A kirk-going police officer has been warned to stay away from his church after he sexually assaulting a girl during a cinema showing of The Hobbit.
Disgraced Steven Kellock, 40, pawed the 15-year-old and thrust his hand under her top during a screening of the blockbuster at the Vue cinema, Ocean Terminal.
The kirk elder was placed on the sex offenders register after admitting the crime and now faces being kicked out of the police.
His Police Scotland colleagues are also understood to have warned him to stay away from Dunbar Parish Church for fear of violent retaliation after some families threatened to “batter” him if he shows his face again.
One member of the church said: “He has effectively been told that he is no longer welcome at the church and the police have told him the same thing.
“There are families who have said that if he did try and come to the church they would batter him.
“What he did was completely out of order. He cannot say that he did not know what the laws are.”
The girl was part of an 18-strong group meant to be on an enjoyable Christmas outing to see the Lord of the Rings prequel.
Kellock volunteered to drive after a responsible adult cancelled due to illness.
Fiscal depute Pauline Shade told Edinburgh Sheriff Court that Kellock was sitting next to the girl when he began stroking her leg in the darkened surrounds.
She said: “She was not concerned, she thought of it as being a friendly gesture and nothing else.”
Kellock then moved his hand to her upper thigh. “At this point the girl felt things were going too far and became uncomfortable,” said Ms Shade.
The teenager turned her back on him, but he began touching her on the arms and legs, then placed his hand under her top and rubbed her stomach.
The girl got up and went to the toilet, but when she returned Kellock again started touching her. At one point she pretended she needed to answer her mobile to get away, but the shamed officer continued to caress her arm when she came back.
Kellock confronted the girl during the car journey home, telling her: “What happened earlier was out of line.” He told her he would have stopped if she had “said so”.
However, when they stopped at a petrol station, the distraught teenager texted a friend about her ordeal. They then alerted the victim’s parents who called police.
He told police superiors “I am not a bad man” before they later suspended him. He now faces being sacked for misconduct.
Kellock’s fall from grace has also seen him effectively banned from attending Dunbar Parish Church where he was an elder.
The father-of-two is also understood to have marital problems since the sex attack on December 16 and no longer lives with his wife.
Sheriff Roderick Macleod deferred sentence for background reports until May following yesterday’s court hearing. He ordered Kellock to register as a sex offender.
Reverend Gordon Stevenson, of Dunbar Parish Church, said: “The church acted swiftly and appropriately, and have dealt with the matter.”