Church bosses this week defended their decision to employ a former Lanarkshire cleric convicted of a serious sex crime.
Ian Garvock was jailed for 10 years in November, 1990, for raping a four-year-old girl. The attack took place in August that year at a grassed area alongside Keir Hardie Road, Larkhall. Garvock, an amateur magician, was said to have lured the girl away by offering to show her conjuring tricks.
He was for five years minister of the Congregational Church in Larkhall’s Muir Street. He left in 1988 and was living in Balfour Wynd, Larkhall, at the time of the incident.
Garvock always denied the assault and later Appeal Court judges cut his sentence by two years and ruled that he was guilty of indecent assault rather than rape.
It emerged last week that the Leith-born 62-year-old was released from prison in 1995 and has since been working for the Congregational Federation in Nottingham.
He is said to live in a flat above the group’s conference centre and next to their church and Christian book shop.
Garvock’s victim, now 21, was shocked to learn of his church role and hit out at the church for employing Garvock.
“What he did to me that day has had a devastating impact,” she said. “I hate the man and feel very disappointed to think that they would let someone like that back.”
Rev Ian Gregory, spokesman for the Congregational Federation, confirmed that Garvock was employed as an administrative assistant. “He works in an office of 11 people,” added Mr Gregory. “He runs messages, answers the telephone and types out letters. He doesn’t come into contact with children or members of the public.”
He said the church had been fully aware of his conviction and added: “We are not judge and jury here and neither are we a court of law. He has said he was innocent of any wrong doing. Even if that was not the case, we trust him and want him to have a life. We don’t want to throw him on the scrapheap. He has spent five years in jail and as far as we are concerned he has served his sentence, whether he did it or not.”
Mr Gregory said it had been a big step for the Federation to give Garvock a job when he left prison.
He added: “We thought that it the right thing to do and we have been proved right. He has not done anyone any harm and he has been a useful chap to have around.”
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