North football coach admits luring boys to a hostel bedroom and indecently assaulting them

Robbie Russell
Robbie Russell

A football coach was charged with child abuse after contacting one of his victims offering to act as a soccer scout for his two sons.

Robert Russell lured young boys into his hostel bedroom and indecently assaulted them more than three decades ago.

But it was not until the 67-year-old got in touch with one of his victims, who has since grown up, that police became involved.

Inverness Sheriff Court was told that the father was “furious” when he received a letter from Russell, recalling the abuse he suffered at his hands. He then reported him to the police.

Russell, of Cooper Street, Elgin, yesterday admitted a sexual assault on one teenager and indecently assaulting three others.

The victims were aged between 15 and 18 at the time of the offences which took place between August 1977 and August 1984.

Fiscal depute Alison McKenzie told Sheriff Margaret Neilson that Russell was a registered coach with the Scottish Youth Football Association and a swimming instructor.

She said he was working with Highland League side Lossiemouth and its association with Lossiemouth High School in February 2017 when police arrested him.

At the time of the offences, Russell was teaching swimming at Dingwall Sports Centre, as well as being a community education officer with Highland Council.

The court heard he had stayed in a hostel flat in Dingwall where three of his victims were assaulted.

One boy was staying at the hostel when Russell fondled and carried out a sex act on him as he got ready for bed.

Two other boys who lived outside Dingwall were invited to stay in his hostel flat where he groped their buttocks or genitals or tried to grope them.

The other offence took place in the swimming pool area where he molested the same boy “so frequently he could not remember the number of occasions” said Mrs McKenzie.

Russell, who has no previous convictions, had his sentence deferred for a background report until July 5 and had his bail continued.

He was placed on the sex offenders register.

We have been asked by Lossiemouth FC to make clear that Robert Russell was working for the club in a maintenance capacity at the time of his arrest last year and was at no time involved in coaching any of its youth players.

The nature of his role was not specified in the court proceedings. We are happy to make this clarification.