Scoutmaster dodges jail after having ‘secret’ 10-month relationship with girl, 15

A scoutmaster who had a secret 10-month sexual relationship with a schoolgirl was let off jail today after a sheriff said there was no suggestion his teenage victim hadn’t “consented”. 

Lewis Findlay, who led an “Explorers” troop in the Scouts, was 23 years old at the time. His victim was 15.

Falikirk Sheriff Court heard that the girl, who had known Findlay since she was 12, had initially thought his interest in her was “one of support”. 

But in November 2018, at his home in Bo’ness, West Lothian, while his girlfriend was abroad and his mother was also away leaving them alone in the house together, the Scout leader made advances as they sat on his bed watching a film – telling her, “Just let it happen”.

Prosecutor Mrs Alex Kirk said the girl was hesitant and uncomfortable, but agreed to sex “as she didn’t want it to be awkward”.

The following month he had full sex with her again, this time in his car parked in a lonely layby, and the situation developed to the point where the girl thought they were “seeing each other” and they had sex “a couple of times a month” in Findlay’s car parked in laybys on back roads in Stirlingshire and West Lothian.

Sheriff Simon Collins QC sentenced Findlay to 300 hours of unpaid work, placed him under social work supervision and on the sex offenders’ register for three years, ordered him to take part in the Scottish Government’s “Moving Forward, Making Changes” programme for sex offenders if directed, and banned him from having any unsupervised contact with children under 16.

He said the offences had been “an abuse” of Findlay “position of relative seniority” in the Scout Association.

He said: “Although unlawful because of your respective ages it is not suggested the complainer did not consent to the sexual activity.

“I have seriously considered whether the public interest requires that you be given a prison sentence.

“With some hesitation, I am satisfied that it does not, and that there is a proper community-based alternative.”

Findlay, who had arrived at court with a bag packed for jail, refused to comment to a reporter as he walked free from the building.