A nursery worker who raped a three-year-old boy and sexually abused a girl has been jailed for eight years.
Mark Maclennan’s “sickening course of conduct” also saw him collect indecent images of children.
The 30-year-old, from Bath, Somerset, was jailed at the High Court in Edinburgh today after being convicted of the charges by a jury in Glasgow last month.
The boy was attacked at a nursery in the Highlands while the girl was targeted in the central Scotland and Fife areas when she was aged between 12 and 15.
Judge John Morris QC handed Maclennan an extended sentence involving an eight-year jail term and another two years of supervision upon his release from prison.
Detective Inspector Alicen Winston, Police Scotland’s senior investigating officer, praised the courage of the family who brought the case to light.
She said afterwards: “This case initially came to police attention following the bravery displayed by the family of a child victim who reported Mark Maclennan, then working at a private nursery in the Highland area, to social work services. This matter was then subsequently reported to Police Scotland.
“The resulting police investigation identified a number of other young victims and established a sickening course of conduct involving sexual abuse and the collating of indecent images involving children which were collated prior to 2010.”
She went on: “These appalling crimes were committed by an individual who breached the trust of families who sought to leave their children in a safe and secure environment.”
Local area commander chief inspector Colin Gough added: “As a result of the tremendous courage and patience shown by all of the families involved, Mark Maclennan has been brought to justice and removed from society.
“As with all child abuse investigations we work in partnership with other agencies to protect the public. In this particular case, this involved our partners Highland Council, NHS Highland, Care Inspectorate and Children 1st.
“I hope that this conviction and sentence will bring some comfort to the victims and families involved in this case, and give confidence to anyone who feels that they may have information of similar events to come forward in the knowledge that their case will be sensitively and thoroughly investigated in a victim-centred manner.”