June 2014

Belfast man who abused child as a teenager avoids jail

A Belfast man who sexually abused a child in a sweet shop, in bushes at a public park and in a derelict building has avoided being sent to jail.

Scott McCutcheon (30), of Roslyn Street in the city – who was a child himself when he started abusing the younger boy – appeared in the dock of Belfast Crown Court, where he admitted seven charges of indecent assault and three of gross indecency.

The offending, which spanned a period from January 1998 to February 2004, was carried out in east Belfast.

The court heard the victim, who was 11 when he was first targeted by the then 14-year-old McCutcheon, was a “vulnerable” child with mental health issues who continues to receive psychiatric treatment.

Judge David McFarland said he hoped McCutcheon’s guilty pleas would vindicate the victim.

The judge handed McCutcheon a two-year prison sentence, which was suspended for three years.

October 2005

Cadet instructor jailed for abuse

A 21-year-old Sea Cadet instructor has been jailed for six and a half years for sexually abusing two teenagers.

Scott McCutcheon, of Roslyn Street in Belfast, was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.

He was convicted last month of 13 charges of indecent assault and gross indecency involving two cadets, now 18.

After sentencing, one of his victims spoke of his “total relief” McCutcheon had been jailed for the abuse, which took place in a cadet training centre.

Sentencing McCutcheon, Judge Kevin Finnegan said he had “acted like a predator”.

The judge said the case’s victim impact reports made “sorry reading”.

He told McCutcheon: “Two young men have been affected for life by your activities.”

The judge said that although “a young man’s best years are possibly in his 20s, there’s nothing left for me to do but take a number of years away from you”.

At his trial, the jury heard that the abuse took place at the former Calvin Street Sea Cadet premises, known as the Training Ship Formidable in east Belfast.

Younger cadets

McCutcheon had risen through the ranks since he joined the Sea Cadets at the age of 12.

The court heard he had used his rank as cadet instructor to order the younger cadets into either a store or classroom to sexually assault them on different occasions.

During his trial, the boys claimed that they felt obliged to follow McCutcheon’s orders because he held the more senior rank.

In September, he was convicted of a number of offences which took place between June 2000 and November 2003.

Speaking after Friday’s sentencing, one of his victims said he had been so traumatised by his ordeal and the “hell” of having to give evidence against his abuser, he had dropped out of his university degree.