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Man working as ‘house father’ in children’s home sexually assaults numerous children

By Mason White 11:19 AM December 5, 2014
John ‘Jock’ Cowan 

By: Tanya Malhotra
A man was arrested, charged and convicted of sexual assault after sexually assaulting numerous children at a group home, prosecutors in the United Kingdom said.

The former children’s home worker, who was convicted of sexually abusing six children more than 40 years ago, has been jailed for eight years.

72-year-old John ‘Jock’ Cowan of Littlebourne, Hither Green, Lewisham, SE13, was found guilty at the Harrow Crown Court of 10 counts of historic indecent assault and one count of gross indecency, committed between 1971 and 1973.

He was found guilty on Thursday, and was sentenced on Friday.

The offenses took place at a children’s home in Ealing, where Cowan worked as what was known as a “house father” for two years before he left in 1973.

An investigation began when a woman walked into the Shepherds Bush police station to report an allegation of sexual assault against Cowan that happened when she was about seven or eight years old.

She told police that she believed Cowan had abused more children in his care.

Detectives identified more victims from the children’s home, five women aged between five and 10 at the time and a man aged six at the time.

The man described how on more than one occasion, Cowan had taken him from his bed, saying he had to go to the toilet. Once inside the bathroom, Cowan sexually assaulted him.

Cowan worked in a number of children’s homes in Essex, London, and Scotland, from the 1970s onwards. It is highly likely that there are other victims who perhaps have felt too scared to come forward or thought there was little point in filing a complaint given the passage of time, police said.

The jury heard that Cowan has 24 previous convictions for sexual offenses against children. He was jailed for 12-and-a-half years in 1994, on 16 counts and is on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.