Rollers chief linked to sex abuse network

A GOVERNMENT adviser on sex crimes has claimed Bay City Rollers manager Tam Paton was involved with an abuse ring which claimed dozens of youngsters as victims.

Sarah Nelson last night called for a full investigation into the depraved activities of Paton, who last week died of a heart attack at his luxury home near Edinburgh.

Nelson, speaking in her capacity as an Edinburgh University researcher, said she had uncovered numerous allegations made against Paton over the years, many of them involving teenage boys who were afraid to go to the police at the time.

Paton, who was 70, was convicted in the early 1980s of abusing two boys aged 16 and 17. Last week, Rollers frontman Les McKeown finally broke his silence on the issue, claiming he was raped by Paton.

Nelson is now revealing that she came across a raft of allegations as she examined the extent of sex abuse against young men for two key reports, published in 2004 and earlier this year.

She told Scotland on Sunday: "I became very concerned in the in the course of both studies, but particularly in 2004, to come across repeated allegations of sexually abusing activities involving Mr Paton and rings of unknown others. I think it is safe to say there are dozens of alleged victims.

"They were mainly very vulnerable teenagers, for instance those from a care background who should have been under society's protection.

"They were groups of severely damaged young men, offenders who were now in the criminal justice system, but who had eventually revealed being abused in some kind of network involving Mr Paton."

She added: "The allegations included that extreme fear of the repercussions of reporting kept them silent, along with their fear of entrapment if they spoke out, since they had themselves been inveigled into crime. They would not agree to speak out about the abuse."

Nelson said the allegations included the existence of a network of flats in Edinburgh where vulnerable male teenagers and young men were placed – men who were beholden to Paton – and which were scenes of criminal activities.

She said: "There were also allegations that abuse and criminal activities involving boys took place regularly at Mr Paton's home, which surveillance over a period would surely have revealed."

The claims were reported – usually reluctantly – to various workers, including those in the prison, criminal justice, housing and social work sectors but, Nelson believes, never pursued because the alleged victims did not want to take them further.

She said: "Given that my own research report of February 2009 raised some very disquieting issues about apparently continuing risks to boys in care, especially those with a history of residential care and offending, I believe such an inquiry must be instigated in order to protect others and to learn lessons for protecting these boys in future."

McKeown, speaking last week, said he was raped by Paton when he was 18 or 19 and said the Svengali-figure had threatened to kill him if he ever spoke out about his ordeal.

McKeown, now 53 and a father, cast some light on the kind of allegations Nelson uncovered. He said Paton, who was gay, manipulated young men using power and drugs and surrounded himself with "ned" henchmen.

The former lead singer of the Rollers described Paton as a "tyrant despot" and a "predator". Referring to Paton's home, Little Kellerstain, he said: "The Scottish people can sleep well knowing the beast of Kellerstain is dead. The parents and children can feel safer as one more predator is off the streets.

"All the thousands affected by his devastating reign of drugs, terror and abuse can breathe a sigh of relief. He can no longer directly affect our lives. The tyrant despot is dead; long may he remain so."

Another Roller, guitarist Pat McGlynn, accused Paton of attempted rape in an Australian hotel room. The attack, he said, took place in 1977 but he only reported it in 2003. Lothian and Borders Police said they did not have enough evidence to act on the allegation.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, were said to be looking at ways of seizing Paton's estate, as the alleged proceeds of drug-dealing. He was fined 200,000 after admitting to supplying cannabis in 2003 but the punishment was overturned on appeal. He was fined another 20,000 in 2007 for drug charges.

Paton also made millions out of the Bay City Rollers, who sold more than 100 million records during their heyday in the Seventies. Some band members accused him of swindling them, but others remained supportive until his dying day.

Paton was convicted of sex offences against men aged 16 and 17 in 1982 but cleared of child sex abuse allegations in 2003.