July 2013

Youth centre worker jailed over abuse images

A former religious centre youth worker who was caught with thousands of indecent pictures and videos of children has been jailed for 10 months.

Alistair McVean, 32, who worked at the Scripture Union’s Lendrick Muir centre in Kinross, was also placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

The shocking discovery was made when McVean dropped a memory stick on the staff room floor.

Perth Sheriff Court previously heard how McVean’s colleagues found the memory stick, which contained more than 150 pictures and more than 50 videos of girls as young as nine.

The 32-year-old previously admitted possessing almost 5,500 images and videos, which were downloaded between June 1 2006 and January 20 2012.

Some of the material was categorised as level five, at the top of scale, and all featured girls between the ages of nine and 16.

McVean admitted to his bosses that the device was his and he was suspended from his post.

On Wednesday, McVean’s agent Archie Hill said his client made no attempt to distribute the images.

He said: “Mr McVean does recognise the serious nature of this offence. He realises he’s fuelling this industry. He does exhibit remorse.”

Mr Hill said a background report had made reference to mental health issues.

Sheriff Fiona Tait said there are clear sentencing guidelines set out by the appeal court.

She told McVean: “This is a case where there’s a small number of images at level four or five where the range of sentence is custodial.”

She sentenced McVean to 10 months in prison.

McVean was suspended and later dismissed from his duties with Scripture Union Scotland after the allegations emerged.

May 2013

Abuse images found when religious centre worker dropped memory stick

A religious centre worker was caught with thousands of indecent pictures and videos of children after dropping a memory stick on the staff room floor.

Alistair McVean lost the USB device while working at Scripture Union’s Lendrick Muir centre in Kinross.

Shocked colleagues discovered it contained more than 150 pictures and over 50 videos of girls as young as nine. They initially began deleting the images before deciding to alert senior employees.

A computer specialist later recovered the deleted pictures and the police were called.

The device was linked to McVean by a document bearing his name which was also stored on the device.

A later raid on his home uncovered a stash of other material, some of it falling within the most serious category of indecency.

At Perth Sheriff Court on Thursday the 32-year-old admitted possessing almost 5,500 images and videos, which were downloaded over a five-year period between June 1 2006 and January 20 2012.

Fiscal depute Rebecca Kynaston told Sheriff Michael Fletcher two colleagues of McVean had discovered the images and had initially thought they were of girls between the ages of 14 and 22.

In a meeting with his bosses McVean admitted the device belonged to him and that he was “aware of its contents”.

He was suspended from his post and police raided his home in Kenmore Way, Carluke, where they examined his computer and found yet more images of children.

In total McVean was found with 5,389 indecent images and 61 videos with a running time of around an hour.

Some of the material was categorised as level five, the worst kind, and all featured girls between the ages of nine and 16.

Defence solicitor Archie Hill said the images on the stick were merely copies of ones from McVean’s home computer.

Sentence was deferred until July 10 for reports.

* Responding to the case, Andy Bathgate, chief executive of Scripture Union Scotland, said: “Scripture Union Scotland’s highest priority is ensuring the safety and protection of children and young people in our care.  The images found on a memory stick owned by Scott McVean were appalling and we condemn his behaviour unreservedly.

“In June 2011, when the memory stick was found, our staff quickly brought the matter to the attention of police. Scott McVean was suspended from his duties with Scripture Union Scotland and, after a thorough internal investigation, dismissed immediately. 

“There is no evidence that the material possessed by Scott McVean contained images of any child, young person or adult associated with Scripture Union Scotland’s activities; nor was there any evidence that our IT facilities were used to access the material. We have systems in place to help prevent such misuse.

“Scott McVean was also fully disclosure checked prior to his employment. We are confident that we took – and continue to take – all steps necessary to safeguard children and young people in our care. 

“Scripture Union Scotland would like to take this opportunity to reassure everyone connected with our activities that we will continue to apply the highest professional standards when working with children and young people.”