Tayside and Central Scotland

Former US Marine jailed for sexually abusing three children

James Ledbetter Image copyright Iain McLellan/Spindrift
Image caption James Ledbetter is likely to be deported to the US after his release from prison

A former US marine who was convicted of the sexual abuse of two boys and a girl has been jailed for 12 years.

James Ledbetter, 51, abused the children in the US and Scotland over a 14-year period.

Ledbetter denied all the charges, claiming his victims were lying, but was found guilty by a jury in February.

The High Court in Glasgow was told that Ledbetter, from Falkirk, is likely to be deported to the US after serving his prison sentence.

Judge Lord Burns also ordered Ledbetter to be monitored in the community for five years after his release from custody and placed him on the sex offenders register for life.

Although the majority of the offences took place in Texas between 1997 and 2005, a deal was struck between US prosecutors and the Crown Office that the case should be tried in Scotland.

Ledbetter's offences came to light when one of his victims went to the police in 2015.

'Traumatic experiences'

The trial heard that he would give the children Playstation games and money to buy sweets after sexually abusing them. Defence QC Ian Duguid said: "He will be a much older man when he gets out of prison.

"He accepts that these offences will have have caused traumatic experiences for all three children concerned.

"Mr Ledbetter's position now is that he accepts some of the abuse, but not all of it.

"He says his recollection of events in unclear because he had a drink problem from 1994 to 2014."

Lord Burns told Ledbetter: "The jury convicted you of very serious sexual abuse on three children over a period of 14 years.

"One boy was abused from the age of six.

"It is impossible to estimate the consequences your actions will have on these unfortunate individuals."

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