“I was groomed” victim speaks of ‘voice finally being heard’ as abuser is jailed

Child abuse NSPCC

The victim of a scout leader, who was abused as a young boy, has spoken of his voice “finally being heard” as his abuser is jailed for 17 years.

The victim was groomed and sexually abused by Bruce Moir, now 46, of no fixed address, who was living in Bedford and volunteering as a scout leader, at the time

He sexually abused his victim, who was 13-years-old at the time, gaining his trust by befriending him, playing golf and video games with him, and teaching him to play keyboards.

Then, on two separate overnight camping expeditions, Moir gave the youngster alcohol, isolated him from others, and took advantage of him sexually.

The abuse was uncovered when another young victim gave a statement to police in September 2017 and an investigation was launched, discovering two further victims.

Moir was arrested, but denied all the allegations, which encompassed offending with children between 1986 and 1996.

At a three-day trial in February, Moir was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault, and pleaded guilty to a further three counts of indecent assault against the three young victims.

A further charge will lie on file.

At Luton Crown Court yesterday (Thursday), Moir was sentenced to nine years in prison, with an eight year extended licence upon release.

Moir must serve six years before he can be considered for parole, and was also made the subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), and barred from working with children.

In an impact statement read to the court, one victim explained how he has been badly affected by what happened, burying his feelings for more than 15 years, blaming himself and, how once he made his statement to police, he came to realise he had been groomed.

He said: “I need to keep reminding myself, as a young child I was not to blame, I did not make him do that to me.

“He was the adult, I was taken advantage of and I was groomed.

“As this chapter hopefully comes to an end, no words or actions can change what happened to me all those years ago, however I now know that my voice has been heard.

“I now know that for once in my life somebody else knows what happened.”

Detective Constable Claire Long, from Bedfordshire Police’s Public Protection Unit, who investigated the case, said: “Moir deviously acted to befriend an impressionable young boy and win his trust, before betraying that trust in a most abhorrent way.

“I want to thank this man for finding the courage to come forward to tell his story, and to allow us to ensure his voice was finally heard.

“I hope that by seeing Moir paying for his actions now will bring about some form of closure, and assist him on his journey to recovery.

“It is never too late to speak up about sexual abuse, no matter when it happened, and this case shows we will do our utmost to see an abuser brought to justice, even years down the line.”

Detective Inspector Martin Eaton said: “We know that it can take years before a victim is ready to speak about their experiences, but when they are ready, we will be waiting.

“I would ask that if you have concerns about child sexual abuse, or you have ever been a victim, please report it, don’t carry this by yourself.

“We have specially trained officers, and a network of partner agencies, willing to listen and to support and guide you through the criminal justice process and beyond.”

Parents and carers can visit the Parents Protect website which is run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, for resources to help identify and prevent child sexual abuse.

The NSPCC website has a wealth of information on how to talk to your child about staying safe from sexual abuse, including the PANTS underwear rule:

P – Privates are private
A – Always remember your body belongs to you
N – No means no
T – Talk about secrets that upset you
S – Speak up, someone can help

You can find more information and resources on the Bedfordshire Police website.

To report child sex abuse, call 101. In an emergency, always call 999.

Text supplied by Bedfordshire Police with additional content by Paul Hutchinson.