Assaults on boys proved. Sex case PC guilty
NEWSFLASH: Bates was sent to jail for four years.
Sex case policeman John Edward Bates has been found guilty of indecently assaulting eleven young boys.
The jury at Nottingham Crown Court took more than ten hours to reach its verdict on the 15 charges facing the former Spalding scoutmaster.
Sentence was due to be passed yesterday morning.
Bates (35) of 75C Pinchbeck Road, Spalding, had denied 11 offences of indecent assault and four of a more serious nature involving boys.
The nine-man, three-woman jury were unanimous in finding him guilty on three indecency charges. Bates was found guilty of indecent assault by majority verdicts of 10-2 on three counts, and by 11-1 on five counts.
Bates was cleared on two charges of committing serious sexual offences with a boy. On one count, he was instead found guilty by a 10-2 majority of attempting to commit the offence.
He was found guilty on a similar charge by a verdict of 11-1. The jury could not reach a majority decision on the fourth offence so the Judge, Mr Justice Park, discharged them from having to arrive at a verdict.
Summing-up in the trial of the former Spalding Parish Church choir member began on Monday and continued until Wednesday morning, when the jury was sent out.
During the trial, Bates was labelled a “Jekyll and Hyde” character by the prosecution – a pillar of society on the one hand, on the other someone who preyed on young boys while they were in his charge.
Each of the eleven boys referred to in the charges – which date back to 1975 – stood in the witness box and told how Bates had interfered with them at his flat, on scouting trips or on holidays.
One youth, a choirboy, told how in 1977 he met Bates, when the constable moved to a flat at 3 Gore Lane, Spalding. Bates joined the St Mary and St Nicolas church choir and became friendly with the boy, who was then 15.
Mr Desmond Fennell, QC, prosecuting, told the court that after choir practice on a Friday night, sex sessions (turn to page 2) were held at Bates’ flat for almost a year.
Several of the boys told the court how they were shown pornographic films, magazines and playing cards by Bates.
On one occasion, Bates, wearing police uniform and driving a Panda car, called at the home of an 11-year-old scout and indecently assaulted him.
But Bates was found out after the father on one of the boys heard rumours that indecent assaults had been made by the scoutmaster on some of his young charges.
The father and another parent confronted Bates at his Pinchbeck Road flat one Sunday night after evensong with the accusation: “You have been mucking about sexually with our boys.”
Bates denied touching any of the youths, and was said to be “staggered and amazed” by the claims.
But later, when spoken to by Det Chief Supt Ray Moyses and Det Chief Insp Bob Warner, Bates said he had fallen in love with one of the young scouts.
The two senior officers, who saw Bates at his flat, told the court that he had admitted indecently assaulting three of the boys, but denied more serious offences.
The officers said Bates told them he did not want to drag the boys through the courts and realised that he would have to go to prison for the indecency offences.
But in July last year – about five weeks after he was first seen by the police – Bates changed his story and said he had never admitted to indecent assault.
He then claimed the police had masterminded a conspiracy against him, and that they and the 11 boys who gave evidence had plotted against him.
Bates also said three of the boys were trying to get back at him after he discovered they had allowed a girl to share their tent at a camp in Surfleet at the beginning of May last year.
During a lengthy interview at Lincolnshire Police headquarters in Nettleham, Bates denied he had committed any offences on the boys.
He denied showing any of them pornographic films, claiming that the only ones he showed at his flat were ones of previous scouting holidays.
And he said that if he had touched the boys, it was only to put his arms round their shoulders in a protective and fatherly way.
In the witness box, Bates accused police CID chiefs of conspiring against him and claimed the boys had committed perjury.
“I wish I knew why this was happening to me,” he said. “I have tried to think of the reasons for the past 13 months.”
Another scoutmaster, Mr John Malcolm Brown of 66A Pinchbeck road, said Bates often visited him and his family for Sunday lunch, and was a friend to them.
He said he had never heard Bates say anything, or seen him do anything, to imply that he was making sexual advances to any of the scouts.
Summing-up for the prosecution, Mr Fennell said the case was a disturbing one from the outset, made more serious by the fact that during the trial Bates had made allegations that senior police officers had conspired against him.
Reproduced with kind permission of the Spalding Guardian. Friday July 15, 1983