Published: January 23, 2012
Sex offences trial underway for former Burnham-On-Sea Scout leader

The trial of a former Burnham-On-Sea scout leader accused of committing a string of sex offences began on Monday (January 23rd).

David Burland, 54, denies 33 charges including indecent assault, sexual activity with a child, indecency and exposure.

He allegedly subjected three boys and a girl, now aged between 16 and 38, to a series of abuse, threatening them if they spoke out.

He was caught as he allegedly sexually assaulted a girl, now aged 17, who had previously confided in an adult that she was concerned about Mr Burland's behaviour towards her.

The charges - which relate to children under the age of 16 - are alleged to have taken place between 1987 and 2010.

Prosecutor Ian Fenny told the jury of eight women and four men that the former Scout leader was a "sexual predator" who manipulated his victims. "Of course there came the moment when he made one mistake that let the cat-out-of the bag," he said. "It was perhaps careless, perhaps arrogant. He abused a young girl in a way that worried and disturbed her."

"She confided in a lady... it was on one occasion in the presence of this lady that the defendant actually touched his victim in a wholly inappropriate way. That allowed her to say to this woman 'did you see what he did to me?', she said 'yes. I did.' It was after this that investigations began."

Mr Burland faces 18 charges of indecent assault with a boy under 16, nine charges of sexually assaulting boys under 16, three counts of sexually assaulting a girl under 16, two counts of indecency with a child and one count of indecent exposure. He denies all charges against him and the trial was adjourned to Tuesday.

The Scout Association suspended Mr Burland from any form of contact with the movement as soon as the allegations were reported.


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