A FORMER Great Sankey Scout leader has been jailed for more than nine years for a catalogue of sexually motivated assaults.
David Fearnley pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assaults against a boy aged between 13 to 15 from the late 70s to early 80s while as a scout leader.
He also admitted sexually abusing a boy for four years in the late 90s while based in Runcorn – starting when the boy was just 12.
Warrington Crown Court heard on Monday how his earlier victim came forward to police earlier this year after becoming aware of the allegations of the sexual relationship with the other boy.
His victim, now in his 40s, had also found out Fearnley, from Weaverham, had previously pleaded guilty to historic charges of indecent assault against a boy and a girl in 2011, which he was handed a three year community order.
In the late 70s Fearnley befriended the boy and as they spent time together asked him if he could touch him and whether he had touched others as it was not uncommon for boys to do that.
On one occassion he talked openly about sexual matters and began to touch the boy on his leg then groin.
Duncan Bold, prosecuting, said: “The victim spoke of being confused and embarassed but said he was someone who he looked up to, he said he was embarassed but let him do it.”
Fearnley continued to spend time with the boy and ‘created an atmosphere in which sexual contact was normalised’ added Mr Bold.
When arrested in June Fearnley initially denied any indecent assault but pleaded guilty to all three charges at Monday’s hearing.
The Runcorn assault was described as ‘a classic case of grooming’ by Judge David Hale after he targeted the vulnerable child in the late 90s.
He would abuse the boy downstairs at his former Runcorn home while his wife and children were upstairs in bed.
When arrested Fearnley was also found with 20 indecent images and videos on his computer.
David Toal, defending, said divorced Fearnley’s family were shocked by his actions.
“It seemed before the recent disclosure that he lived a life as a respectable adult to the community. His life was a lie and that has all come to the fore,” added Mr Toal.
Sentencing him to nine years and two months in prison for a total of 27 different charges Judge Hale said: “You have been a scout master, you knew exactly what to do to encourage a boy to look up to you and see how far you could go with that.”