Arrest in Tam Paton child abuse inquiry
POLICE investigating claims of a child abuse ring led by Bay City Rollers manager Tam Paton have made an arrest, it can be revealed. Detectives have been carrying out a long-running investigation into the actions of the late pop Svengali and those around him from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Officers swooped on the 77-year-old suspect last month and he has since been charged in connection with “non-recent sexual offences”. The Police Scotland probe has been carried out alongside the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, chaired by judge Lady Smith. Several men who claim to have been abused at Paton’s Edinburgh home when they were teenage boys in care are understood to have spoken to the inquiry.
Last night, one survivor – who cannot be named for legal reasons – said: “The police came to my door and said they had made an arrest.
“They said the charges are relating to the parties held at Paton’s house.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all as I was interviewed by the police ages and ages ago.
“I believe it has all come about as a result of the historic abuse inquiry.”
Paton, who weighed 25 stone when he died in 2009, was jailed in 1982 for gross indecency with 16 and 17-year-old youths.
It was an open secret in Edinburgh for many years that vulnerable teenagers and runaways were invited back to Paton’s home for drugs and sex parties.
However, he always defended his controversial lifestyle and claimed he was unfairly targeted for being openly gay.
In 1990, a 16-year-old boy from a care home was held at a flat owned by Paton in the New Town and raped repeatedly over several days.
This led to the Operation Planet scandal, where charges against a number of unidentified high-profile individuals were mysteriously dropped.
Five years ago, shortly after the truth emerged about Jimmy Savile, this newspaper was the first to question why Paton’s alleged crimes had apparently been ignored for so long.
At the time, Edinburgh University child sex abuse expert Dr Sarah Nelson said she had encountered many “damaged young men” who had been used by Paton and his group.
She said: “I have heard long-standing claims that very vulnerable boys and young men were not only sexually abused by Tam Paton but also that there was a paedophile ring in existence.”
Author Simon Spence uncovered links between Paton and an Edinburgh institution known as the Ponton House Lads’ Home in his 2016 book When the Screaming Stops: The Dark History of the Bay City Rollers.
Last year, he told the Scottish Sunday Express: “I interviewed over 100 people, including quite a few individuals who talked about how they were groomed and abused by Paton when they were as young as 13.”
Mr Spence was among those who urged Lady Smith and her team to look into the links between Paton and Nazareth House orphanage in Lasswade, Midlothian.
However, it is understood that most of the claims relate to council-run children’s homes in Edinburgh, which are still to be examined by the inquiry.
Last night, a Police Scotland spokesman said: “A 77-year-old man was charged on May 17, 2019 in connection with non-recent sexual offences and a report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”