A disgraced Moray minister has been placed on the sex offenders’ register after placing his hands on a woman before attempting to kiss her.
The Reverend Alastair Gray was suspended from holding services at Keith North Church for more than a year after police were called-in to investigate.
Yesterday, the 66-year-old was sentenced at Elgin Sheriff Court after being found guilty of sexual assault and assault charges.
The Keith resident has held senior posts as clerk of Moray Presbytery and served as a religious representative on Moray Council’s children and young people’s committee, a position he left in November 2018.
Now, however, his career in the church faces an uncertain future following court proceedings.
The charges against Gray state that on October 8, 2018, he sexually assaulted a woman in her home by placing his hands on her hips and stomach while attempting to kiss her.
The assault charge concerns an incident on the same day, involving the same woman, in which he seized hold of her arm before pulling and pushing her, causing her to fall down steps to her injury.
Solicitor Stephen Carty said a social work report prepared for yesterday’s hearing was “relatively positive” about his client – and explained he was willing and able to carry out unpaid work.
Gray had been minister at Keith North since September 2015 after leaving a previous position at Bower, Watten and Halkirk in Caithness, where he was also a member of Wick Choral Society.
Before his suspension he had also been fulfilling the role of interim moderator at the St Rufus, Botriphnie and Grant Church in Keith as it did not have its own minister.
Gray, of Church Road, Keith, was placed on the sex offenders’ register, made subject to social work supervision for 12 months and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work after being found guilty of the assault and sexual assault charges following a trial.
A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “We deeply regret that a Church of Scotland minister has been found guilty, in a criminal court, of such grave offences.
“Mr Gray had already been suspended pending the outcome of the court case.
“Now that this has been concluded the Church will resume its own disciplinary procedures.”