A former teacher who ruined pupils lives by subjecting them to a catalogue of sexual abuse over nearly two decades has been jailed for three years.
Andrew Wilson was also placed on the sex offenders register for the rest of his life after he admitted starting abusing children in his care almost 50 years ago.
Victims wept and embraced outside court after Wilson was finally brought to justice more than a decade after he was first investigated by police.
‘Abused position over and over again’
Sheriff Gillian Wade said: “You come before the court as a first offender at 74 years of age, but you have been convicted of a catalogue of indecent assaults upon three schoolboys aged between 12 and 16 at the time the offences were perpetrated against them.
“Your abuse of these children spanned 19 years, during which time you were a secondary school teacher and in a position of relative power and trust.”
She said: “You abused that position over and over again. You took them on rock climbing and hillwalking trips which were intended to be enjoyable, life enhancing experiences.
“Instead, you took the opportunity to perpetrate assaults on them. One victim was repeatedly abused in the classroom which is supposed to be a safe environment.”
Sheriff Wade added: “As a result his education was impacted and he left school in fourth year despite previously being a high achiever who enjoyed education. It has had a lifelong effect on him.
“The long-term psychological impact suffered by the victims cannot be over-estimated and any sentence must reflect that.
“Your conduct caused serious long-term harm and you took advantage of a position of trust for your own sexual gratification.”
Wilson – who was first investigated in 2008 – admitted carrying out sex attacks on three boys aged between 12 and 16 during a 19-year period.
The computing teacher was struck off in 2011 after an investigation into his behaviour but it took a further decade for him to be convicted in a criminal court.
Wilson, Wemysshall Road, Ceres, Fife, admitted carrying out the sex attacks – including some in the classroom – when he appeared in the dock at Perth Sheriff Court.
He admitted indecently assaulting a 12-year-old boy in Dunkeld, Perthshire, between 1 August 1974 and 31 June 1977, and on various occasions between 1 August 1987 and 31 July 1991 at Arbroath High School he indecently assaulted a 12-year-old boy.
Wilson also admitted that on various occasions between 1 August 1990 and 31 July 1993 at Arbroath High School and other locations he indecently assaulted a 12-year-old boy.
Wilson was working as a computing teacher at Arbroath High School when he was struck off by the General Teaching Counsel for Scotland in February 2011.
He admitted that he had repeatedly rubbed one boy’s thigh over the course of two years around 20 years earlier, although he denied there had been anything “sexual” intended in the contact.
Despite his denials, the disciplinary panel found his behaviour towards the boy – then aged between 12 and 16 – was “lewd, indecent and libidinous.”
Mr Wilson had also conceded that his actions would be “inappropriate in today’s climate,” the GTCS sub-committee heard.
The sub-committee was told that he had first been interviewed about the allegations by police in May 2008.
The teacher faced two charges from the GTCS – the first that he had used “inappropriate behaviour” towards the pupil between August 1989 and June 1991, including brushing and squeezing his thigh.
The second accused him of rubbing the boy’s thigh and his genitals over his clothing between August 1990 and May 1991.
Both the charges were found to be proven by the GTCS board.
The panel said: “The sub-committee found the complainer to be reliable and credible in his evidence.
“Although there were a number of inconsistencies in his detailed recollection of events, the sub-committee was persuaded that the respondent had been in the habit of touching him on the thigh inappropriately.”
As well as being removed from the teaching register, the GTCS committee recommended that the Scottish government consider disqualifying Mr Wilson from working with children.
He was banned from applying to rejoin the teaching register for a year and it is understood that he never returned to teaching after the ruling.
‘Abuse of trust’
Yesterday his counsel, Kenneth Cloggie, said: “The abuse of his position of trust is the main aggravating factor. He gave himself permission to commit offences by minimising the abuse of trust.
“He somehow persuaded himself that his behaviour was not serious in terms of the impact on his victims. The emotional impact is the real damage that has been done.
“He acknowledges the selfish nature of the offending which was for his sexual gratification.”
Wilson’s victims declined to comment outside the court yesterday.