Council social worker struck off for sending offensive e-mails

A SOUTH Lanarkshire Council social worker accused of sending offensive e-mails, some involving child abuse, has been struck off.

Charles Devlin had worked as a child care worker in the council’s children and families team.

He was one of 15 council staff suspended by the council in November 2008 after “joke” messages featuring notorious paedophile Gary Glitter were found circulating in the authority’s e-mail system.

Devlin, who was based at the council’s child protection unit in Rutherglen, was subsequently sacked.

The 53-year-old, from Glasgow, then faced professional misconduct charges brought by the Scottish Social Services Council, the regulatory body for social care staff.

They considered six complaints against him, one of them that he sent the Gary Glitter e-mail to 28 other computer users.

He was also accused of circulating pornographic and homophobic e-mails, and another misconduct charge.

An SSSC conduct committee had heard evidence in the case on several dates this year and on Friday decided that his name should be removed from the social work register.

Unless Devlin successfully appeals against the decision, he will be unable to work as a social worker in Scotland for at least three years. After that period he can reapply for registration.

He is the second South Lanarkshire social worker to be struck off following the discovery of the Gary Glitter e-mail.

A third was allowed to retain his social work registration but only on condition that he undergo training.

Four others have taken their cases to an industrial tribunal.

The Gary Glitter e-mail was sent more than two years ago following the former pop star’s return to London following his release from a Vietnamese prison where he had served three years’ jail for child sex abuse and possession of kid porn images.

It was headed “Gary Glitter at duty free” and showed Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, carrying a bag apparently containing an Oriental child whose head peeked out of its top.

Devlin, a social worker with 32 years’ experience, sent the e-mail on or about August 22, 2008, to seven council staff and 21 people outwith the authority, according to the complaint against him.

On September 4 or 5 of that year he was also said to have sent an e-mail making reference to a child being placed for adoption, showing same sex couples in a state of undress and making reference to the sexual orientation of the couples in the images.

On September 5, 2008, in reply to that e-mail, he was accused of sending a message containing the words “caused havoc wi’ the pc lezers.”

Five days later, from his works computer, it was claimed he sent to three colleagues an e-mail containing 43 images, of which nine were offensive.

Eight contained lewd and sexually explicit images and one featured a young male child wearing only a t-shirt on which was superimposed a male adult chest.

Other images, considered lewd,abusive, discriminatory and homophobic, were sent on August 26and August 27, 2008.

One featured a young black child, another showed a sperm fertilising an egg with a derogatory reference to ethnic migration and a third showed photographs of young males wearing pink shorts.

A council probe discovered that in August 2008 alone, Devlin sent over 800 non-work related e-mails from council computers.

The misconduct sub-committee was told that the sending of non-work e-mails on that scale amounted to misconduct.

A spokesman for SSSC said: “Our conduct sub-committee found that Charles Devlin committed misconduct.

“They made an order for removal of his registration in the part of the register for social workers.

“He has until the January 6 to appeal.”