Former scout leader and police officer sentenced to 20 years for historic sex abuse of boys

A former Lincolnshire police officer and scout leader has been sentenced to 20 years for historic sexual offences of four young boys.

John Edward Bates was sentenced to 20 years for the offences which dated back to the 1970s and 1980s. He will serve up to 10 years in prison and a further 10 years on licence.

The 68-year-old was found guilty at Lincoln Crown Court yesterday of:

  • 16 charges of indecent assault

  • 2 charges of indecency with a child

Shortly after the sentencing one of the victims, Stuart Brown, took the rare step of waiving his right to anonymity and speaking to the media about what he called the end of a nightmare.

Bates, who had been living in Candem, North London, is formerly of Spalding, Lincolnshire where he was a scout master.

He served with Lincolnshire Police between 1976 and 1983. He was also a scout leader in Wittering where he served in the Royal Air Force.

Judge Simon Hirst said Bates was utterly unconcerned about the effect on his victims, and that he abused the trust placed in him "in the most grotesque way possible."

The Judge praised the bravery of the victims and the sensitivity with which Detective Sgt Tim Wilkinson, and Lincolnshire Police Emerald Team, handled the case.

It is clear that in their different ways they were all profoundly affected by your abuse of them. You did them all profoundly real and lasting damage and you did it for no other reason than to obtain gratification for yourself.

Judge Simon Hirst

Bates also served a four-year jail sentence in 1983 after a previous investigation into offences against young boys.

It is thanks to the bravery and strength of the victims in this case that we could be here today to see Bates handed a significant custodial sentence. We will do all we can to bring a case to court. I hope this shows people who have suffered abuse that they should come forward – we can help – nobody should ever be allowed to get away with this.

Detective Sgt Tim Wilkinson, Lincolnshire Police