Former SNP councillor who abused teenage boys jailed for six years

A former SNP councillor who groomed and abused a string of teenage boys has been jailed for six years.

Mark Kerr preyed on victims, including attempting to rape one, at his home in Croy, Lanarkshire.

The 40 year-old struck mostly before he was elected as a councillor in 2017 for the Kilsyth ward. But he went on to grope the final victim at a food bank in the village in May 2020.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Kerr denied the accusations and insisted he had been the target of a vendetta, which saw him forced out of his home of 32 years. He was found guilty of a total of nine charges spanning between December 2010 and May 2020.

The High Court in Paisley

The crimes were the attempted rape as well as sex offences against five other male victims.

He was sentenced on Friday at the High Court in Paisley, where Judge Douglas Brown was told pervert Kerr continues to protest his innocence.

The judge said: "This was a systematic and deliberate course of conduct. You spent time with teenage boys, tried to engage them in sexually charged conversations and took advantage of opportunities to assault them.

"You took advantage of one of the boys while he was asleep and attempted to rape him."

Some of the victims and their relatives were at court for the hearing on Friday. There were cries of "justice" and "yes" as Kerr was sentenced.

Jurors at the trial at the High Court in Glasgow heard how all the boys in the case were much younger than the former nationalist politician.

Kerr, now of Wishaw, Lanarkshire, got to know the first when he was in his mid-teens. The-then boy looked upon openly gay Kerr as a "mentor" as he came out himself.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said sexual activity with Kerr first took place at a disused quarry when he was 15.

The victim – now in his mid 20s – said the older man then attacked him after they had earlier been at a local SNP function. He was asleep at the time at Kerr's home.

Describing the 2015 attempted rape, he recalled: "I froze once I understood what was happening. I could not control my body. It did not allow me to do anything."

He later confronted Kerr at knifepoint in the street.

The victim's mother had also turned up and she witnessed her son yelling: "Tell my mum what you done to me."

Kerr claimed he was innocent, but was said not to be able to meet the woman's eyes.

Kerr tormented another boy from around 2012. Referring to accounts of gay sex, he stated to the youngster: "Don't knock it until you have tried it." He went on to grab the worried teenager's bottom.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The court heard Kerr joined two boys on a camping trip pitching a tent near the Boathouse restaurant in Croy. He was guilty of molesting one of them in the tent, but acquitted of raping another at that time.

However, he did sexually assault the rape accuser in 2014 in Croy while he was asleep.

In 2014, Kerr targeted another of the teenagers by groping him and sending him sexually graphic messages online.

But, even after he had been elected to a position of power in the community, Kerr continued his offending.

Kerr was also put on the sex offenders list indefinitely,