February 1998

Jail for sex case social worker

A SOCIAL worker who had sex with a 15-year-old boy in her care was last night locked up in Cornton Vale prison.

Vicki McIntosh, 26, wept as she was jailed for nine months after admitting to having sex with the teenager in her car. She was also ordered to be put on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

The boy’s mother said: ”I’m glad. But prison is too good for her. She should rot in hell for what she did to my boy.”

McIntosh, a mother of two, was one of a group of care workers entrusted by Falkirk Social Services to run a home for children from troubled backgrounds.

Depute fiscal Valerie Barber-Fleming told Falkirk Sheriff Court McIntosh started as a relief care worker in 1991, employed by Central Regional Council in children’s homes in the Falkirk area. She was appointed to a full-time post in a children’s home in 1995.

She was suspended when her offences came to light in July and she resigned last August.

The fiscal said that her 15-year-old victim was put in care after ”problems at home”.

Early last year, the boy asked McIntosh for £10 to buy alcohol.

Mrs Barber-Fleming said: ”She agreed and withdrew #10 from her bank and gave it to him. She then drove him to Airth in her car.

”The car stopped there and, according to the man, the accused asked him what he most wanted to do at that time – implying she wanted to have intercourse with him. He said he wanted wine and hash and said she wouldn’t take no for an answer. The accused kissed him and they had intercourse.”

The fiscal said: ”There is no suggestion that he was forced physically. But it was suggested.”

In July, the boy had been drinking in a park with a female friend. They met McIntosh in Falkirk town centre. The girl attacked McIntosh with a bottle and the boy went to help the care worker.

McIntosh was injured, said the fiscal, and she and the boy drove to Slamannan and had intercourse in a wooded area.

Police launched a hunt for the teenager when he was reported, by the mother of the boy’s friend, as having been abducted.

Police found them near McIntosh’s home in Bainsford, Falkirk.

The fiscal said when he got back to the children’s home, the boy was ”in considerable distress. He had locked himself in the toilet. He was crying and asked to be left alone. He was very distraught.”

McIntosh was prosecuted on two charges of ”shameless indecency”.

Her lawyer, Mr Paddy Imray, yesterday complained about certain press coverage of the case since McIntosh pled guilty three weeks ago. He told Sheriff Andrew Murphy: ”A newspaper article paints her as a seductress. The picture presented in these articles is an extra strand of humiliation that Mrs McIntosh has had to face.”

Mr Imray said the victim’s mother was a single parent and most of the family had been in care at some stage ”due to difficulties in coping with her family”.

He said the boy was over six feet tall, fully developed, and had appeared in court on indictment in the past on a serious assault charge. He was eventually admonished on a reduced charge of breach of the peace.

The lawyer said: ”Since these incidents, he’s had various problems. But my information is that he had these problems before these incidents.”

Mr Imray stressed that the second offence happened when the boy was not in McIntosh’s care and asked the sheriff not to jail her. He said she had two children, a four-year-old boy and a three year-old girl.

”The younger child has a heart defect,” he added.

”At the time of the first incident the marriage was under stress, partly because of the health of the child and other reasons. They were not getting on well.”

Jailing McIntosh for nine months, Sheriff Andrew Murphy told her: ”As you know yourself, when you are in a position such as you were dealing with adolescents who are suggestible and manipulative, you’ve got to be above reproach in matters both moral and sexual and can’t allow yourself to be involved emotionally with adolescents under your charge.”

Last night, Mr Imray said an appeal against the sentence would be lodged at the High Court today.

After McIntosh’s first court appearance, Falkirk Council said lessons had been learned and new arrangements had been made for the supervision of staff and young people in their care. The council added: ”We regret the distress caused to the boy and the other young people in the home.”