February 2015

Nursery manager who raped three-year-old boy & sexually assaulted a schoolgirl is jailed for just 8 years

Mark-MacLennan-nursery-boss

A nursery manager who raped a three-year-old boy and sexually abused a teenage girl has been sentenced to eight years in jail.

Mark Maclennan was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow after a jury trial found him guilty of three charges.

He was also found guilty of possessing child abuse images.

Maclennan, 30, who was represented by Donald Findlay QC, denied all the charges, some of which were alleged to have taken place at a Lochaber nursery where he worked.

Separate charges of sexually abusing another three-year-old boy and a girl aged between four and five at the nursery were not proven.

Judge John Morris QC ordered Maclennan to spend a further two years under close supervision after his jail term.

Sentencing Maclennan, Judge Morris said: “These crimes constitute a gross breach of trust, both of these young people were entitled to feel safe in your charge.

“Your activities have had a profound effect on the lives of the first complainer. Your second victim is still a very young child but his parents have expressed their concern about his subsequent behaviour.

“Your crimes of a particularly vile nature. Only a substantial prison sentence is appropriate.”

The judge also placed him on the sex offenders register.

The trial saw interviews with three young children played to the court as well as evidence from their mothers and a university student, who said Maclennan abused her at drama club in Stirling.

The court heard a three-year-old tell boy told police that Maclennan had abused him at the nursery.

He was found guilty of raping the boy between August 1, 2012 and May 23, 2013.

During the trial the mother of the boy who was raped told the court that her son was very upset on May 22, 2013, and added: “On May 23 he told me something while we were at home watching television. It was an alarming statement.”

Advocate depute Kath Harper, prosecuting, said: “Was it about any person in particular,” and the mother replied: “Mark Maclennan.”

She was then asked what the nature of the remark was and said: “A sexual nature. I was making dinner and he just came out with it while he was watching television. I went over towards him and asked him to tell me again.”

The woman said that she then sent a text to her husband.

The court heard the couple contacted social services who then contacted the police.

The court was also shown a taped interview with the boy about the incident which happened between August 1, 2012 and May 23, 2013.

In the video recording, the boy was asked by PC Lyn Baptie about the incident and said: “Don’t like Mark.”

He is then asked: “What did you tell mummy and daddy about….about Mark?”

The boy replied that Maclennan had carried out a sexual act.

The jury found Maclennan also groped and sexually abused the girl when she was aged between 12 and 15 and attending a drama club, where he was a leader.

The victim, who is now 19, told the jury that the abuse happened between October 1, 2007 and July 31, 2010 at Stirling and Dunfermline.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she met Maclennan when she was involved in amateur dramatics.

He was a volunteer and acted as a chaperone for children taking part in productions.

January 2015

NURSERY boss has been convicted of raping a three-year-old in the centre where he worked

Mark Maclennan, 30, raped the three-year-old boy at an Inverness-shire nursery between August 2012 and May 2013.

The boy, who was three, was raped at a nursery in the Lochaber area.

He was also found guilty of sexually abusing a girl at drama rehearsals held in Stirling and Dunfermline and at her home in Dunblane between October 2007 and July 2010 when she was aged between 12 and 15 and he was acting as a chaperone for the theatre company.

Maclennan was cleared of a charge of sexually abusing a girl at the nursery when she was aged between four and five. The jury found that charge against him not proven.

He was also found guilty of having thousands of images of child abuse images on the computer he brought into the nursery to help the children with their IT skills and a further four on the laptop at his then home in Stirling.

The prosecutor added: “The indecent images and videos were on the computer and in the possession of the accused between February 22, 2009 and May 29, 2013.

“The vast majority were of girls aged about 12 to 16, but there were some indecent images of younger children under the age of 10.

A laptop computer was also seized from Maclennan’s then home at Alexandra Place, Stirling, and examined.

They found four indecent images of children under the age of 16 as well as search terms for child abuse images.

Judge John Morris QC told Maclennan: “Given what you have been convicted of a prison sentence is almost inevitable.”

Judge Morris remanded Maclennan in custody and deferred sentence until February 27 at the High court in Edinburgh for background reports.

The jury of nine women and six men took 90 minutes to reach their verdicts.

Afterwards judge Morris told therm: “This has been a very unpleasant case for all those involved.”

The inquiry into Maclennan was sparked after the three-year-old told his mother in graphic terms that he had been raped by him.

The boy’s mother said: “On May 23, 2013 he told me something while we were at home watching television.

“It was an alarming statement.”

Prosecutor Ms Harper said: “Was it about any person in particular,” and the mother replied: “Mark Maclennan.”

She was then asked what the nature of the remark was and said: “A sexual nature. I was making dinner and he just came out with it while he was watching television. I went over towards him and asked him to tell me again.”

The little boy also told his father what had happened and the police were contacted.

Under cross-examination by defence QC Donald Findlay the mother and father denied a suggestion that their son could have seen them having oral sex or could have watched pornography.

As a result of the boy’s remarks an investigation was launched and Maclennan was suspended from his job as nursery manages and letters were sent out to all parents.

Maclennan’s computer which was in the nursery was seized and thousands of indecent images of young girls under the age of 16 in erotic poses were discovered.

Advocate depute Kath Harper said: “It was apparent that Mark Maclennan has a sexual interest in children. He took advantage of their vulnerability.”

The court heard that as the result of the publicity generated by the inquiry into the nursery a woman came forward to say she had been abused by Maclennan while he was working as a chaperone at a drama school she attended.

The girl who is now a 19-year-old student that the alleged abuse began when Maclennan was fitting her for a costume for a panto at the MacRoberts Centre in Stirling.

She said he also abused her in her home after he gave her a lift and also during other rehearsals.

The court heard that the woman did not report any of the alleged incidents to the police until 2013, although she said she told her mother when she was 16.

The three-old’s parents and friends cried and hugged as the verdict was given.

Maclennan, who has been working in Bath as a carer, showed no emotion.