February 2017

Cadet instructor preyed on young girls in his care

An army cadet instructor plagued his young charges with demands for private meetings, sexual acts and explicit pictures and video.

Jack Ewan, from Perth, targeted a number of schoolgirls over a three-month period before a major police investigation brought his predatory activities to an end.

He bullied and badgered the girls in his care into submitting to his sickening demands, which were made through social media.

Appearing at the city’s sheriff court, Ewan was placed on the sex offenders register for two years and put under the supervision of criminal justice social workers.

Sheriff Simon Collins told the 19-year-old that he had been guilty of a gross breach of trust and of “abusing his position of authority”.

A major police investigation was launched after it emerged an army cadet instructor had been seeking sexual contact with underage girls.

Jack Ewan preyed on the girls for months, bombarding them with social media requests for night-time liaisons near their homes.

Perth Sheriff Court heard he repeatedly asked the girls, all aged 14, to meet him and perform sexual acts upon him, refusing to accept no for an answer.

When the young cadets turned him down time and again he switched to requests for sexually explicit images.

One girl, finally bullied and browbeaten into submission, sent a short video of herself committing a sexual act.

Within minutes, he had replied to her, attaching a sexually explicit file that appeared to show him engaged in a solo sex act.

At the same time, he was also targeting a second girl with requests for meetings and “a dirty”, which the girl took to mean naked pictures or videos.

The court was told each social media message had been accompanied by a “winking emoji face”.

On this occasion, the girl refused all his requests and blocked him from her social media account because she thought he was being “inappropriate”.

Matters finally came to light in September when the parents of a third girl contacted the cadet headquarters to speak with the organisation’s child protection officer.

Though there was no evidence of criminality in the contact, they were concerned by the communication due to the accused being 19 and the girl just 14.

He was reported to the police and immediately suspended from his duties.

Ewan initially denied most of the allegations, though he admitted contacting two youngsters and accepted that he had been aware of the girls’ ages when he messaged them in secret.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to charges relating to two girls and, through his actions, committing sexual offences.

“He is a young man who has never been in trouble before. He does however suffer from this condition and because of that he can act inappropriately,” he said.

Ewan, of Allison Crescent, admitted that on dates between July 1 2016 and September 7 2016 he sent a girl messages requesting that she carry out sexual acts on him and requested that she sent an indecent photograph or video of herself.

He also admitted communicating with a second girl and requesting that she send indecent images of herself to him.

Ewan was given a community payback order requiring him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and engage with social workers for the next two years.

He was also placed on the sex offenders register.