August 2011

Galashiels youth worker jailed over webcam indecency

A youth project support worker who indecently exposed himself to two 13-year-old girls via a computer webcam has been jailed for 20 months.

James Mitchell, 29, of Langlee Drive, Galashiels, was also placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

He was immediately suspended from his post when the offences came to light following the concerns of a colleague.

He admitted six offences of lewd and libidinous behaviour towards girls between January 1999 and March 2010.

Selkirk Sheriff Court heard the offences also included indecently exposing himself to an 11-year-old primary school pupil.

Procurator fiscal Morag McLintock told the court how in the summer of 2009 a 13-year-old girl had joined the Galashiels Action for Teenage Enablement project where Mitchell was a popular member of staff.

He exchanged contact details with the girl and said he would text her before sending her his webcam details where she could view him.

Ms McLintock said that on one occasion Mitchell asked the girl if she was alone but a friend later appeared in the background.

She continued: “He appeared on the webcam wearing no clothes on his upper body.

“There was some discussion from the accused requesting meeting in the basement of the GATE project premises.

“The complainer felt he was trying it on with her and told him he was being weird.

“She told him he might lose his job as he was a youth worker and she was 13.”

The fiscal said Mitchell made suggestive comments to the girl but they were declined.

He then stood up in front of the webcam where it became clear he was completely naked.