AN abuse victim is suing the Boys’ Brigade for damages after accusing a leader of molesting him, we can reveal.
Yesterday, Alex Pollock said BB leaders failed him at the time of the abuse in 1970 and again doing so today by claiming they have no records of his alleged attacker as an officer.
Mr Pollock, 60, who has photographs from the time showing Duncan Mitchell, then 21, as a leader in his BB uniform, said: “I was shocked at the way the Boys’ Brigade tried to deny responsibility.
“They might not have kept the evidence that shows Mitchell was part of the brigade, but I have photographs of him in his uniform and with me, which speak for themselves.
“I spent my childhood as an active member of the Life Boys then the Boys’ Brigade until I was abused by Duncan Mitchell.
“The organisation taught us about honour and responsibility. They had a responsibility to keep me safe from harm. And their denials now are anything but honourable.”
Lawyers for the Brigade have tried to reject Mr Pollock’s legal action, saying they have only “limited records” of his alleged abuser.
They claimed those records did not support the claim Mitchell was an officer with the Brigade in 1970.
Mr Pollock, originally from Kilwinning, Ayrshire, is to press ahead with his legal action, claiming the abuse by Brigade officer Mitchell, who is now dead, destroyed his life.
In 2015 he reported Mitchell to the police, after being encouraged to speak out by the shocking revelations about broadcaster Jimmy Savile.
He was devastated to be told that there could be no prosecution due to a lack of corroborating evidence, and Mitchell died a few months later, aged 66.
But he received a criminal injuries compensation claim of £2,000 after authorities accepted he had been abused while a BB member.
Law firm Clyde & Co told Mr Pollock the Brigade had instructed them to reject his claim.
In a letter to Mr Pollock, the lawyers wrote: “The Boys’ Brigade hold very limited records. They do not show that Duncan Mitchell was a Warrant Officer at the time alleged.
“Furthermore, we consider that a fair hearing will not be possible. The alleged abuser is dead. The group captain from 1970 is also dead.
“There is substantial prejudice. There is a dearth of documentary evidence.”
Clyde & Co said they had been instructed to “repudiate the claim”.
But Mr Pollock says this has made him determined to press ahead as he believes “there may be others suffering in silence as I have done all these years”.
Although he tried to avoid being near Mitchell, Mr Pollock claimed he struck repeatedly, forcing him to quit and lie to his parents about the reasons why.
Mr Pollock, who now lives in Leicester, said: “I was barely 12 years old when the abuse took place, and I was so traumatised and ashamed, I simply could not tell my parents.
“Things were made even more difficult because Mitchell lived just a few yards from our family home, and we lived in a small, tight-knit community.
“I never got over what he did to me and was so traumatised about having to see him around the town that, as soon as I was able to, I joined the RAF and fled Kilwinning.”
He said Mitchell invited him to the home he shared with his mother on the pretext of showing him photographs of a climbing expedition.
He said: “As a Boys’ Brigade leader, Mitchell was well aware of how much I enjoyed the outdoors, and climbing was a favourite activity. We went on trips to places like Ben Lomond.
“Of course, I did not realise I was being lured into a situation that would change my life forever.
“Mitchell made a point of befriending me. He’d take me to the pictures and even asked my parents if they would be happy if he gave me a job on his fish van so I could earn some extra pocket money.
“When he invited me to his home to look at the mountaineering photographs, I had no idea he was planning anything sinister. Once there, he gave me sherry.
“Never having drunk anything before, I became dizzy and disorientated. He used that to carry out a number of sexual acts.
“I was powerless to stop him as he was much bigger them me and eight or nine years older. The only thing I could think of doing was to say I was going to be sick, and when he let me go, instead of heading to the bathroom, I fled the house and ran home.”
He added: “I can hardly bear to look at the photographs of the trip we took up Ben Lomond because instead of happy boyhood memories, all I get are flashbacks of the vile things he did to me.”
Mr Pollock claims he stayed away from the BBs for weeks, until his parents demanded to know what was wrong.
He said: “I reluctantly returned to the Brigade hoping that I could simply stay away from Mitchell’s clutches.
“A camping and climbing trip was arranged in the hills above Largs. I thought I’d be safe because Mitchell wasn’t going. But at the last minute, he turned up and made sure he and I shared a tent. He abused me again and all I could do the next morning was to claim I had hurt my leg so I could go home.
“It was clear I couldn’t ever return to the Boys’ Brigade.”
Mr Pollock said it had been a huge relief to speak out, adding: “If there are others out there staying silent, I hope they find the strength to come forward.”
He said: “I was married and have a son, but still I couldn’t tell what happened.
“When the Jimmy Savile scandal broke, I finally found the strength to speak.”
His lawyer, Cameron Fyfe, said: “The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority made the award after examining evidence from the police. They accepted that he was abused.
“We have also obtained expert reports which show Alex has suffered PTSD and many years of trauma.”
He said Mr Pollock would press ahead with his case despite the Boys’ Brigade’s claim of inadequate records.
The Boys’ Brigade, said: “We are aware of the current legal claim involving Mr Pollock and, therefore, are very limited in what we can say at this stage.
“The Boys’ Brigade regrets deeply the abuse of any child and any harm caused. We recognise that these cases, albeit thankfully rare, are characterised by a betrayal of a child’s trust which can have long-term consequences for that child and into adulthood.”
It added that the Brigade’s modern safeguards and measures to protect children were “much more robust”.