Hospice nurse who viewed child porn not struck off

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A CHILDREN’S hospice nurse who downloaded hundreds of indecent images of youngsters and blamed his actions on “curiosity mixed with wine” has avoided being struck off .

Stephen McCusker, who worked at Rachel House, Scotland’s children’s hospice in Kinross, downloaded 1,740 indecent images of children over a four-year period.

It’s not sexual – curiosity mixed with wine

Stephen McCusker

When quizzed by police, McClusker, 48, from Glenrothes, said: “Don’t know, no excuses, it’s not sexual, curiosity mixed with wine.”

He said he had been viewing the material for “quite some time” and told officers he would “view it, feel disgusted and then delete it”.

McCusker said he was “interested” in young boys and girls but had never sexually abused a child, adding he could offer “no explanation” for his behaviour.

The nurse admitted one count of taking or permitting to be taken indecent photos of children, at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

He was handed a three-year supervision order by the court last August and ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work.

McCusker was also ordered to sign on to the sex offenders’ register for the next three years.

He was not present or represented at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing, but said in a letter: “I was a nurse for 20 years with an exemplary record. I find it difficult to put in words my shame at the damage I have inflicted on the reputation of the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland and the NMC.”

He continued: “My life ambition was to be a nurse which I was lucky enough to do so for 20 years. I always carried out my duties to the highest standards and took great pride in being able to provide care and support in a variety of settings.

“There were never questions raised regarding my conduct or abilities. My working practice was always open and transparent.”

He added: “I am more than fortunate that my wife of 20 years has supported me. It is with her help and being able to seek professional help that I have survived.

“I know I deserve no sympathy for the offences I committed, but I do ask that the fragility of my circumstances be taken into account.”

McCusker resigned from his post at the hospice immediately after his arrest, the Nursing and Midwifery Council was told.

Panel chairman Brian Yates said: “Mr McCusker has brought the profession into disrepute as a consequence of his conviction and in particular by reason of the nature of the offence 
involved.

“Members of the public would be deeply concerned to learn that a learning disabilities and children’s nurse, working in a children’s hospice, had a conviction for offences relating to possession of indecent images of children.”

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