Glasgow & West Scotland

Ex Scout master jailed for sex abuse against boys

An 86-year-old former Scout master has been jailed for three years for historic sex abuse involving young boys, aged between nine and 13.

Jack Townsley, from Cumbernauld, had denied touching the boys at various Scottish campsites during the 1970s.

He said the allegations were "conspiracy", "collusion", and a "pack of lies".

But the jury found him guilty of three counts of using lewd, indecent and libidinous behaviour towards the boys.

A charge relating to a fourth alleged incident was found not proven by the jury.

Jimmy Savile

Townsley was also put on the sex offenders register.

His victims were all involved with the same Glasgow-based Cub pack.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that Townsley had been in a position of trust involving about 30,000 children over the course of his four-decade career with the Scouts and Salvation Army.

He once earned the Scout Association's prestigious Silver Wolf Award for "services of the most exceptional character".

He also ran a Sunday School and was described as being happily married to his wife of 63 years.

One of Townsley's victims told the court he awoke in the middle of the night while on an overnight fishing trip - unrelated to the Cubs - to find Townsley touching him.

The boy was aged between 11 and 13 at the time.

He said he had not spoken about it until the Jimmy Savile scandal broke in late 2012.

He told the court he needed to do something before Townsley died and went to the police station in the middle of the night.

'Fall from grace'

A police investigation led to the discovery of more incidents involving boys aged between nine and 12 taking place in the early 1970s at various sites around Scotland - including one that took place on a Cub trip in Aberdeenshire.

Sheriff William Summers said: "Mr Townsley some weeks ago you were found guilty by a jury of historic sex abuse.

"The offences were appalling - more so as they involved a breach of trust.

"You breached the trust imposed on you by the Salvation Army, the Scouts and the trust of the parents of these boys.

"It is a matter of concern that you continue to deny these offences and show no remorse.

"Your fall from grace is complete."

The sheriff added: "The victims of this abuse have lived with it for 40 years.

"You must now live with the consequences of your actions.

"There is no alternative to me other than to impose a custodial sentence."

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