Former head of gay charity guilty of sex attacks on children
Eight members of a paedophile ring, including the former head of LGBT Youth Scotland, were today found guilty of more than 50 child abuse images and abuse charges.
After deliberating for ten hours over two days, a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh found James Rennie, 38, guilty of sex attacks on children.
Rennie, who worked with children in his post, was found guilty of abusing one child over a four-year period. The child was three months old when the abuse began.
Convicted sex offender Neil Strachan, 41, was convicted of attempting to rape an 18-month-old boy in Edinburgh on New Year’s Eve in 2005. An image of the attack came to be known as the Hogmanay Image in court.
Strachan was also convicted of repeatedly touching a six-year-old boy indecently on the same night.
Rennie was convicted of two charges of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by accessing insecure internet connections.
A jury of 14 men and women found the pair guilty of conspiring to abuse children, along with three other men. One jury member had been discharged during the trial.
Ross Webber, 27, Craig Boath, 24, from Dundee and John Milligan, 40, of Glasgow, were all found guilty of conspiring to participate in the sexual abuse of children along with Strachan and Rennie. They were also convicted of child porn offences.
Colin Slaven, 23, from Edinburgh and Neil Campbell, 46 and John Murphy, 44, both from Glasgow, were also found guilty of child abuse images offences. Campbell was cleared of a charge of conspiracy.
All eight men were convicted for possessing and making indecent images. Seven of them were found to have distributed images, although a charge of distribution against Slaven was withdrawn.
Nearly 125,000 indecent images were seized during Operation Algebra, which uncovered the internet group.
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The men had used web cameras and other means to plot and take part in sexual offences, including rape.
The offences were committed in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and East Lothian between February 2004 to May 2008.
It is believed to be Scotland’s biggest paedophile network.
Rennie previously admitted to police that he looked at images of child abuse. He said: “I have discovered I have a somewhat addictive personality to sex. I just find it difficult and when I am not busy I kind of fall into a pattern of looking for sexual activity of all sorts.”
When arrested he told the police: “Today I know I have lost just about everything I have worked so hard for a long time. I knew this day was coming.”
Rennie was suspended from his post in December 2007 and resigned in February 2008.