May 2011

Scout leader who tied up boys banned from working with children

A SCOUTMASTER who tied up young boys for sexual kicks has been banned from working with children for life.

Steven Etherington, 44, staked one boy to the ground with tent pegs and “hog-tied” another before whipping him with a wet towel in a humiliating “punishment” ritual.

Etherington, of Fat Rabbit Farm in Fangfoss, near Pocklington, had been a Scout leader for 20 years and was responsible for training other leaders in child protection.

Hull Crown Court heard that although he was convicted of two counts of sexual assault by a jury, Etherington is still in denial over his guilt.

Judge Simon Jack said: “The parents of these children allowed them to be in your company because they trusted you and you abused that trust by using these children for your own sexual gratification.

“You still do not accept that, but that is the finding of the jury.

“You do not accept you are guilty because you have been saying there is nothing sexual about what happened.

“The probation officer believes in the near future you will come round to accept there had to be a sexual element to your offending.”

In one case, Etherington bound the hands and feet of one teenage boy in a “hog-tie” with cables and whipped him with a wet tea towel for not wearing a high-visibility vest while cycling.

One boy was staked to the ground and tied to tent pegs in a star shape to teach him not to be ticklish.

Etherington’s barrister, Mark Bury, said his client had never really “grown up” and likened him to “Peter Pan”.

Etherington has been sentenced to a three-year community order, made to attend the Northumbria Sex Offenders Treatment Programme and has been banned from working with children indefinitely.

Judge Jack said: “You will not be in a position of authority over children where you will be able to take advantage of them again.”

Etherington has been ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register and pay £3,500 court costs.