Midlothian pervert Scout master dressed boys up as Native Americans and painted their genitals

Bruce Love was found guilty after trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Bruce Love was found guilty after trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
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A pervert Scout Master sexually abused young boys by daubing their genitals in red paint - while the boys were dressed up as Native Americans.

Bruce Love covered youngsters in his care in the body paint when they were part of a ‘Red Indian Dance’ troupe connected to his Scout group.

Love, 82, gathered the boys, aged between 10 and 14, at his home where he would lather their bodies in the red dye as they stood naked in a bath.

The Scout leader then played drums while the boys danced out Native American storylines at events in Midlothian, Fife and at Seil Island.

Love, a retired social worker, carried out the sick campaign of abuse between 1969 and 1978 when he was in charge of the Scouts group in Bonnyrigg.

Six men, all now in their 50s, gave evidence to a jury at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last week where they detailed how Love targeted them when they were around 11 or 12 years old.

One man said Love lured him to his former home in Bonnyrigg and “checked to see if I was ticklish” before stripping him naked and putting him over his knee.

A second victim told the jury Love exposed himself and began masturbating in front of the lad during a Scout camp near Moffat.

While a third man, who is related to Love, said the shamed Scout master “cupped my genitals” as he smeared the paint over the lad’s naked body.

The former Scout Master, who now lives in Eastleigh, Southampton, denied the allegations but was found guilty of six charges of lewd and libidinous practices towards the men when they were children following a four-day trial at the Capital court.

Sheriff Robert Fife said: “Bail will be continued but I should record that this has been a grave breach of trust involving six boys. These are grave offences before this court."

Following Friday’s verdict Sheriff Fife deferred sentence to next month for the preparation of reports.

The jury heard Love invited the group of young dancers to his former home in Bonnyrigg where he would apply the paint while the boys stood naked in his bath.

Several witnesses, who cannot be identified due to legal reasons, told the court how Love would touch their genitals and rub the paint between their buttocks as part of dressing up in the Red Indian costume.

One victim, now 55, said Love organised the Indian dance routine as a Scout event and regularly took boys back to his home.

The man, who was aged between 11 and 13 at the time, said: “Mr Love took me back to his own place to put body paint on me after the rehearsal. I remember being asked to go back.

“We went into the front room and Mr Love shut the curtains and he wanted to see if I was ticklish.

“He asked me to undress and when I had nothing on Mr Love started painting my genitals.”

The man added he felt “uncomfortable with it” and after leaving the cottage he “remembered running home as I was frightened”.

All the victims told the court they did not tell anyone about Love’s conduct at the time of the offending due to their age.

A complaint by one of the men was made to the police about the historical abuse two years ago and after being contacted by officers a further five men gave statements stating Love had abused them.

Love admitted to the jury he would paint the boys’ bodies before the dance performances but denied he had touched any of them sexually or inappropriately.

Love denied any of the boys attended at his home alone and said all the events described by the victims “didn't happen”.

He said he could not remember two of the boys from his time with the Scout group and claimed their lies had “spoiled” his memories of that time.

But the jury decided the OAP was lying and returned unanimous guilty verdicts to six charges of using lewd and libidinous practices towards children at the Scout Hall in Bonnyrigg and at other locations between December 21, 1969 and January 18, 1978.

Love was found guilty of inducing the boys to remove their clothing, handling their genitals and applying paint to their penis, testicles and buttocks during several incidents over the nine-year period in Bonnyrigg, Moffat, Seil Island and the Orkneys.