October 2005

Sexual abuse scout leader jailed

A scout leader convicted of sexually abusing three boys who were members of his troop has been jailed for 12 years.

Antony Crouch, 31, of Amory Road, Tiverton, Devon, was convicted of 20 sexual offences.

Mr Justice Steel at Exeter Crown Court branded electronicsengineer Crouch a “predatory paedophile”.

Crouch was given a lifetime Sexual Offenders’ Prevention Order so he will never be able to work with children.

He was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

The Scout Association, which condemned his actions, suspended Crouch when the offences were reported.

A spokesman said: “There is no place in the movement for anyone who abuses that trust or seeks to harm young people.”

Worst trauma

Crouch had been a scout leader for more than 13 years but used his position to get to know and befriend young boys and ultimately abuse them sexually.

The court heard Crouch gave presents to all three boys concerned in the charges.

He also arranged camping trips which were nothing to do with the Scout movement.

The father of one boy said it was the worst trauma of his life when he was told that Crouch, whom he regarded as a “wholesome person”, had sexually abused his son.

After the case, investigating officer, Det Con Richard Luke from Tiverton CID, praised the courage of the victims and their parents.

“The parents have struggled to come to terms with who Antony Crouch is.

“They didn’t envisage him to be an abuser of children and found that difficult to acknowledge.

“But when the disclosures were made the parents were fully supportive of their children.”