Ukrainian Olesandr Novikov was caught out at Glasgow Central Station waiting for what he thought was a young schoolgirl coming to meet him from Falkirk.
However, the “14-year-old girl” he had chatted to online was in fact an adult female from the town and a member of Wolfpack Hunters UK. She had posted pictures of herself as a young teen to use in the sting operation.
The group created a profile of her as “Megan” on social networking service MeetMe.
Novikov’s online interactions had taken place over a couple of weeks in January 2018 and he subsequently pled guilty to sending messages of a sexual nature to a person he believed to be under 14, and travelling to meet a girl he believed to be under the age of consent with the intention of engaging in sexual activity.
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He received a community payback order and was placed on the sex offenders register.
Novikov, of Paisley Road West, Glasgow, appeared at a Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) hearing recently and a panel found his fitness to practise was impaired because his actions were “fundamentally incompatible with the standard of behaviour expected of a registered care worker”.
Novikov, who was a care worker for adults, failed to inform the SSSC about his arrest and did not engage in the regulatory process.
The panel stated: “In light of the seriousness of the behaviour and the damage caused to the reputation of the profession, no amount of insight could avoid a finding of current impairment.
“We consider there is a real public protection risk arising from the behaviour. While your care work is with adults, the nature of that work does not exclude contact with children as a trusted adult.
“We also considered the public would be concerned by your actions. The panel considers a removal order is the most appropriate sanction as the behaviour demonstrates a serious breach of trust and departure from relevant professional standards.
“A removal order is both necessary and justified in the public interest and to maintain the continuing trust and confidence in the social service profession and the SSSC as regulator of the profession.”