Mark Maclennan guilty of raping boy, 3, in nursery

Mark MacLennan at the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: Spindrift
Mark MacLennan at the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: Spindrift
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A NURSERY boss was yesterday convicted of raping a three-year-old boy at his place of work.

Mark Maclennan, 30, raped the boy at the centre in Inverness-shire between August 2012 and May 2013.

He was also found guilty of sexually abusing a girl at drama rehearsals held in Stirling and Dunfermline and at her home in Dunblane between October 2007 and July 2010 when she was aged between 12 and 15 and he was acting as a chaperone for the theatre company.

Maclennan was cleared of a charge of sexually abusing a girl at the nursery when she was aged between four and five. The jury found that charge against him not proven.

He was also found guilty of having thousands of images of child porn on the computer he brought into the nursery to help the children with their IT skills and a further four on the laptop at his then home in Stirling.

Judge John Morris QC told Maclennan: “Given what you have been convicted of, a prison sentence is almost inevitable.”

Maclennan trial: Abuse images on nursery computer

Judge Morris remanded him in custody and deferred sentence until 27 February at the High Court in Edinburgh for background reports. The jury of nine women and six men took 90 minutes to reach their ­verdicts.

Afterwards Judge Morris told them: “This has been a very unpleasant case for all those ­involved.”

The inquiry into Maclennan was sparked after the three-year-old told his mother in graphic terms that he had been raped by him.

The boy’s mother said: “On 23 May, 2013 he told me something while we were at home watching television. It was an alarming statement.”

Advocate depute Kath Harper, prosecuting, said: “Was it about any person in particular,” and the mother replied: “Mark ­Maclennan.”

She was then asked what the nature of the remark was and said: “A sexual nature. I was making dinner and he just came out with it while he was watching television. I went over towards him and asked him to tell me again.”

The little boy also told his father what had happened and the police were contacted.

Under cross-examination by defence QC Donald Findlay the mother and father denied a suggestion that their son could have seen them having oral sex or could have watched porn­ography.

As a result of the boy’s remarks an investigation was launched, Maclennan was suspended from his job as nursery manager and letters were sent out to all parents.

Maclennan’s computer, which was in the nursery, was seized and thousands of indecent images of girls under the age of 16 in erotic poses were discovered.Ms Harper said: “It was apparent that Mark Maclennan has a sexual interest in children.

“He took advantage of their vulnerability.”

The court heard that as the result of the publicity generated by the inquiry into the nursery a woman came forward to say she had been abused by Maclennan while he was working as a chaperone at a drama school she had attended.

The girl, who is now a 19-year-old student, said that the alleged abuse began when Maclennan was fitting her for a costume for a panto at the Macrobert ­Centre in Stirling.

She said he also abused her in her home after he gave her a lift, and also during other rehearsals.

The court heard that the woman did not report any of the alleged incidents to the ­police until 2013, although she said she told her mother when she was 16.

The three-year-old’s parents and friends cried and hugged as the verdict was given.

Maclennan, who has been working in Bath as a carer, showed no emotion as he was convicted.

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