Worship leader raped teenager during campaign of abuse

The 56-year-old has a string of sex offence convictions dating back to 1977.

Worship leader raped teenager during campaign of abuse STV News

A former worship leader raped a teenage churchgoer during a campaign of sex offending spanning over 40 years.

Stephen Charters is facing a life sentence after a judge ordered a full risk assessment be prepared on him on Tuesday.

The 56-year-old, who was convicted of nine sex attacks on four victims between November 1984 and October 2015, attacked the 18-year-old in an Edinburgh hotel after she made a “cry for help” to him.

He told the teen, who was worried about being made homeless after the end of a relationship, that he would help her find accommodation.

But once they got to the Travelodge in October 2015, Charters, from Galashiels in the Borders, attacked and raped her.

Charters had denied the charges but was convicted of nine crimes, including rape, sexual assault and indecent conduct.

The former bus driver and community worker was also jailed for five years in 2016 after being convicted of a string of sexual offences against children dating back to 1977.

Lady Carmichael made a risk assessment order on him at the High Court in Edinburgh after taking into account recommendations in an initial report prepared on Charters, along with his history of offending and the latest sex crimes he was convicted of earlier this year.

Such a move can result in the imposition of an Order for Lifelong Restriction on the sex offender.

During the latest trial he claimed that sex with the teenager who came to him seeking help was consensual but she told the court that it made her feel “horrible inside”.

She said: “I just felt sick.”

She later told police that she was “upset and emotional” at the time following her break up.

She said: “I thought once he got to the hotel room he was going to go and I would get the room to myself.”

But instead she said Charters “forced himself” on her.

The court heard that she had previously attended a church in Leven, in Fife, where he acted as a worship leader and she was in contact with him through social media.

Prosecutor Steven Borthwick said the woman had made “a cry for help” to Charters.

He replied: “Yes, I suppose you could put it that way. I went over to help her out because she had no accommodation and she was scared.” 

Charters said that in 1984 he was involved with a Baptist church in Edinburgh but had become a Christian “years before”.

Sentence was deferred on Charters until November 9 at the High Court in Airdrie.

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