Scotland: Ex-SNP councilor jailed for sexually abusing teenagers

Markus Kerr

Mark Kerr, 40, jailed for six years and placed on the sex offenders register (Images: Police Scotland/Google Maps)

A former SNP council member who assaulted teenagers and attempted to rape a boy was arrested.

Mark Kerr was seen as a “mentor” by one of his victims before exploiting and abusing him, a court has heard.

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

The 40-year-old committed the most crimes before he was elected Councilor of Kilsyth in Croy in 2017.

The jury heard a target look up to him as an openly gay man as he came out himself.

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

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

The victim, who is now in her 20s, said: “I froze when I understood what was going on. I couldn’t control my body. It didn’t allow me to do anything.’

He went on to publicly confront Kerr about the stabbing in the presence of his mother, saying, “Tell my mother what you did to me.”

Another boy said he had been assaulted and inappropriately touched since around 2012.

Once, after explicitly describing sexual acts, Kerr told him, “Don’t rap until you’ve tried.”

The Supreme Court in Paisley.

The High Court in Paisley accepted that Kerr was a “predator who hid in plain sight” (Image: Google Maps)

Kerr also molested a boy in a tent on a camping trip in Croy. He was accused of raping a second boy on the same trip, but was acquitted of those charges.

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

His latest victim was a boy who went to a food bank set up to help people during the 2020 lockdown.

He told the jury: “I thought he was a nice guy. I don’t see that now.’

Kerr denied the allegations against him, insisting he was the victim of a campaign to brand him a “local nonce”.

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

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

The High Court in Paisley on Friday sentenced Kerr to six years in prison after the judge said he lacked 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 had a position of responsibility and trust as a local politician, but he prayed for teenagers, one of whom he met at an official event.

“He befriended them and betrayed them.”

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Justin Scacco

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