Heriot-Watt University professor guilty of sex assaults on students

image copyrightCIARAN DONNELLY
image captionProfessor Kevin O'Gorman, 45, abused eight young men

A university professor has been convicted of sexually assaulting young male students.

Kevin O'Gorman, 45, abused eight young men while working at Strathclyde and Heriot-Watt universities between 2006 and 2014.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that O'Gorman abused his position to prey on vulnerable students who hoped to gain entry to advanced degrees.

O'Gorman will be sentenced on 18 September.

Sheriff Alistair Noble heard one of the victims said O'Gorman visited him at his flat and ordered him to remove his trousers and bend over a bed.

He said that he had been whipped at least 10 times which left O'Gorman "out of breath and red faced."

image copyrightGoogle
image captionO'Gorman was the director the school of management and languages at Heriot-Watt university

Another complainer said that, over the course of a Skype call, he was made to stand in a corner and beat himself on the bottom with a wooden spoon.

O'Gorman, of Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, denied a total of 19 charges against 11 young men.

On Wednesday, Sheriff Noble acquitted O'Gorman on three of the allegations and convicted him on all other charges.

Sheriff Noble said: "I have no problem concluding that the complainers who gave evidence against you that was truthful and credible.

"I do not believe the account which you gave in which you claimed that these encounters were consensual. Your evidence differed greatly from the accounts of the complainers.

"I accordingly find you guilty."

'Mindfulness technique'

None of the young men abused by O'Gorman can be identified for legal reasons.

The academic was the Director of Heriot-Watt's school of management and languages.

O'Gorman claimed he did not abuse the students. He claimed when he ordered a student to stand in the corner, he was following a "mindfulness technique" similar to the one used by Adam Smith, the 18th century economist.

In closing submissions, depute procurator fiscal Nicole Lavelle said O'Gorman claims to be following Adam Smith's example was incredible.

She added: "This was not a bizarre mindfulness technique but a criminal act done for sexual gratification."

Following conviction, Ms Lavelle said O'Gorman was a first offender.

Defence advocate Niall McCluskey told Sheriff Noble that because his client had not previously offended, the court was obliged to obtain reports on his character and background.

Sheriff Noble then deferred sentence.

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