July 2008

Scout master in child porn shame

GUILTY: Graham McKeown, pictured in 1993, has been a youth leader since 1981

A FORMER scoutmaster who downloaded sickening porn from the internet has been banned from working with children for life.

Police found 363 photographs of boys and girls as young as 12 on Graham McKeown’s computers and 17 videos.

His home in St George’s Walk, Barbourne, Worcester, was raided after a mother became suspicious when he took her son on a trip to a red light district during a holiday abroad, said prosecutor Ian Ball.

The 16-year-old also complained that McKeown, who worked for Worcestershire County as a transport co-ordinator until he was sacked, had hugged him, “which he had interpreted as something akin to sexual”.

McKeown confessed he looked at child porn sites while depressed “to beat himself up” because they made him cry, said Mr Ball.

The 45-year-old, an assistant leader at the 6th Worcester (Kempsey) troop for 26 years and a youth volunteer at St Peter’s Baptist church, Worcester, could have been jailed for his crimes, said Judge Andrew Geddes. He said: “These were revolting images of children being degraded and suffering terrible trauma. You contributed to that kind of intolerable behaviour.”

But the judge said society would be better served if McKeown had treatment to rehabilitate him. He gave him a three-year community order on condition he attend a sex offenders’ progamme.. He must also register as a sex offender for five years.

McKeown pleaded guilty at Worcester Crown Court to 13 counts of making indecent images of children and one of possession between June 2005 and February this year.

Mr Ball said 30 of the vile images were level four, which includes sex between children. Video clips showed boys of 12 and 13 indulging in sex acts in bed.

At first McKeown denied any knowledge of the pictures. But police found he had installed a program to wipe out his computer’s search history.

He claimed in one interview he was collecting evidence of child abuse to help police prosecute perverts.

Defence counsel Abigail Nixon said unemployed McKeown had resigned from both kinds of youth work.

Worcestershire County Council spokesperson said: “Mr McKeown had been employed since 2001 following all appropriate recruitment and police checks. His role did not involve unsupervised access to children and we have never received any complaints about Mr McKeown’s conduct.

“We have worked in full co-operation with the police and child protection officers for this investigation which relates entirely to Mr McKeown’s activities outside of his employment.”