The press have discovered The Reward Foundation and are spreading the word about our work including: the porn awareness classes; the call for effective, brain-based sex education in all schools; need for training for NHS healthcare providers on pornography addiction and our contribution to research on porn-induced sexual dysfunctions. This page highlights our latest successes in newspapers and online. We hope to post many more stories as 2018 progresses.
If you see a story featuring TRF we have not put up, please send us a note about it using the contact form at the bottom of this page.
26 August 2018. Mary Sharpe provided expert commentary on this sad case in the Scottish Courts. Article written by Vic Rodrick. Pages 10 and 11 in the print version.
A SEXUAL predator is facing life in jail for raping a string of underage girls and young women he contacted via social media.
In Scotland’s worst online grooming case, Gavin Scoular used Facebook, Snapchat and Skype to befriend victims.
The 23-year-old would start off with innocent chats – sometimes for weeks – to win the girls’ trust before pestering them to send him sexual photographs.
He then blackmailed them into meeting him in person by threatening to post the pictures online ‘for all the world to see’, before abusing and raping them.
He was found guilty on Thursday of raping five young women – including three victims who were underage at the time.
A jury at the High Court in Livingston also convicted him of ten other offences, including sexual assault, taking indecent images without consent and threatening to distribute the pictures.
During a nine-day trial, advocate depute Stephen Borthwick, prosecuting, branded Scoular a ‘predatory paedophile’ and said witnesses gave almost identical accounts of his actions. He added: ‘He was grooming them. Gavin Scoular indulged in sexualised conversation with them knowing full well they were under the age of 16, under the age of consent.
‘He asked all of them to show him pictures of their naked body. In some cases he asked them to send him pictures.
‘He used those images as a method to control their behaviour, to get them to do what he wanted. In each case he moved on to meeting with the girls. By his own admission he met them for one reason – engaging in unlawful sexual behaviour.’
One victim said she was 13 when Scoular, from Niddrie, Edinburgh, contacted her. He bombarded her with increasingly vile messages and requests before asking her to send him naked pictures of herself.
She said: ‘I said no straight away but he kept asking and asking. I told him I didn’t want to but I sent him a picture when I was 14. I don’t know why.
‘After I sent him the first one he threatened to post it on social media.
‘He said if I didn’t send him another picture he would post the picture he already had all over Facebook.
‘It made me feel I had to do it. I didn’t want my boobs all over Facebook.
‘After I sent the second picture he apologised for saying he’d put the picture on Facebook, so I forgave him.’
She agreed to go to Scoular’s home, where he raped her.
She said: ‘I wanted to cry but I just kept it all in. I was scared. I just wanted to get out of there as soon as I could. I told him it hurt. I told him to stop. He just kept going.’
Another victim was 14 when Scoular contacted her via a webcam.
At first, their conversations were about everyday things, such as school, but he then threatened to lie to her friends that they had had sex unless she sent him an indecent picture.
She said Scoular blackmailed her into flashing her breasts during a Skype video chat, and he took a screenBeing
‘I wanted to cry. I was scared. I told him to stop’
shot. Using the picture as blackmail, he forced her to meet up with him near Ocean Terminal in Leith and sexually assaulted her.
Scoular’s youngest victim was only 12 when he contacted her via social media and persuaded her to meet him. They walked to Portobello Golf Course, where he kissed and groped her – despite knowing her age.
He also told two victims he worked as a lifeguard at council pools, teaching children to swim.
Scoular claimed he was a ‘wronged party’ and that the victims told ‘appalling lies’ about him. He said they all had consented to sex.
He admitted that at the time of the offences, between 2010 and 2014, he had been ‘sexually attracted to young girls’ but now felt ‘horrible’ about it.
He said: ‘I’m not happy about what I’ve done. But I know what I’ve done, and what I’ve done was wrong.’
Last night, Mary Sharpe, chief executive of campaign group the Reward Foundation, warned the accessibility and anonymity – the ‘secretive nature’ – of social media allowed online grooming to become more prevalent.
She said: ‘It’s easy to lure someone with words of love and endearment online. If a guy asks for a photograph, it’s easy to send a picture.’
Ms Sharpe added that celebrities such as Kim Kardashian make youths think it is normal to be sexualised.
She said: ‘Our culture is about displaying your body and it’s that normative factor to have that celebrity lifestyle they’re inundated with. It’s a much more pornified culture. seen to be sexual is common in society today and it is making it very easy for men to pick up young women. It’s the culture that is making them groomed to be more sexual.’
Scoular originally faced 132 charges against 100 girls and young women. Prosecutors focused on the most serious offences and at trial he faced 34 charges. After the witnesses had
given their evidence, Scoular pleaded guilty to charges including grooming then sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl, having online sex chats with a 14year-old girl via Skype and demanding she send him indecent images.
He also admitted six sexual offences involving grooming and having underage sex with another 14-year-old girl. At the High Court on Thursday he was found guilty of seven charges of raping five victims after ‘grooming’ them on social media.
The jury also found him guilty of ten further sexual offences, including lewd and libidinous conduct and meeting minors for unlawful sex.
After the guilty verdicts it emerged that Scoular is serving a four-and-ahalf-year extended sentence, imposed in 2014, for similar offences involving two underage girls.
His name had been added to the sex offenders register for ten years.
Judge Lord Summers deferred sentence until September 19 at the High Court in Edinburgh.
He warned Scoular: ‘You should be under no illusion that you’re looking at a very lengthy period of sentence.’
Scoular will again be put on the sex offenders register and he was remanded into custody.
25 July 2018. Mark Blunden, the News and Technology Reporter gave good coverage to The Reward Foundation and the erectile dysfunction issue on page 11 of the London Evening Standard. It was also picked up by the Nigerian Bulletin.
16 July 2018. Kay Smith slightly re-wrote the Mail on Sunday article for The Times.
15 July 2018. Mary Sharpe is interviewed in the Scottish Mail on Sunday about the content of the lessons for primary schools being developed by The Reward Foundation. Page 21. A digital version of the article is available here.
15 July 2018. Mary Sharpe wrote this full-page opinion piece. Page 38.
4 July 2018. Mary Sharpe and Darryl Mead were interviewed for SecEd, the leading online portal for secondary schools in the UK. The original article can be seen here.
28 February 2018, Mary Sharpe was interviewed in the online Spanish news service Tu Cosmopolis. Full article in Spanish is here.
25 February 2018. An extensive Spanish language article on the impact of pornography, focusing on the pornography use story of Gabe Deem, with quotes from Darryl Mead and Mary Sharpe, as well as Gary Wilson and Dr Valerie Voon. The full article is available here.
4 February 2018
The story is also available online at the Sunday Times.
24 January 2018
This story also ran in the Scottish Financial News on 24 January 2018