A man who became a scout leader so he could prey on young boys has been jailed for abusing vulnerable young scouts.
Michael Medhurst, 61, pleaded guilty at a Leicester Crown Court trial in January and yesterday received a custodial sentence of five years and four months.
Medhurst was convicted of 10 counts of indecent assault against boys under 16 and one count of gross indecency against a boy under 14.
All offences took place between 1981 and 1987 and relate to victims from the Birmingham area, although some offences are thought to have been committed in the Castle Donington area.
Bravery of Survivors after a Shocking Abuse of Trust
During the trial, the court heard how Medhurst became a scout leader with the sole purpose of befriending young scouts and gaining the trust of their parents.
Leicestershire Police paid tribute to the courage shown by Medhurst’s victims who have suffered in silence for years. Chief investigating officer, Det Con Jamie Carr, said: “The victims in the case have shown incredible bravery in coming forward to talk to us and report what Medhurst subjected them to.”
Mr Carr also described how Medhurst abused the trust of scouts and parents alike, saying:"Medhurst abused his victims over many years, befriending them and building up trusting relationships with them and their families - using his position of trust as a scout leader to do so.
"This has been an emotional time for the victims in this case, who have been dealing with the abuse secretly and the conclusion hopefully offers some comfort."
As Medhurst committed his appalling crimes when he worked as a scout leader, it is possible for the Scout Association to be held liable in any civil claims. Under the principle of ‘vicarious liability’, an employer can be held liable for the wrongful actions of an employee – or anyone with whom the employer has a relationship akin to employment – if those actions were carried out in connection with the relationship of employment or akin to employment.
The Scout Association issued an apology in 2014 to all former scouts who had been abused.
Jessica Standley is a personal injury solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London, specialising in child abuse claims.
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