Following the sentencing of Robert McGregor, 36, of Inverness, today, Thursday, 6 April, to ten years imprisonment at the High Court in Edinburgh for serious sexual offences, Police Scotland and partners have released the following statement.
Detective Inspector Mark Lambley, of the National Child Abuse Investigation Unit said:"Firstly I want to acknowledge the courage shown by the victims and their families by coming forward and then throughout this investigation, which resulted in the conviction and today’s sentencing of Robert McGregor.
"Officers will continue to support the families, working alongside local partner agencies and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
"This investigation was carried out by the National Child Abuse Investigation Unit and officers from all over the Highlands and North of Scotland. All agencies acted swiftly to apprehend McGregor and provide specialised support to the families involved.
“Robert McGregor preyed on young children and abused the trust of the families involved through his abhorrent and unforgivable offending. A case this harrowing is rarely seen in Scotland and will understandably send shockwaves through our local communities.
"It is hoped, however, that today’s sentencing sends out a clear message that Police Scotland will robustly and sensitively investigate all reports of sexual abuse - regardless of when the abuse took place - helping to ensure we keep everyone safe.
“Police Scotland would take this opportunity to emphasise it is never too late to report abuse - we encourage anyone with concerns relating to the safety or wellbeing of a young person or any member of the community to make contact with Police Scotland, their local social work department, Crimestoppers or a partner agency such as NSPCC, where action will be taken to protect children and to prevent abuse."
Sandra Campbell, Head of Children’s Services at Highland Council said:
“Highland Council social workers worked with Police Scotland on this case, to support the investigation and protect the interests of the children involved. The close partnership working we have developed through joint training of officers and social workers means that they are able to achieve the best possible outcome in such a disturbing case.”
Speaking after the sentencing, Andy Shanks, COPFS Procurator Fiscal for Sexual Offences, said:
“Robert McGregor is a sexual predator who for over a decade targeted young boys for his sexual gratification. His actions have had a devastating impact on his victims and their families.
“It is as a result of developing the intelligence received from the National Online Child Abuse Prevention Agency and the excellent early communication, direction and collaboration between the Police and specialist prosecutors at COPFS, that McGregor has been swiftly brought to justice and faces the consequences of his deplorable actions.
"I would urge any victims of sexual crimes, even ones which occurred decades ago, to come forward and report them. They will be treated with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity by the police and our expert prosecutors and we will do all we can to deliver justice.”