‘Little support’ for young victims of scout leader abuse

THE chief executive of a well-known charity which helped the victims of paedophile former scout leader David Burland, says they were let down by the community around them.

Burland, aged 54, was sentenced to 15 years in jail at Taunton Crown Court on Friday, having been found guilty by jurors of 33 sexual offences against three young boys and one girl between 1987 and 2010.

Deeming him to be a ‘significant risk in the future’, Judge Graham Hume-Jones also imposed an extended license period on the 54-year-old, meaning he will be monitored closely until he reaches the age of 75.

The terms of the licence mean he would return to custody if he committed further offences.

The judge said: “Not only was he in a position of trust, in that position he was highly regarded in the community and became friends with the families.

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“The parents of those children therefore committed their children to the defendant’s care, confident they would be safe, over many years.”

Telling the court that he had read statements made by Burland’s victims about the impacts of his crimes, he said ‘no-one could fail to be distressed’ by what they had written.

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The charity chief executive said the young victims had been let down by a community which had considered Burland to a pillar of society.

She said: “It has been very difficult for the children as they have had little support.

“It has been devastating for the families and everyone involved.

“The community believed he was a good scout leader. If the children had not reported the abuse to the police this could have gone on for another 20 years.

“There are a lot of children in Burnham who are very lucky [as a consequence].”

A spokesman for the Scout Association said: “The association is aware of the conviction of Burland on a number of very serious charges.

“It is a tragedy when an evil-minded adult abuses the trust placed in them as leaders.

“Parents are entitled to expect their children to be kept safe from harm whilst members of the scout movement.”

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