Pervert checked on youth helpers
Took charge of vetting process
A man who downloaded child pornography was responsible for background checks on adult volunteers at a Cambuslang church, the Reformer can reveal.
Richard William Silver Smith, from Burnside, admitted downloading almost 15,000 indecent images of children over a four-year period when he appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court on September 8.
But the Reformer has since learned Smith was in charge of handing out police disclosure forms to volunteers working with children at Cambuslang Baptist Church.
The 45 year old is also understood to have been a volunteer with the now defunct J-Zone youth group, run several years ago at the church.
Hi s p rominent ro l e within the church has been highlighted by the father of Smith’s teenage stepdaughter, whom he lived with for 18 months after marrying the
girl’s mother. The man, who wants to remain anonymous to protect his child’s privacy, says the church failed in its duty to support his child and ex-wife after the allegations against Smith came to light.
He said members of the church, including the then minister, were more concerned with concealing the police investigation.
He said: “Richard was involved with the youth group and handed out disclosure forms for Sunday school volunteers and youth volunteers.
“At the time it happened the minister said he wanted it contained.
“The minister said in church that Richard has some personal problems, that he wouldn’t be back and thanked him for his work with the youth group and guitar playing in church. Folk were wondering what was going on.”
Explaining that his former partner had confided in a member of the church about the police investigation, and further her worries that she would be asked to leave the home she previously shared with Smith at short notice, the man said: “The minister and a church member came to her door like a couple of gangsters. They thought my ex-wife was telling everyone in the church. She said she would make it easy for them and wouldn’t be back.
“She asked him to contact another minister to guide him if this was something that he had no experience of. He didn’t want to go to anyone else. He was no help in the situation, all he did was offer prayers, but she needed some kind of counselling.
“The church elders supported the Smith family and I understand the minister has to support them as well.
“But my ex-wife, she was by herself with a teenage daughter and given no support whatsoever. There are a lot of nice people that go to church, this is not a criticism of everyone, but my ex-wife has been badly let down.”
Alan Donaldson, general director of the Baptist Union of Scotland, said his organisation was not a regulatory body but a supportive organisation for Baptist churches around the country.
He would not comment on behalf of the Cambuslang church but said: “As a supportive organisation we are committed to the welfare of children and young people who attend church and take seriously issues relating to child protection. “We point churches to the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service for professional support and partner with them on local training.
“In the light of the issues raised, I am working with Cambuslang Baptist Church local leaders in a supportive capacity to help ensure that their policies, procedures and training are of a high standard.”
Cambuslang Baptist Church did not comment on the allegations. The minister retired some months ago.
Richard Smith will be sentenced tomorrow, Thursday, October 6.
We reported last month that police found 14,382 images on hardware found at his marital home and his parents’ home in Burnside where he now lives.
Richard was involved with the youth group and handed out disclosure forms Worried stepdad
Vile Richard Smith will be sentenced this week after almost 15,000 sick images were found on his computer
Awaiting sentence Smith was involved in background checks at the church