The paedophile rights activist, his sinister web of influence and the malign shadow that still shames Scottish politics
AS he marches with fellow gay rights supporters in Edinburgh today, John Hein will doubtless cut an imposing figure. The bearded 57-year-old has been an active gay campaigner for many years – and this morning he will rally marchers outside the Scottish parliament.
But the Scottish Daily Mail can reveal that Hein, chairman of Pride Scotia, whose high-profile marches have been praised by Alex Salmond, is a former member of a vile paedophile network.
Our i nvestigation uncovered l i nks between senior figures in Scottish public life and the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which fought to legalise adult sexual relations with children.
It was affiliated to the Left-wing National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), whose leading members included Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman, her MP husband Jack Dromey and former health minister Patricia Hewitt.
The Daily Mail’s exposure earlier this year of their links with PIE in the 1970s and 1980s raised deeply uncomfortable questions for Labour. Miss Hewitt was forced to apologise over the NCCL’s connections with the group.
Our investigation of PIE’s Scottish roots uncovered ex-members, including Hein and a Cambridge-educated former teacher who made BBC documentaries.
Hein heads Pride Scotia, whose rallies have previously enjoyed the corporate sponsorship of the police, the NHS and the Scottish Prison Service.
Listed among this year’s ‘festival sponsors and media partners’ is public services union Unison Scotland.
In 2010, a statement was read out on Mr Salmond’s behalf to participants in the event, declaring that ‘Scotland is one of the most progressive countries in terms of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] equality in Europe.’
When confronted at his Edinburgh home about his past membership of PIE, Hein said: ‘I was in my teens myself. I thought it would help me to meet other gay men in their teens.’
Asked whether the word ‘ paedophile’ had not been a clue to the group’s true interests, he said: ‘I think it was set up to help people stay out of trouble. I’ve never been sexually interested in children.’
But there was a curiously defensive tone as he added: ‘People misunderstood what PIE was all about – and they still do.’
PIE me mbe r s were allotted special numbers. Hein, who later became a vocal campaigner for gay marriage, was number 194.
We can also reveal that he was an early associate of PIE co-founder
‘I’ve never been interested in children sexually’
the late Ian Dunn, a Labour activist and Edinburgh town planner.
Dunn served on the same Labour committees as future Chancellor Alistair Darling more than 30 years ago – and wanted PIE to give paedophiles a political ‘voice’.
There was little to mark Dunn out from his colleagues. The Edinburghborn council official, whose family ran a soft drinks firm, was a lifelong conservationist, helping to restore murals and churches.
There were signs of a rebellious streak; he was once rebuked for using the term ‘comrade’ on internal council correspondence.
That also manifested itself in his work as a gay rights campaigner, at a time when the movement was in its infancy. Indeed, trade unionist Dunn was a trailblazer in the field and his obituary (which makes no reference to his PIE role) was written by leading gay rights activist Peter Tatchell.
But lurking beneath the surface was a dark preoccupation. Dunn was driven by a belief that all minorities were entitled to a political voice, regardless of how abhorrent their views may be – even paedophiles.
He admitted he co-founded PIE with Michael Hanson, a gay student living in Edinburgh, in 1974.
It began, Dunn later remembered, when he agreed to facilitate research being done into sex with children by providing a contact address.
The aim was to establish whether the perception that homosexual men were more prone to paedophilia was correct.
Dunn said that after the research was concluded, he found that the perception was mistaken.
But out of that move, PIE was born. Dunn later claimed he and Hanson, now believed to be dead, had little more to do with it and PIE moved its activities to London.
It went on to become the leading contact group for adults campaigning for the right to have sex with children and a means by which sexually active paedophiles swapped information.
Some editions of Minor Problems – a magazine set up in 1983 which assumed PIE’s mantle as the principal means of contact for paedophiles – carried an address in Edinburgh’s Broughton Street, which turned out to be Dunn’s home.
It was used as a box office address for a year, during which the first three issues of Minor Problems were published.
Dunn once boasted of having had sex with a 14-year-old boy – while a mourner at his funeral said he had been raped by him when he was 15.
Over the years, his reputation as a gay rights campaigner grew. Derek Ogg, now a leading QC, was a member of Dunn’s Scottish Homosexual Rights Group (SHRG) – of which the late Labour Foreign Secretary Robin Cook was an honorary vice-president.
Mr Ogg said he spoke out strongly at the time against any move to legalise paedophilia.
Records at the National Library of Scotland show the SHRG hosted a workshop in November 1980, at which an author called Roger Moody made a defence of paedophilia (which Mr Ogg does not remember).
While Dunn helped to build PIE behind the scenes, his political ambitions appeared to flourish.
A fellow Labour activist at the time was Mr Darling, a councillor in Edinburgh in the early 1980s.
Mr Darling told the Mail he did not know Dunn personally, though minutes show he attended some Labour committee meetings at which Dunn was present in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Mr Cook, then Edinburgh Central MP, wrote to Dunn in 1977, addressing him as ‘Ian’, about a personal matter concerning planning permission, on House of Commons notepaper.
These connections would have done him no harm as Dunn fought to get involved in frontline local politics. He was chosen as a Labour candidate for the Broughton and Inverleith ward of Lothian Regional Council to contest local elections.
Then the delicate balancing act his life had become began to unravel. His membership of PIE was exposed in the run-up to the 1986 election and he was deselected.
Although Dunn was publicly disgraced, he was not sacked by the
Dunn boasted of having sex with a 14-year-old boy
council. One former associate in the Edinburgh Labour Party said: ‘My understanding was that the council decided it could not sack him as he was not pursued by the police. He had made public admissions when challenged, but as far as I know he was never even charged.’
PIE was wound up in 1984 when some of its key members were jailed.
But Dunn did not disappear. He sparked further controversy by condemning Central Scotland Police in 1996 for a video camera surveillance operation i n public toilets in Stirling, which led to several gay men being charged.
The operation also revealed that some men had had sex with a 13-year-old boy.
Perhaps in a form of denial about the immense damage already done to his credibility, Dunn hoped to become an MSP. Even more astonishingly, those hopes appear not to have been dismissed out of hand.
In a 1998 letter, Lesley Quinn, then secretary of Scottish Labour’s selection board and a future general secretary of Scottish Labour, wrote: ‘Dear Ian, Thank you for applying for an application form to be considered by the Scottish Labour Party for its Scottish parliament panel of candidates.’
The letter stressed that the party ‘wants candidates who draw on a wide range of experiences and abilities’.
Mrs Quinn, who now works for Glasgow City Council quango City Building, failed to reply to inquiries from the Mail.
Dunn died from a suspected heart attack, aged 54, in 1998, before any decision on his Holyrood candidacy could be made.
A Scottish Labour spokesman said it had ‘a robust vetting process for all of our candidates’.
Mr Tatchell told the Mail that ‘most people’ in the gay community would be ‘ shocked and surprised’ by Dunn’s PIE involvement and his boasts of under-age sex.
He said: ‘ Ian Dunn was a true pioneer and played a pivotal role in gay rights. I only ever saw him with adult partners.’
In the modern gay rights move-
ment, Dunn’s i nfl uence has continued.
Tim Hopkins, director of the Scottish Government-funded Equality Network, which recently campaigned for the legalisation of gay marriage, received an award from Dunn’s group Outright Scotland, the successor to SHRG, in 1998.
He is listed online as a recipient of an Ian Dunn Memorial Award, a scheme which Pride Scotia helped to mastermind (though Mr Hopkins says he cannot recall if Dunn’s name appeared on the award, which he now says he has lost.)
Years after his views on paedophilia were exposed, Dunn’s legacy continued to be remembered by some in the gay community.
The now-defunct Glasgow LGBT Centre had an Ian Dunn Memorial Room, where gay rights campaigners met. As the ‘Castro Centre’, it was headed by then Labour councillor Ruth Black, who was also involved with Pride Scotia.
The centre later became embroiled in a row over alleged mismanagement of public funds, although Miss Black was cleared of wrongdoing.
Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie received an Ian Dunn Memorial Award. When it was revealed in 2007 that he had been given the award, he said he condemned ‘any stance which could be seen to excuse acts of child abuse’.
He called for the award (now discontinued) to be renamed. But we have learned the MSP never sent it back, a decision his spokesman seemed unable to explain adequately. It is a decision his supporters, and many parents, may find hard to understand – or to forgive.
In total, the Mail uncovered a list
‘Questions which urgently demand honest answers’
of 13 former PIE members, some of whom may have used aliases and cannot now be traced. Among them is Christopher Mylne, 87, who lives quietly in a retirement flat in Linlithgow, West Lothian.
Outwardly, he is a cultured, articulate man, twice-married and with two grown-up sons and four grandchildren. But he agreed to talk about his past membership of PIE.
Only two years ago, he claims he avoided prosecution for possession of obscene material when he agreed to allow the authorities to destroy it. The Crown Office insisted this sort of arrangement was not its ‘policy’ but declined to comment directly on Mylne’s case.
Mylne said: ‘Paedophile means “child-lover”. Yet it has become the dirtiest word in the language.’
He studied classics at Cambridge University and taught the subject for seven years at John Watson’s boarding school in Edinburgh, now long- closed. Later in his career, Mylne, a published author, made documentaries for the BBC.
He said he was convicted of sexual activity with a teenage boy in the late 1970s and fined £1,500.
His unpalatable views prove that PIE’s chilling legacy lives on.
Last night, Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust said: ‘Many paedophiles have employed the language of children’s rights in an attempt to provide a cover of respectability to their pernicious agenda.
‘The past association of influential political figures with the paedophile movement raises serious questions which urgently demand honest answers.’
Gay rights campaigner: John Hein at a Scotia Pride event in 2011
Labour activist: The late Ian Dunn, co-founder of the paedophile group PIE
Former PIE member: Christopher Mylne, left. Green co-convener Patrick Harvie, right, received an Ian Dunn Memorial Award