Scotland: Former SNP councilor jailed for sexually abusing teenagers

Mark Kerr, 40, was jailed for six years and listed as a sex offender (Pictures: Police Scotland/Google Maps)

A former SNP adviser who assaulted teenagers and attempted to rape a boy has been jailed.

Mark Kerr was seen as a ‘mentor’ by one of his victims before he took advantage and abused him, a court has heard.

He was found guilty of nine counts involving offenses committed between May 2012 and May 2020 in Lanarkshire.

The 40-year-old committed most of the crime before he was elected to represent Kilsyth ward in Croy in 2017.

Jurors heard how a target saw him as an openly gay man as he walked out himself.

Kerr first touched him sexually when he was just 15 in a disused quarry.

On another occasion in 2015, the boy was sleeping in Kerr’s house when he woke up to the predator trying to rape him.

The victim, who is now in his 20s, said: ‘I froze once I realized what was going on. I couldn’t control my body. It didn’t allow me to do anything.

He then publicly confronted Kerr at knifepoint in the presence of his mother, saying, “Tell my mother what you did to me.”

Another boy said he was targeted around 2012 and hit inappropriately.

Only once, after explicitly describing sex acts, did Kerr tell her, “Don’t hit until you try.”

The Paisley High Court.

The Paisley High Court has found Kerr to be a ‘predator hiding in plain sight’ (Picture: Google Maps)

Kerr also assaulted a boy in a tent while on a camping trip in Croy. He was charged with raping a second boy on the same trip but acquitted of that charge.

However, the High Court in Glasgow found Kerr guilty of sexually assaulting the rape accuser in 2014 after groping him and sending him graphic messages.

His most recent victim was a boy who visited a food bank set up to help people during the 2020 lockdown.

He told jurors: ‘I thought he was a nice guy. I don’t see that now.

Kerr denied the charges against him, insisting he had been the victim of a campaign to label him a “local nuncio”.

In often graphic detail, he insisted he was physically unable to do some of what was alleged, saying he was “a 40-year-old virgin”.

But the court accepted the charge calling Kerr a “predator hiding in plain sight” and a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

The Paisley High Court on Friday jailed Kerr for six years after the judge said he “lacks remorse and empathy” for the victims.

He was also placed on the sex offender list for life.

Detective Inspector Colin Moffat of Police Scotland’s National Child Abuse Investigation Unit said: ‘Kerr was in a position of responsibility and trust as a local politician, but he prayed for teenagers, one of whom he met at an official ceremony.

“He befriended them and betrayed them.”

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