Ex US marine claimed the three children he abused were all liars

David Ledbetter at the High Court Glasgow
David Ledbetter at the High Court Glasgow

A former United States marine was convicted of sexually abusing three young children in the USA and Scotland over a 14-year period.

Although the majority of 53-year-old James Ledbetter’s offences took place in Texas between 1997 and 2005, a deal was struck between US prosecutors and the Crown Office to try the case in Scotland.

Ledbetter, from Falkirk, appeared at the High Court in Glasgow this week and was found guilty of carrying out sexual offences against two boys and a girl between 1997 and 2011. The security guard denied all charges against him and claimed his victims were lying.

During proceedings, Ledbetter was asked by prosecutor Alan Cameron: “You are saying they conspired together to fit you up?”

Ledbetter replied: “Yes, that’s what they are trying to do. I didn’t molest anybody and why I’m here I don’t know.”

His offences came to light when one of his victims contacted police in 2015.

They told how he would give them Playstation games and cash to buy sweets after he carried out vile sexual abuse on them. One young victim, while he was aged between six and 12, was on various occasions plied with alcohol before being sexually abused.

Ledbetter showed another young victim, aged between 11 and 13, pornographic films, before abusing him.

The girl Ledbetter abused was 14 when he began touching her on the breasts and private parts.

Ledbetter is now on an indefinite stay visa after being sponsored by his wife Laura (53), a former nurse, who gave evidence on his behalf.

Judge Lord Burns deferred sentence on the first offender until next month to allow background reports to be carried out before sentencing. Ledbetter was placed on the sex offenders’ register.