East Lothian church elder placed on sex offender registry for inappropriate gift

A church elder who gifted a sex toy to a young shop assistant along with a card proclaiming that she was “entering the full bloom of female youth” has been entered into the sex offender registry.

James Panton encouraged the woman, who is in her early twenties, to have people “enjoy our bodies at all stages of our lives” in a handwritten card that comes in a tote bag with the device.

The victim, who cannot be identified, initially thought it was a back massager before a colleague discovered the same item for sale on the adult site LoveHoney.

She then informed her grandparents of the incident, who contacted the police.

The victim recounted how retired biochemical scientist Panton, 61, entered her workplace before starting a shift to give her the gift.

They had already spoken in another store.

Panton had written on the envelope that she should open it in her “own personal and private space”.

The woman said she initially thought it was a “nice gesture” and then thought it was a “back massager”.

The lawsuit heard the accompanying card read, “If you find it inappropriate, please put it in the trash.”

“If you accept it with the respect and honesty with which it is given, then I’ll be happy and that’s it.”

“It is undeniable now that you are entering the full blossoming of female youth and, recognizing that as a human to another human, it is important for us to reach out with sensitivity and honesty to encourage each other. to achieve the most of our experiences as we explore who we are and enjoy our bodies at all stages of our lives.

“We are all beautifully made.”

Testifying, the father of three, Panton, said he heard the woman broke up with her boyfriend and thought she looked “calm and desperate” and was gaining weight.

He said: “I thought I couldn’t let a young woman like that sit down and feel brooding in her prime.”

Panton added, “I was trying to instill in him self-esteem and elevate his self-image.”

He purchased the item from Amazon, the court said, but denied that the gift was intended to provide him with sexual gratification. Panton said the device could be used to massage “sore muscles” as he advertised, but acknowledged that the device could be used for “sensual purposes.”



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Panton, a widower, added: “My problem is that I am a helper. I interfere.

He later said at the trial, “At the time, I thought (the vibrator) was fine. I now know not.

“My heart felt I was doing the right thing. There was no evil gratification sought. It was done with integrity.

He told the court it was “the dumbest, most impulsive thing I have done in my entire life” and that his arrest and trial left him “a hollow man”.

Sheriff Adrian Fraser convicted Panton of indecent communication with the woman by sending a card and package to his workplace which was indecent and sexual in nature.

The sheriff has postponed Panton, of Dunbar, East Lothian, for reports, including a psychiatric assessment, until next month and put him on the sex offender registry.

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About Joaquin Robertson

Joaquin Robertson

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