Jehovah's Witness jailed for grooming and abusing boy

BBC News/October 19, 2010

A Jehovah's Witness who groomed and sexually abused a boy has been jailed for six years and eight months.

Thomas Gold, 45, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh.

He previously admitted committing indecency at a house in Tullibody between November 1996, when the boy was seven years old, and November in 2003.

Unemployed Gold took the boy canvassing for the Jehovah's Witnesses and to the Kingdom Hall.

When he became a teenager, the victim told elders at his church about the abuse.

Advocate depute Alison Di Rollo said the church leaders told Gold his behaviour was wrong and warned that if it continued he would be "disfellowshipped", or expelled, because the church disapproved of homosexual behaviour.

They also tried to persuade Gold to go to the police.

'Systematically groomed'

The judge, Lord Bannatyne, said it was clear Gold's criminal conduct had "a considerable impact" on the victim.

He said that a background report on Gold had described him as having "systematically groomed" the youngster in order to sexually abuse him.

Defence solicitor advocate Brian Gilfedder said: "As far as the offence is concerned it is very difficult for me to stand here and say anything that could be described as mitigation.

"The accused is well aware and has been well aware that this was wrong. It is accepted by him that a sentence of imprisonment is inevitable."

Gold was placed on the sex offenders' register for the rest of his life and given a supervision for 40 months after his prison sentence.

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