By Kathleen Gilbert

EDINBURGH, Scotland, May 11, 2009 ( – The chief executive of a homosexual youth group and another homosexual “rights” activist have been found guilty, along with six other men, of being part of a large pedophile ring uncovered in Scotland.

In what police call the largest child abuse network unveiled in the country’s history, a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh took several hours to return verdicts on 54 separate charges, including sex attacks on children, conspiring to abuse children, and possessing and distributing child pornography. 

The two men identified by police as the group’s “ringleaders,” Edinburgh residents James Rennie and Neil Strachan, were found guilty of attacking children, and, along with three others, of conspiring to abuse children.

The jury at Edinburgh’s High Court found last week that Rennie, the 38-year-old former chief executive of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Youth Scotland, was found guilty of molesting an infant beginning at three months old over a four-year period.  Rennie resigned from his position at LGBT Youth following his arrest late last year.

Neil Strachan, 41, the former secretary of a Celtic boys club and campaigner on homosexual issues, was charged with attempting to molest an 18-month-old boy, and assaulting a six-year-old.  It was eventually revealed that Strachan had been convicted previously of child abuse offenses: in 1997 Stratchan was sentenced to three years in jail for molesting a five-year-old boy over a period of two years.

The police investigation, known as Operation Algebra, began after child pornography images were found on workplace computer equipment undergoing repairs.

Rennie and Strachan are facing a maximum penalty of life in jail when sentenced July 29.  The other six face a variety of lesser sentences June 11.

Police say the pedophile network had contacts around the world, and while police say other arrests have erupted from the original discovery, it was likely that a great number of those involved would remain undiscovered.

“It would be foolhardy to say we caught everyone,” Det. Supt. Allan Jones of Lothian and Borders Police told the BBC.

The other men charged were bank worker Ross Webber, 27; bakery manager Neil Campbell, 46; insurance claims adjuster Craig Boath, 24; civil servant John Milligan, 40; and gay sauna receptionist John Murphy, 44.