Heriot-Watt professor described as 'master manipulator' after sexually assaulting string of male students
AN academic who was described as a “master manipulator” has been convicted of sexually assaulting a string of young male students.
Professor Kevin O’Gorman, 45, abused a total of eight young men whilst working at Strathclyde and Heriot-Watt universities between 2006 and 2014.
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how O’Gorman abused his position of privilege to prey on vulnerable students who hoped to gain entry to advanced degrees.
The court heard O’Gorman targeted those who needed help and managed to convince them that they couldn’t succeed without his assistance.
He said that he had been whipped at least ten times which left O’Gorman “out of breath and red faced.”
Another complainer described, how over the course of a Skype call, he was made to stand in a corner and beat himself on the bottom with a wooden spoon.
O’Gorman, of Milngavie, near Glasgow, denied a total of 19 charges against 11 young men.
On Wednesday, Sheriff Noble acquitted O’Gorman on three of the allegations and convicted him on all other charges.
The judge told O’Gorman that he believed that prosecutors had led enough evidence to justify convicting him.
“I do not believe the account which you gave in which you claimed that these encounters were consensual.
“Your evidence differed greatly from the accounts of the complainers.
“I accordingly find you guilty.”
The verdicts came at the end of a set of proceedings which began earlier this year.
The academic was the director of Heriot-Watt’s School of Management and Languages.
One victim told the court that he first met O’Gorman in 2006. The 32-year-old man said that at the time he had suffered from mental health problems and had twice quit university.
During an online conversation with O’Gorman in 2009, the academic asked him about his return to university.
O’Gorman told him he had “screwed up” and would “definitely need to be punished”.
In closing submissions, depute procurator fiscal Nicole Lavelle said O’Gorman claims to be following Adam Smith’s example was incredible.
She added: “This was not a bizarre mindfulness technique but a criminal act done for sexual gratification.”
Following conviction, Ms Lavelle said that O’Gorman was a first offender.
Defence advocate Niall McCluskey told Sheriff Noble that because his client hadn’t previously offended, the court was obliged to obtain reports on his character and background.
Sentencing will take place on 18 September.