Former scout leader from Islington raped boy in a field on camp, court hears
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
A scout leader from Islington raped a young boy in a field while on camp and made him pose naked inside the troop’s church hall base, a court heard today.
Ian Barker, of Queen’s Head Street, is charged with eight counts of child sex abuse between the late 1970s and early 1980s, when he helped out at a scout group in Camden.
The alleged abuse includes taking one boy into a field while on camp and making him pose naked, and on another occasion raping him.
He is also accused of making him pose naked in a cupboard during a group meet at All Hallows in Savernake Road, and of asking another boy to ejaculate into a piece of bread.
Barker, now 56, was in his late teens when the alleged abuse began, and the victims were under 14. Jurors at Blackfriars Crown Court were this morning played a video of the first victim’s police interview.
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In it, he talked about being led into a field by Barker when the other boys were in bed on a camp, he said: “I just couldn’t understand why these actions were anything to do with working towards merit badges.
“He asked me to adopt a particular pose to give him sight of me – leaning over to show him by behind and in another one I was leaning back giving him full sight of my groin area.”
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The victim said he remembered telling Barker he was cold and being told to go back to his tent and not speak about what had happened.
But the second time, he said, he was raped.
“I remember him putting his hand over my mouth,” he recalled. “And I remember being asked to bend over. I remember him breathing heavily and feeling pain in between my buttocks. It lasted three or four minutes. I remember him withdrawing and I remember being told to pull my pants up and not talk about it again.”
The next morning, when parents came to pick up their children, prizes were given out for achievements. The victim said Barker singled him out for a prize.
He said: “I thought to myself: ‘This is wrong.’ I felt incredibly ashamed and embarrassed and wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.”
Jurors heard after he told his parents about some of the abuse, but not the rape, they went to scout leaders – and were assured Barker would not be allowed to work in the organisation again.
The victim also gave evidence in court, from behind a screen, and talked about being in therapy for decades because the abuse had left him struggling with intimacy.
He came forward after watching a news piece about a solicitor offering to help victims of child abuse within the scouts.
When asked by Barker’s lawyer Rose Burns why he waited until 2014 to do so, he said: “There’s a number of reasons. Abuse is incredibly traumatic, I am trying to be as detailed as I can about events I have had to repress to deal with.
“I was silenced by the defendant and told never to talk about it and my parents’ response was to tell me not to talk about it.
“I found myself watching a news report and I thought: that’s me.
“Despite having therapy for 40 years, despite being silenced for 40 years I had to try very hard to compose myself when I reported it.”
Asked specifically whether his therapists had ever encouraged him to tell police about what happened, the victim said: “When these things happen to you, you can’t deal with them. You repress them. It’s taken me 40 years to report it knowing full well there would be consequences.
“This is on the edge for me. The justice system requires that witnesses give clarity, give total corroboration.
“But if the crime is so traumatic the witness can’t give evidence the whole justice system is scuppered. Child sexual abuse is so very, very damaging. So suggesting to me I should have reported it to police – yes, I should have. But I haven’t been in a position in my life to be strong enough. Because I was so traumatised and I was silenced.”
He also told the court Barker would play hide and seek and observation games with the scouts in the church hall.
“He used to get us to swap items of clothing,” he said. “So he could supposedly develop our powers of observation.
“I now know that that was just an excuse to take our clothes off. It was just a preamble to get us comfortable hiding in the church and taking our clothes off in front of him.
“There was always some excuse about developing skills. Always to do with some sort of merit badge.”
Barker denies three counts of indecent assault, three counts of indecency with a child, buggery and gross indecency.
The trial continues.