Social worker struck off for indecent images of children

Ronnie Park was convicted after police raided his home and seized an iPhone.

Social worker struck off for indecent images of children iStock
Struck off: Ronnie Park was convicted after police raided his home and seized an iPhone.

A social worker snared with indecent images of children has been struck off the care register.

Ronnie Park was caught with eight images on two different iPhones and distributed them to pals between May 2017 and December 2019.

Park, who worked for Clackmannanshire Council at the time, claimed he forwarded them to friends for “shock value”.

The social worker, who was also said to be a stand-up comedian and local radio DJ, pleaded guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court last October to possession and distribution of indecent images.

He was later sentenced to a Community Payback Order with unpaid work and was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for two years.

Following his conviction, the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) found his fitness to practise impaired.

His removal from the register came into effect on Tuesday.

In a written ruling, the watchdog said: “The behaviour is of the highest seriousness.

“You were employed as a children’s social worker. Behaviour of this nature violates fundamental tenets of the profession and is not easily remediable.

“This type of behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with professional registration and is indicative of deep-seated attitudinal problems.

“The possession and distributing of indecent photos or pseudo photos of children is abusive behaviour and gives rise to a significant need to protect service users and the wider public.”

Park was caught by police after officers raided his home in Glasgow’s Baillieston and seized an iPhone.

Prosecutor Mark Allan told the court Park admitted ownership of the device and stated he owned no others.

A cybercrime examination of the phone recovered three moving indecent images of children.

Mr Allan added: “These were images of children between infant age and nine years.

“Images were distributed to another by the accused using WhatsApp.”

Park was arrested before another iPhone was recovered from him which contained a further five moving images.

Mr Allan stated: “These were children aged between six months and 11-years-old.

“These moving images were images of child exploitation.”

The hearing was told the five images were also distributed by Park on WhatsApp.

Defence lawyer Ross Yuill claimed Park was sent the images on WhatsApp groups and didn’t search for them.

He added: “These were from people known to him and were considered of shock value and some level of dark humour was involved.

“These were for shock or surprise and were sent to some friends and not some random people or chatroom.

“These images are vile and distressing and should not have been circulated in any way.”

The SSSC noted that Park had engaged with their investigation “to a meaningful extent”, but stated that his conviction “amounts to an abuse of trust”.

The panel concluded: “The SSSC considers that a removal order is the most appropriate sanction as it is both necessary and justified in the public interest and to maintain the continuing trust and confidence in the social service profession and the SSSC as the regulator of the profession.”

A spokesperson for Clackmannanshire Council said: “Mr Park is not engaged with the council, his employment having concluded almost two years ago.”