Tayside and Central Scotland

Former Salvation Army officer who assaulted teenagers sentenced

James McManus Image copyright Tim Bugler
Image caption James McManus was ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work in the community

A former Salvation Army officer who assaulted six young people in his care at a Stirlingshire children's home has been given a community sentence.

James McManus admitted striking four boys and two girls on the head, and seizing or pulling the girls' hair.

The incidents occurred at the former Dock Street Children's Home in Carronshore, Falkirk, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

McManus, 68, was ordered to complete 240 hours of unpaid work.

He had changed his plea to guilty during the fourth day of his trial at Stirling Sheriff Court in May.

McManus, of Renfrew, was officer-in-charge at the home and the children were aged between 12 and 16.

'Different era'

Five of the children were assaulted on one occasion and one child was struck on the head and seized by the neck by McManus on various occasions at the home between January 1983 and February 1984.

The trial heard that children at the home were "frightened" of McManus, who weighed 26 stone at the time and would go about his work wearing his Salvation Army uniform.

McManus's advocate, Edith Forrest, said her client had "suffered a totally unacceptable loss of composure in the face of challenging behaviour by the children".

Sheriff Wyllie Robertson told McManus: "Much has been said about the fact that this happened in a 'different era', and indeed that is probably true.

"But what you did would never have been acceptable, even in relation to any form of discipline.

"Assaulting these complainers, vulnerable boys and girls in the home, wouldn't have been acceptable in any circumstances, even then."

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