April 2017

Bournemouth scout leader jailed for 41-year child abuse

A former scout leader has been jailed for nine years for abusing boys over a 41-year period.

Paul Cherrett, 62, of King Richard Drive, Bournemouth, admitted 18 charges including indecent assaults and possessing indecent photos.

The offences, against nine boys between 1975 and 2016, took place at Scout camps and other locations.

The judge at Bournemouth Crown Court said Cherrett’s crimes would live with his victims forever.

The court heard Cherrett’s offending was finally discovered when a CCTV camera was triggered by a motion sensor in the tuck shop at Butchers Coppice Scout Camp in Bournemouth.

The camera sent alerts including still images to a senior scout leader’s mobile phone.

The CCTV images showed Cherrett acting inappropriately with a boy.

It led to a charge of sexual activity with a child, which Cherrett admitted in August 2016.

Following a police appeal, a further eight victims came forward, leading to another 17 guilty pleas on Friday.

The court heard boys were sexually abused and forced to stand naked at Scout locations in the Bournemouth area and at camps abroad.

Police also found 35 indecent images of children on Cherrett’s computer equipment.

Judge Peter Johnson said: “Some of your victims were as young as eight or nine. You caused them immense harm.”

The Scout Association said Cherrett had always held a “full and valid” Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

Spokesman Simon Carter said: “Neither we nor the police hold any records relating to his service with the association that showed that previous allegations had been made detailing any inappropriate behaviour. “

He said the case was being reviewed “in light of the information revealed in the victim statements” to see if any Scouting volunteers had known about the abuse.

April 2017

Scout leader faces ‘lengthy’ prison sentence for “campaign of sexual abuse” on boys in his care

THE victims of a former Scout leader say he was free to abuse boys for decades after bosses of the organisation allowed him to continue volunteering, a court has heard.

Paul Cherrett, of King Richard Drive in Bournemouth, carried out a “campaign of sexual abuse” on boys in his care at the Butchers Coppice Scout camp and Avon Tyrrell activity centre over the course of 40 years.

A court heard he invented games which would allow him to touch youngsters and handed out chocolate to boys who stripped naked for him during rehearsals for ‘gang shows’.

Others were straddled and groped as they completed sit-ups or told to strip off and sit on Cherrett’s lap.

Boys were also told to remove their shorts and underwear as part of ‘first aid training’.

During the session, Cherrett touched their groins to show them where to feel their pulse, it has been claimed.

His behaviour was so prolific that when one victim was called into the ‘leader’s room’ in the late 1980s, a friend said: “It’s your turn”, it was heard.

Fears over Cherrett’s conduct with young boys had been raised with his superiors at the Scout Association in the early 1980s.

After bosses were made aware, he was banned from leading meetings.

However, he continued to act as treasurer for the organisation in Bournemouth and even worked at the Butchers Coppice tuck shop.

The child of a victim abused more than 30 years ago had recently bought sweets from Cherrett.

Police were contacted by Scout leaders in early 2016 when “disturbing” footage of the defendant abusing a boy was recorded on CCTV.

Officers then appealed for other victims to come forward.

As a result, a further eight victims contacted police.

Cherrett, 62, has now admitted 10 counts of indecent assault of a male person, three of indecency with a child and four of possessing indecent images of children.

He also pleaded guilty to indecently touching a male aged 14 or under, which relates to the offence committed last year.

The defendant appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court on Thursday.

Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, told a judge the abuse spanned 40 years, with the earliest offences committed in 1975.

Victim impact statements were then read aloud.

One of the abused boys said complaints were ignored.

“One word: ridiculous,” he said.

Another of those targeted by Cherrett said: “How have the Scouts let this happen?

“Absolutely disgraceful.”

Mitigating, Kevin Hill said Cherrett, a retired accountant, had admitted all offences at the earliest opportunity.

Cherrett, who has no previous convictions, has displayed remorse and given “some insight into his offending behaviour and the reason for it,” Mr Hill said.

“The case has had a significant impact on Mr Cherrett’s own family as well,” the barrister said.

The defendant, who was remanded into custody, will be sentenced on Tuesday.

Judge Peter Johnson warned he faces a prison sentence “of some length”.

Cherrett joined the Scouting movement in 1972 when he became an assistant Cub Scout leader for the 21st Bournemouth Scout Group.

He worked in this role until 1977 before volunteering as the assistant district commissioner for the Bournemouth West District until 1988.

He returned in the role of district Scout active support member at Butchers Coppice in 2010.

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