Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow youth worker jailed over child sex abuse

James Campbell Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption James Campbell ran a project aimed at helping youngsters escape gang culture

A former youth worker convicted of sexually abusing two boys aged five and 14 has been ordered to serve at least five years in jail.

James Campbell, from Glasgow, was placed on a lifelong restriction order by judge Tom Hughes QC because of the danger he poses to the public.

The 58-year-old ran a YMCA project group aimed at helping troubled youths escape gang culture.

The offences were committed between 1992 and 1997.

Sentencing Campbell at the High Court in Glasgow, the judge said: "You were working as a youth worker and had access to both victims. You used your position of trust to carry out these offences.

"It is a matter of great concern that your employers were made aware of concerns from fellow workers and nothing was done about the matter."

When police officers raided Campbell's home they found 187,000 images of child sex abuse, including 50 photographs of the 14-year-old he abused.

Jurors heard how he contacted the 14-year-old victim, now 37, on Facebook in 2015, with a message that read: "Thanks for replying. Don't deserve it really. Been trying to find you since 1998 on and off. Well, sorry for the past."

'Lost soul'

Campbell claimed he first met the boy at Maryhill Burgh hall and offered him and his friend money to move a washing machine.

He said he paid the boy each week to wash the stairs in his close.

But the victim told the jury that Campbell made sexual and inappropriate remarks to him and offered money for sex acts.

Campbell's other victim was just five and described as a "a lost soul" when he was abused at the community centre where Campbell's YMCA project was based.

The victim, who is now 26, had £300 under his bed - "bribe" money which Campbell had given him.

But Campbell described both victims as "liars" and claimed they stole the cash from him.

'Gut instinct'

James Little, a careers advisor at the project run by Campbell from 1996 to 1997, said he had contacted the police over concerns for the five-year-old in 1998 - but nothing was done.

Mr Little told prosecutor Kath Harper: "He seemed untouchable. Any concerns were swept under the carpet no matter how many times myself and others went to the YMCA about him."

He added: "I saw that little boy outside the project building and inside the project building quite a lot. He would always be in the office area with Mr Campbell.

"My gut instinct was he shouldn't be there. The project was for 12 to 20-year-olds. When I challenged the young boy being there it was rubbished or dismissed."

Campbell admitted possession of the child sex abuse images

He has been placed on the sex offenders' register.