Pervert checked on youth helpers

Took charge of vet­ting process

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Edel Ke­nealy

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

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