A PAEDOPHILE was allowed to visit a children’s play area with his daughter after a sheriff sanctioned the visits.
The child sex offender, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted of a sexual attack on a 12-year-old girl earlier this year.
Despite being a registered paedophile, the offender was twice able to visit Jungle Gemz in Musselburgh, East Lothian, after Sheriff Peter Braid sanctioned supervised visits to the soft play centre.
The decision to allow the visits has been blasted by the centre’s owners who have said they are “totally disgusted” and are now seeking legal action.
Parents who visit Jungle Gemz with their children have also slammed the decision and say they are shocked and appalled.
A spokesperson for the Judicial Office for Scotland said that the visits had been arranged while the father waited on visits to the Family Mediation Lothian (FHL) centre in Edinburgh to be sanctioned.
Visits to the centre to the FHL centre were postponed as, due to the charges he faced, the father was not allowed to be in the centre while other children were having visits.
The father, who lives in Portobello, Edinburgh, was convicted of a sex attack on the 12-year-old and a separate attack on a woman, following a trial in February.
He was given 200 hours’ community service, put on the sexual offender’s register and put on a three year probation order.
Alex Brown, owner of Jungle Gemz, which opened in July, claimed the sheriff had shown “disregard” for children’s safety.
The owner said: “I’m totally disgusted that a court can arrange these visits without telling us. We’ve been duped and we’re taking legal advice to ensure this will never be repeated.
“We wouldn’t have allowed such a visit in our centre. It was sheer negligence to disregard children’s safety. We’ll be looking for a full apology.”
Centre manager, Monica Brown said that staff have been told not to allow the man back into the centre.
She said:: “We didn’t know who this man was until after someone brought it to our attention. We’ve had a staff meeting and I’ve told everyone that this man is not allowed back again.
“There are many other places where a man like this could have supervised visits with his child, not at a soft-play centre with so many children present.”
Parent Lauren Smith, 24, whose three-year-old son goes to the centre said: “It’s shocking that no-one at Jungle Gemz was told this was happening.
“Parents can go into the soft-play area with their children, but my son prefers to go in on his own. I want to know my son is safe in there. It’s absolutely appalling.”
Several court hearings to determine access visits had been held since his conviction.
It is believed that the choice of venue was not contested by either solicitor before being signed off by the sheriff.
The fathers supervised visits are now being held at the Family Mediation Lothian centre in George Street.
The paedophile’s former partner and mother of his daughter said: “He was granted a three – hour visit once a month. I was disgusted that the court could send a convicted paedophile to a soft play centre, even if it was supervised. It’s completely wrong.
“It’s still not a situation I want my daughter to be in. He’s a very disturbed man, a menace. It’s an emotionally damaging situation for her.”
A spokeswoman for the Judicial Office for Scotland said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on a private custody case.”