Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003, who will decide whether he should face a ban on working with children when he is released.

At an earlier hearing, Advocate depute Alastair Carmichael told the court: “He is 21 and is a student at Adam Smith College in Kirkcaldy. The first complainer met him at the youth club when she was 15 and he was 18.

“He knew her age but very soon started a sexual relationship with her. That would take place two or three times a week. The second complainer knew the accused through friends.

“They sent each other text messages. He started sending texts saying to come to his house. She went to his house and he had sex with her. On the first occasion she was 14. He knew how old she was.

“The third girl knew him through friends. She was invited to his home to watch a film. She agreed, and had sex with him in his bedroom. She was 15 and he knew this.”

Mr Carmichael said Johnston met the fourth girl when she was 13 and attending the youth group in Glenrothes where he helped with sports coaching. On 29 May last year, when she was 15, she and Johnston were among a group of youths drinking alcohol in the Town Park area of the town. She said Johnston offered to walk her home, but the pair went into woods and had sex, despite him knowing she was under-16.

One of the girls told the trial she had played truant from school one day so that she could go to Johnston’s home and have sex with him.

The youngster, now 17, said she had complained to police about him after hearing he was in trouble for having sex with other girls who were also below the age of consent.

She had been 14 when she began having sex with him and said she had “just given in” when it became clear he wanted to have sex with her despite her age.

The teenager said she had sex with Johnston, now a student, on at least three occasions and had regular contact with him through MSN Messenger.

Johnston’s defence lawyer Mark Stewart, QC, said his client was an immature young man who “found he was better able to relate” to “younger women”.

He said: “There does not seem to have been any cynical intent on behalf of my client. He accepts full responsibility for what happened and understands it was wrong.”

Johnston looked on the verge of tears as he was led away to the cells.