A former Boys’ Brigade officer in Dundee sexually abused two recruits of the youth organisation and went on to molest a third after social services were alerted to allegations against him.
Colin Robertson was a captain in the BB in Dundee when he indecently assaulted two boys at camps and at his allotment in the city.
In 1979 an adult contacted city social services to report that one of the victims maintained there had been sexual contact between the BB officer and himself.
Robertson resigned from his post the following year but went on to target a nine-year-old boy for repeated abuse during which he let the youngster look at pornographic magazines and allowed him to drink beer and rum.
Victims were interviewed by police in recent years and Robertson, 86, of Colinton Place, Dundee, was charged with three offences of indecent behaviour and three of indecent assault between July 1973 and July 1987.
A judge at the High Court in Edinburgh today ruled that Robertson committed the offences after an examination of the facts held in the absence of the accused.
Robertson, who has dementia and physical illnesses, was earlier found to be unfit to stand trial.
Lord Uist said: “I accept the clear and, in my judgement, honest evidence of all three complainers of what happened to them at the hands of the accused.”
He said: “I shall therefore make a finding that I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt as respects each charge on the indictment as amended that the accused did the act constituting the offence and that on the balance of probabilities there are no grounds for acquitting.”
He placed Robertson on the sex offenders’ register for five years and made no further order in the case.
The court heard that Robertson was a company captain with the BB for several years.
One victim told the court that he had joined at the age of 11 or 12 and knew Robertson as “skip”.
The man, now aged 58, said: “He was the main man. He was the top dog.”
He went to Boys’ Brigade camps at Bught Park, in Inverness, Luncarty in Perthshire and Scott Lodge in Angus and would visit Robertson at his Dundee allotment.
He said that following an inspection of the boys sharing a tent in Inverness the others were dismissed but he was asked to stay behind. Robertson then molested him.
On another occasion Robertson got into his sleeping bag and began touching him.
He also became a visitor to his allotment at Law Road, in Dundee, and was abused in a shed.
He said, as he grew older: “I worked out the allotment wasn’t about gardening for him it was about having one-to-one contact with me.
“Eventually I gave up and joined the Scouts, I chose to join the Scouts to get away from the BB.”
A second victim, also in the BB, said of Robertson: “He was a very approachable sort of person. Everybody seemed to like him.”
But he became the target for Robertson’s abuse at the summer camp in Inverness where he had to stay in the captain’s tent.
The man, now aged 56, said: “It all started off as sort of play. He would tickle me and try to make me laugh. Then he would slowly put his hand into my sleeping bag and then he would start caressing me.”
“He tried to make me comfortable with what he was doing then he would go a little further,” he said.
He said Robertson would also perform sex acts on himself and went on to have penetrative sex with him.
Robertson told him not to tell anyone and said that if he did he would not be believed.
The third victim was aged nine or ten when he met Robertson, who was no longer in the BB.
Robertson took him on fishing trips to Meigle in Perthshire and invited him to his allotment where sexual abuse occurred.
The man said that he has twice attempted suicide and a hospital psychiatrist told him he would have to report the abuse to the police.
‘No one should be afraid of speaking out’
A prominent children’s charity has issued a stark warning to monsters like Colin Robertson and insisted they can’t “hide” from prosecution.
Laurie Matthew, of Eighteen and Under, said the conviction shows that children should not be afraid to speak out – no matter how much time has passed.
Ms Matthew, who manages the charity which offers support for young people and children who have experienced any form of abuse or violence, said: “This clearly shows that no matter how much time passes, people who carry out these horrific crimes will be caught and will be brought to justice.
“This gives young people hope that these men will be caught and their crimes will be treated seriously.
“There is no place for these men to hide and their crimes will be dealt with appropriately.
“It also sends a real message to young people, or people who have been abused, that they will be believed.
“So often men who commit these horrific sexual crimes tell their victims that no one will believe them.
“They issue various threats and try to terrify the young person into reporting what has happened to them
“Young people must learn that they will be believed, no matter how long the passage of time.”
“It is never too late to report abuse of this nature and what has happened in this case shows that.
“Men who carry out this type of abuse will be caught and no one should be afraid of speaking out.”
The Boys’ Brigade was approached for comment but had not responded by the time of going to press.