Nursery managers ignored warnings about paedophile worker who went on sexually assault two toddlers
Alexander Mortimer, 30, was branded a “danger to children” and jailed for eight years in July 2012.
He preyed on the youngsters while employed by South Lanarkshire Council.
He was caught when internet detectives raided his home and found 17,967 horrific photos and 582 videos on his computer, including some of the “most depraved ever seen”.
Subsequent investigation found Mortimer used his nursery job to get to know the mum of two boys – then aged two and three – then abused them when he took them on trips.
A shocking review published yesterday by the council’s child protection committee has revealed the nursery’s failings and outlined how he “groomed parents” to get access to their children.
The report found bosses were warned several times about Mortimer shutting himself in toilet cubicles with children, blowing on their skin and changing nappies without rubber gloves.
But managers failed to follow up the reports, raise concerns further up the chain or even record them properly. The report, stated: “Overall laxity in organisational cultures can mean that abusers are aware that they have more freedom.”
It was also discovered Mortimer, from Rutherglen, near Glasgow, was employed after a 10-minute interview where two interviewers said he was unsuitable for the post.
The reports told how Mortimer would “groom parents” to get to their kids through social media.
It stated: “He made efforts to develop friendly relationships with colleagues and relatives of children in order to gain trust and thereby direct unsupervised access, for example by taking children out on play activities outwith his work.
“It was noted that while these efforts were widespread, he also seemed to focus on parents going through a time of difficulty, e.g. illness, when their usual guard might be lowered. He groomed parents in order to get to children.”
He even tried to adopt children through the council.
Child protection committee chairman Norman Dunning said: “It is important that when concerns are raised, by colleagues or parents, they are picked up on.
“If those concerns had been picked up on, it is possible he would not have felt it was so easy to get away with other more serious behaviour.
“What we have to do is make our recruitment processes as robust as we can and make sure services and parents are alert to those dangers.”
Anne Houston, chief executive of Children 1st, said: “It is important that every organisation listens, records and takes action on any concerns that staff, family, friends and children express.
“We understand that this may incur further cost and time for organisations but it’s fundamental in helping to keep children safe.”
Last night, one parent whose child attended the nursery said: “I put my son in there thinking they would be looked after well.
“They say nothing happened on the premises, but I don’t believe that. I don’t think we’ll ever get closure.”
Mortimer admitted molesting the boys and possessing child porn. His term was cut to five years 11 months after lawyers argued his guilty plea deserved a bigger sentence reduction.