Dr Sarah Nelson revealed five years ago that she had uncovered an abuse network centred on convicted sex abuser Tam Paton, the late manager of the Bay City Rollers.However, her demands for an inquiry were never followed up – despite compelling evidence that dozens of boys may have had their lives ruined by the twisted pop svengali and his powerful accomplices.Young runaways or children in care were lured in, drugged and then sexually abused. Many were then forced to work as ‘rent boys’ at a number of seedy secret flats across the Capital.
The paedophile ring is thought to have operated over several decades and to have included, at one time or another, well-known TV personalities, lawyers and police officers.
Victims were forced to stay quiet by a fear of reprisals, with at least one murder of a young man rumoured to have been carried out by the network.
In a chilling echo of the abuse scandal currently rocking Westminster, it now appears that a dossier of Scottish paedophiles with links to Paton was prepared in 1982 – but never made public.
In 2004, Dr Nelson carried out a study into adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse on behalf of NHS Lothian – and was stunned to hear so many allegations against Paton.
Her report detailed the existence of a paedophile ring operating across the region, which had resulted in many damaged young men ending up in prison or dying from drug overdoses.
Obtained by the Scottish Sunday Express, it states: “One criminal justice (social work) team reported work with a number of 18-25 year olds, most of whom had been in jail and who disclosed, while reflecting on their violent behaviour or drug misuse, that they had earlier been abused by a particular paedophile ring.
“As workers talked to each other and with staff like homeless workers, they realised that other male clients had been abused in the same way.”
In 2009, Dr Nelson carried out a follow-up study and again came across a substantial number of Paton’s alleged victims. The age of the victims indicates that Paton’s crimes may have continued well into new millenium.
Last night, the University of Edinburgh researcher said: “I have also worked in this field for a long time and I have heard longstanding 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.
“I also heard allegations that some homeless boys were placed in flats in Edinburgh for the purposes of prostitution. Both studies involved young men in the criminal justice system who revealed over time they had been abused by Tam Paton and others.
“These were very, very damaged individuals who had been inveigled into crime as part of this, so they were very reluctant to come forward. They were ashamed to have been abused and they also feared getting into further trouble with the law.
“It is fair to say they were the most damaged young men I ever worked with. The feeling at the time was that this was so blatant and so obvious that there were suspicions he was being protected in high places.”
She added: “The boys were frightened, there was an atmosphere of fear around these boys of young men. It is not usually fear that holds them back it is embarrassment and shame, but these young men were frightened of retaliation.”
In 2003, Paton was questioned by Surrey Police over historic abuse allegations dating back to the 1970s but the investigation was dropped
Dr Nelson, who advises the Scottish Government on child sexual abuse issues, first called for an investigation in April 2009, just days after Paton died of a heart attack aged 70.
She said yesterday: “I think it is something that should have happened long ago and if there is a desire then all well and good. It is not about revenge, it is about justice.
“I think that if a thorough investigation was carried out that there would be a lot of people working with vulnerable young men in the voluntary sector and the criminal justice system who would be very pleased.”
Frank Docherty, chairman of the In Care Abuse Survivors organisation, said the claims added weight to the growing calls for a public inquiry into hundreds of historic child abuse cases in Scotland.
He said: “Paedophile rings in my experience often involve people with power and wealth and high position. Any investigation into paedophilia would be welcomed, especially if it is going to involve kids in care.”
Scottish Labour’s justice spokesman, Graeme Pearson, said: “The SNP now stand alone in their refusal to implement a full and proper inquiry into instances of historic child abuse. The Scottish Government must finally agree to reassess their stance and bring forward proposals to answer the demands for justice from survivors.”
Paton’s disgraceful activities were an open secret for many years in Edinburgh, where he shared his fortress-like home at Gogar with teenage runaways and other troubled youngsters.
He was first jailed in 1982, sentenced to three years for engaging in “shameless and indecent conduct towards 10 teenage boys between 1978 and 1982”.
As insurance, Paton and the man who would later become his gay lover, Ray Cotter, prepared a 200-page dossier containing names and photographs of members of the paedophile ring.
Mr Cotter said at the time: “One day the truth will come out and proof will be given about the nasty people in this affair.”
Now aged 56 and said to be writing a book about Paton, Mr Cotter was unavailable for comment at his home in Corstorphine yesterday. In 2009, he said: “I’ve seen him do horrendous things, like putting drugs in people’s drinks. He got away with it because people were scared of his criminal connections.”
Eight years after he was imprisoned, Paton was again at the centre of the Operation Planet rent boy scandal.
It was launched in 1990 after a 16-year-old boy on leave from a children’s home was held at an address in central Edinburgh, drugged and repeatedly raped over a period of 10 days.
The investigation initially resulted in 57 charges against 10 men, later reduced to 10 charges against five men whose not guilty pleas were accepted by a court in February 1991.
Paton, who built up a huge property portfolio using his pop earnings, owned a house on Palmerston Place which police believed to be at the hub of the Operation Planet network.
In 2003, Paton was questioned by Surrey Police over historic abuse allegations dating back to the 1970s but the investigation was dropped.
The following year he was convicted of supplying cannabis and fined £200,000 after two police raids uncovered drugs worth £26,000 at his house.
He was also investigated over claims he raped Rollers guitarist Pat McGlynn in a hotel room in 1977 but police said there was “insufficient evidence” to bring charges.
After his death, Rollers singer Les McKeown also claimed he had been raped by Paton and said: “I can’t imagine a man nor beast who will be mourning his passing.”
Yesterday, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said they could not comment on individual cases, adding: “Anyone who has evidence of, or has suffered child sexual abuse, should contact the police for an investigation to be made.”