Midlothian pervert Scout leader jailed for dressing boys up as Native Americans and painting their genitals

Love had denied any wrongdoing and stood trial on indictment at Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Love had denied any wrongdoing and stood trial on indictment at Edinburgh Sheriff Court
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A pensioner who sexually assaulted young boys when he was their Scout troop leader has been jailed for three years.

Bruce Love used his hands to cover the youngsters in the body paint when the children were part of a Scout ‘Red Indian’ dance troop.

Love, 82, smeared the red dye over the boys genitals while they stood naked in his bath at his former home in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, in the 1960s and 70s.

He was in charge of a troop for around a decade and activities included youngsters dancing out Native American storylines while he banged a drum at events in Fife and Midlothian.

Love had denied any wrongdoing and stood trial on indictment at Edinburgh Sheriff Court earlier this year where he was eventually found guilty of six charges of using lewd and libidinous practices towards boys under his care.

Six male victims, now all in their 50s, gave evidence to the court stating they had been abused by Love when they were aged 11 and 12 years old.

One man said Love lured him to his former cottage in Bonnyrigg and “checked to see if I was ticklish” before stripping him naked and putting him over his knee.

A second victim told the jury Love had exposed himself and committed an indecent act in front of the lad during a Scout camp near Moffat.

While a third man, who is related to Love, said the shamed Scout master “cupped my genitals” while he smeared the paint over the his naked body.

Love returned to the dock for sentencing and Sheriff Robert Fife told him he had carried out “a grave breach of trust” while he had been in charge of the boys.

Sheriff Fife added: “The evidence heard in court was that you were an authoritarian and you were strict and the boys did what they were told.

“You used that authority to isolate these boys and these boys were violated by you. My impression is that the six boys were chosen by you and abused by you.

“The law has eventually caught up with you. Your disgrace is complete. You continue to deny the charges and there is no remorse.

“Because of the gravity of the offences there is no alternative to a custodial sentence.”

Love, now of Eastleigh, Southampton, was jailed for three years and placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

Previously the court heard that Love set up the ‘Red Indian’ dance events and would invite the youngster’s to his home where he would get them to stand naked in the bath one at a time.

He would then daub the boys’ bodies in the red paint including smearing the liquid between their buttocks and over their genitals.

One victim, now 55, told the jury Love abused him following a dance rehearsal at the Scout Hall in Bonnyrigg in the 1970s.

The man, who was aged between 11 and 13 at the time, said: “Mr Love took me back to his own place to put body paint on me after the rehearsal. I remember being asked to go back.

“We went into the front room and Mr Love shut the curtains and said he wanted to see if I was ticklish.

“He asked me to undress and when I had nothing on Mr Love started painting my genitals.”

The man added he felt “uncomfortable with it” and after leaving the cottage he “remembered running home as I was frightened”.

All the victims told the court they did not tell anyone about Love’s conduct at the time of the offending due to their age.

But two years ago one victim made a complaint to the police after he divulged what had happened to him to his wife.

Police then contacted more men who had been in the scout group at the time and a further five confessed they had been subjected to the historical sex abuse.

Love admitted to the jury he would paint the boys’ bodies before the dance performances but denied he had touched any of them sexually or inappropriately.

Love denied any of the boys attended at his home alone and said all the sexual abuse described the victims “didn't happen”.

But the jury decided the OAP was lying and returned unanimous guilty verdicts to six charges of using lewd and libidinous practices towards children at the Scout Hall in Bonnyrigg and at other locations between December 21, 1969 and January 18, 1978.

Love was found guilty of inducing the boys to remove their clothing, handling their genitals and applying paint to their penis, testicles and buttocks during several incidents in Bonnyrigg, Moffat, Seil Island and the Orkneys.