Scout leader jailed for filming girls changing and having 87,000 indecent images of kids
A Scout leader and former photography and IT lecturer who had a dark secret for two decades has been jailed.
Ben McCarthy, who had been involved in training others within the Scout movement in child protection issues, was found to have thousands of indecent images when police acting on a tip-off searched his Wrexham home in January.
Two covert films of girls changing, which he had filmed himself, were among the images found.
Mold Crown Court heard other films of schoolgirls and films which zoomed in on the underwear of children, which had been taken at locations near his home, were also found.
Police were said to have found so many images that not all of them could be categorised.
McCarthy, 40, of Pendinas, Wrexham, admitted making indecent images by downloading them from the internet, possessing them and extreme images involving sex acts between people and animals, possessing a prohibited image and two counts of voyeurism, going back to 2011.
Prosecuting barrister Claire Jones said 87,232 images were found, and a further 445,000 remained uncategorised.
There were 14 prohibited images, 1,473 indecent movies and six extreme images.
He was jailed for two years and ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
A 10-year sexual harm prevention order was also made to curb his future activities, and he was banned from working with children in the future.
Judge Rhys Rowlands said: “Outwardly, you were an entirely normal, respectable and valued member of society.
“But, sadly, you had a dark secret: an abnormal and very worrying interest in seeking, viewing and storing images of young children.”
McCarthy had stored a large number of images of the highest level of depravity and had clandestinely set up recordings of girls changing at two different locations, the court heard.
“Neither the parents or your colleagues in the Scouting movement would have dreamt that such behaviour was possible,” said Judge Rowlands.
“You were trusted in the Scout movement. Such behaviour is quite shameful.”
McCarthy had 1,270 images and 478 movie images at the worst category A.
Many were found on a hard drive hidden under his bed, and he had used his expertise to delete the history of his internet use.
The court heard the defendant had been employed by Shropshire county council as an IT trainer and assessor between 2010 and 2013.
He was also “a well liked and popular” scout leader in the Wrexham area from 2010.
First interviewed, McCarthy said he had only looked at legitimate images but that some random images had popped up which he tried to delete. He said he had tried to report it but nothing was done.
The defendant’s wife knew nothing of what he was doing, the court heard, and felt that he was now “in denial”.
Henry Hills, defending, said that the defendant had no previous convictions or cautions, and had made full admissions in his police interview.
“He has long standing problems dating back to his university days,” said Mr Hills.
Wrexham scout leader admits 87,000 indecent images of children
A scout leader who admitted making and possessing more than 87,000 indecent images of children along with nearly 1,500 videos, has been told to expect a prison sentence.
Mold Crown Court heard some of the images Ben McCarthy, 40, from Wrexham, had were in the most serious category.
He admitted six making indecent images charges and seven possession charges between February 2014 and January 2015.
McCarthy also admitted two counts of voyeurism dating back to 2011.
Judge Rhys Rowlands remanded him in custody to be sentenced in November.
“Don’t hold out any hopes of a non-custodial sentence for this sort of behaviour,” the judge told him.