Duke of Edinburgh instructor sexually assaulted schoolgirls

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A Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme instructor who sexually assaulted two teenage girls has avoided jail.

Shamed Graham Stirling from Chestnut Crescent in Denny had denied the charges, but was found guilty at Stirling Sheriff Court after a two-day trial earlier this month and had sentence deferred for background reports until yesterday (Wednesday).

When the 56-year-old dad of three grown-up daughters appeared before Sheriff William Gilchrist he was placed on a supervised community payback order and sex offenders registers for 12 months.

The court was told the electrical engineer had been suspended by his bosses at Scottish Power following his conviction and since resigned and now faced the prospect of losing his home.

University educated Stirling assaulted his first victim in June 2013 when she was aged 15.

They were on a Duke of Edinburgh bronze award overnight expedition near Aberfoyle when he came up behind her and “lingeringly cupped” her bottom as she squatted on her haunches looking at tadpoles.

In April last year Stirling struck again, this time during a DofE camp in Carron Valley, by grabbing a 14-year-old below the waist as he helped her adjust the straps on her backpack.

The court was told the parents of his first victim reported what had happened to her high school run by Stirling Council and the deputy head had told Stirling, a parent-helper, “that would be the end of his participation in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme or any extra-curricular activity”.

But when the deputy retired at the end of that term Stirling was invited back by the school’s DofE organiser - clearing the way for the sex pest to strike again.

Defence lawyer Mike Lowrie said: “He believes that given this conviction and his age further employment will be hard to come by. His home might be at risk because although his wife works her income is limited and there may be various other impacts as well.”