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FORMER MORAY COUNCILLOR Sean Morton has been sentenced to 140 hours of Community Service at Elgin Sheriff Court today.
His appearance for sentencing followed a guilty plea at the same court in November last year to possession of pornographic images of children.
He was placed on the sex offenders register immediately at his earlier appearance, while any other action was delayed as the court considered a criminal justice social work report. While entering the guilty plea, Morton always maintained that he had received the images in a message attachment on an old phone but had never opened them.
However, he subsequently backed-up a copy of the contents of the phone, which dated back to 2013, onto a computer – and that was later discovered during an investigation that followed a complaint from a former partner.
His sentencing hearing was twice delayed but finally came to a conclusion today, with Morton giving a statement to insideMORAY afterwards.
He said: “Today has been a long time coming. The last 621 days have been a living hell: for my family, my friends, and for me. We’ve sadly had to endure times as tough as these before – but I hope we never have to again.
“In November 2017, well over a year after this investigation began, I was told how I had come into possession of seven indecent images. These were sent to me anonymously.
“I realised I hadn’t been as careful about who I spoke to online as I would be in my everyday life. As a survivor of childhood sex abuse, I felt revulsion at what had happened and immediately felt I must accept my guilt.
“I wish with all my heart the sender never sent the images. I wish I had been less careless and much more guarded online, but I know as well as anyone that wishing will not make bad memories go away.
“Wishing cannot change what happened, only what can happen next. I will say more about what happened in the coming weeks and months, but for now I want to say this – to the police and crown prosecution service, whose job it is to take accusations of these sort very seriously, thank you for giving this the due diligence the public would expect.
“To those of you who were disappointed, angry and hurt by what you read – I’m sorry. I completely understand.
“And finally, to those of you who saw that there had to be more to all of this than what you read in the press, thank you, for your faith in me and for your support. It has helped and will continue to help me keep going.”