Former Bellshill YMCA manager has been found guilty of sex offences against girls under 16.

The former manager of Bellshill and Mossend YMCA has been convicted of sex offences involving teenage girls.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 11:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 12:42 pm
Hamilton Sheriff

Stephen Henderson, 31, could now be sent to prison after a jury found him guilty at Hamilton Sheriff Court this week.

He was convicted of communicating indecently with two girls aged under 16 and meeting one of them with the intention of engaging in unlawful sexual activity.

The offences happened between 2013 and 2017.

One of the girls involved said Henderson asked her 'What would happen if I asked you to kiss me?

"What would you do if I asked to have sex with you?'

She claimed the comments were made after he gave her a lift home following an evening activity programme at the YMCA.

Henderson, of Main Street, Holytown, denied improper conduct towards the girls.

However, the jury rejected his protests of innocence.

Sheriff Colin Dunipace deferred sentence for a criminal justice social work report.

Henderson must return to court on April 16 where he will learn his fate.

The court heard that he attended the YMCA as a 14-year-old schoolboy and went on to become a volunteer worker.

He secured paid employment and rose through the ranks to become manager.

Henderson said the organisation was an important influence on him in his teenage years.

He told the court: "I had been through a tough time and could have taken a different path had it not been for the help of youth workers."

Henderson said one to one contact with vulnerable teenagers was important as it allowed them to "open up" about their problems.

Issues discussed included bullying, drugs and alcohol, sexual health and self-harming.

The court heard one of the girls was aged 15 when she told him she was "experimenting with drugs and sex".

It was put to him that he then "sounded her out about how she felt about you".

He denied saying anything inappropriate to the girl in question.

Henderson was suspended from his post as YMCA manager in 2019 when allegations against him were made.

The YMCA carried out an investigation and the police were called in after more evidence came to light.