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Children's panel boss abused young victim before official meetings

Danial Ross, who was also a special constable, abused position of power to sexually abuse teenage boy in 1990s.

Court: Devine admitted the attack at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday.
© STV

A children’s panel chairman sexually abused a teenage boy before official meetings to decide the youngster's future.

The victim wept as he told a jury how Daniel Ross attacked him at the panel's Glasgow headquarters in the early 1990s. The now father-of-four recalled how Ross "groomed" him and went on to abuse him again before vital hearings.

Ross, who was also a special police constable, had by this time already preyed on another vulnerable boy he met through the children's panel and attacked a third young man.

The 62-year-old escaped justice for decades until one victim said the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal brought back memories of his ordeal and he went to police.

Ross, who is no longer involved with the panel system, denied the allegations at the High Court in Glasgow. But he was found of guilty of six sex charges after a week-long trial. Ross showed no emotion as he was remanded in custody pending sentencing next month.

Ross abused his senior position at the children's panel to prey on a teenage boy at the offices in the city's Albion Street in the 1990s. The witness recalled how, as a youngster, he had been in care since the age of 11 and was later expelled from school in second year.

He ended up before the children's panel due to his problems at the time. The victim, now aged 38, remembered Ross being in charge of meetings to discuss his future at the time. He told the jury: "At the start, I thought Mr Ross was quite a nice person. He came across that way."

The witness, however, said that changed shortly before a hearing when he was around 14. He recalled: "The first time, when I think back, it was like a grooming session. I was in a room and he put his hand on my lap. This was in the room just off where the panel was to be."

As Ross continued to molest the youngster, he told him that "because of his position" he would "deny" what happened. The witness remembered being "terrified" at the time. He said Ross then simply went on that day to chair the teenager's hearing but the abuse carried on, again before meetings at Albion Street.

The victim broke down giving evidence as he remembered a time burly Ross forcing himself upon him. He told the trial: "I was frightened of Mr Ross as he knew what home or wherever I was in. I was upset."

Ross had earlier abused another young boy between 1985 and 1988. He also met this victim through the children's panel. Ross then got him a job at a cafe he ran, giving him access to prey on the troubled youngster.

The victim said he was around 13 when the attacks began and that it became a "regular thing". The abuse occurred at the cafe in Glasgow's Mount Florida and at a flat in the city's Kinning Park.

The victim recalled the 80s hit China in your Hand by T'Pau often playing in the background when he was attacked. The man, now aged 42, told the court: "I felt as if I had no choice. It was just through fear and threats...the fear of being put into a kids' home.

"I was told that I was going to a home because I was having to go to the children's panel. It was always under that threat...he said that he could stop that happening."

He went on: "I just did not say no. I was basically a kid. I did not know any different."

Ross' first victim was sexually assaulted after they met at a gay club in the late 1970s. They later lived together at a flat in Glasgow's Ibrox, but the witness said: "I was very much like a slave.

"I did not have a life, compared to what I have achieved now, I had no life." The victim, now aged 55, later added: "He is evil - evil in every way. Danny never took me seriously with anything."

Police initially investigated Ross in 2001, but no charges were brought. However, in 2012, the victim Ross abused at the cafe again spoke with detectives. He told the jury: "The Jimmy Savile thing started up and brought everything flooding back."

It sparked a fresh probe into the allegations and Ross was first brought to court in late 2013. He was charged at that time along with another man, who later died before standing trial.

Ross had also faced an accusation during the trial that between 1979 and 1980 he sexually assaulted a 19-year-old man while wearing his special police constable's uniform but prosecutors later dropped the allegation.

First offender Ross, now of Oldham, Lancashire, was remanded in custody as sentencing was deferred for reports.

Judge Lord Matthews told the jury after the verdicts that the trial had "not been a pleasant case by any means".

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