A former chairman of Glasgow Children’s Panel was yesterday jailed for twelve years for abusing boys during a period spanning three decades.
Daniel Ross, 62, had previously admitted six charges and pleaded guilty to misusing his position as chair of the children’s panel to groom vulnerable youngsters for sex attacks.
At Glasgow High Court, Lord Matthews, sentencing, told Ross that he had committed “very grave” abuses and that his crimes constitued a “gross abuse of your position of trust”.
“It was your position which gave you access to the young vulnerable boys who were entitled to look to you to make important decisions for their welfare,” he added. “Decisions which should have enabled them to make the most of the poor start they had been given in life.
“Instead you grossly abused your position of trust and made decisions for your own benefit.”
On one occasion, Ross abused a teenager just moments before a scheduled meeting to make key decisions in relation to the youngster’s future.
Ross had also served as a special constable and when one of his victims initially contacted the police in 2001 no action was taken.
The sex attacks committed were so severe that one victim, John Stewart, suffered internal injuries that led to doctors suspecting he had appenticitis. Stewart, now 42, was sodomised by Ross and passed around a number of paedophile associates.
Speaking to the Daily Record, Stewart explained that he was delighted with the verdict. “There were times I really didn’t think justice was ever going to be done,” he said. “But the
judge told Ross exactly what he needed to hear. I was worried he’d get a lighter sentence because the offences were a long time ago and he’s fairly old now. But 12 years is what he deserved, so I’m delighted.
“Hopefully this will give others the confidence that if they go to police and tell the truth, ultimately they will see justice done .”
However, he was also eager to point to the wider problem of child abuse by people in positions of authority.
“The easy thing would be to stay behind the scenes, but I want to speak out because I believe that there are hundreds of other victims in Scotland who were abused.
“We have all seen what has happened in Rotherham and in London where a trickle of stories about institutional abuse has turned into a flood, and I think the same thing will happen in Scotland.
“When I was 13-years-old I was dogging school all the time and ended up meeting Daniel Ross through the Children’s Panel. Ross said he would give me a part time job at his cafe in Mount Florida to keep me out of trouble. At the time I thought he was a good guy, that he wanted to help me, but I soon realised he had other motivations.
“The abuse started quite soon after I started working at the cafe, he would touch me and make me touch him. On the one occasion he sodomised me I was in so much abdominal pain afterwards that my mother took me to hospital. I was too scared to tell the doctors the truth, and they assumed it was appendicitis, and I ended up having my appendix removed.
“At the time Ross warned me that if I told anyone he would make sure I was sent to a children’s home, and so I had better keep quiet. Ross soon began passing me around three or four of his friends, the abuse went on for at least two years, I suppose you could call it a paedophile ring.
“Ross was supposed to be protecting young people like me, but instead he was using his position to get his claws into vulnerable children.
“It is incredible how powerful people can protect themselves and how things can be covered up for years until someone is brave enough to stand up to them.
“I just want to get on with my life now, I have put everything on hold while I have been fighting this. I am a lucky man to have come through it and have a great wife and children and I want to put it behind me and get on.”
The court heard that while Ross preyed on vulnerable boys at the Children’s Panel’s offices in Glasgow’s Albion Street, he also met his first victim at a gay bar. The man, now 55, was sexually assaulted by Ross in the 1970s.
Donald Finlayson, a friend of Ross’s who was also accused of comitting abuses against boys, died before he could be brought to trial.