A RETIRED RAF warrant officer has been warned that he faces a jail sentence after he admitted enticing a ten-year-old girl to talk to him via a webcam for “sexual gratification”.
Steven McLaren, 54, met the girl, who was the daughter of a colleague at RAF Leuchars, and gave her a scrap of paper with an e-mail address set up in a false name, Cupar Sheriff Court heard yesterday.
McLaren, who was one of the the Royal Air Force Association’s branch support officers before he retired, exchanged e-mails with the girl asking him to join him for a Skype chat.
After she agreed to talk to him, McLaren began asking her a series of leading questions, the court heard.
McLaren initially asked: “How was school?” before going on to ask the girl: “What are you wearing? Are you wearing a skirt? Were you naughty at school today?”
Family members of the ten-year-old immediately intervened before the chat could escalate, as the Skype account was accessible to other members of the family and the messages had been seen.
Fiscal depute Beverly Adam told the court that McLaren was then traced by police at his home in Cupar.
He admitted to police that he had used the fake name online because he did not want his wife to know.
Miss Adam told the court: “The complainer was ten years old and the accused was aware of that, having known the girl from a young age.
“He had performed DJ services at a wedding and had said to the girl that they should keep in contact.
“He later met her at a supermarket where she was with her father.
“While her father wasn’t looking, he gave the complainer a piece of paper with a Skype user name of IainMartin776 on it.
“The accused said he didn’t want anyone to know who he was. There was some contact by email before she gave her Skype username.”
The court heard that McLaren and the girl were first in contact on 15 August last year and that afterwards the girl began to receive messages from him.
“The girl’s mother was alerted to the messages as it is a shared account,” Miss Adam said. “The defendant was detained on 17 August and his computers were seized. He stated that he knew that the conversation was inappropriate and that he knew that the girl was ten.
“He added that he bitterly regretted it and said, ‘She’s ten. I shouldn’t be talking to her. I didn’t want my wife to know.’ ”
McLaren pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of intentionally making sexual communications to a girl under the age of 13 with the intention of obtaining sexual gratification.
David Bell, defending, said: “There’s little that can be said in mitigation. The content of the communications was not sexually explicit but there was obviously a sexual element to this.”
Sheriff Charles Macnair QC deferred sentence until May for social work background reports and a psychological assessment of McLaren.
He warned McLaren he could face jail when he returns to be sentenced and placed him on the sex offenders’ register.