Hearts urged by charity to sack player

The chief executive of a prominent children's charity has called on Hearts to sack Craig Thomson after the defender pleaded guilty to lewd, libidinous and indecent behaviour towards two under-age girls.

The 20-year-old was fined £4,000 and placed on the sex offenders register for five years but Hearts confirmed on Friday that they would allow Thomson to resume his career at Tynecastle following their own investigation into the matter.



Thomson issued an apology of his own via the club's website and thanked the club for their "understanding" of his situation.



But Anne Houston of Children 1st said that the club's decision not to take action against the Scotland Under-21 cap was "unacceptable".



She told the Scotsman: "We must use this particular instance to send a clear message that children have the right to be happy and healthy, safe and secure in everything that they do. We all have a responsibility to make that happen.



"Not taking action to protect children from the risk of sexual harm is unacceptable. Allowing convicted sex offenders to continue working where they will have direct and indirect contact with children is wrong.



"There is no place in our society for role models who have been convicted of sexual offences, no matter what talents they might have.



"We would hope that everyone in football, and particularly the Scottish Football Association, who are the primary governing body in Scottish football, would agree."



David McLetchie, a Conservative MSP and Hearts fan, was also unhappy at the news Hearts were standing by Thomson.



"I am surprised that Hearts are retaining the services of Craig Thomson, given the seedy and unsavoury nature of his offences," he said.



"The fact that the club places a high value on the work that it does with the community and the fact that footballers are supposed to aspire to be role models for young people - I do find it surprising."



Hearts released a statement regarding Thomson on Friday which read: "The club believes that there is no reason for Craig Thomson not to continue his career as a professional footballer and he will resume training with immediate effect.



"In reaching this decision, the club accepted that there are sufficient mitigating circumstances that provide significant assurance that the player's conduct, no matter how distasteful, was the result of a grave error of judgement due to naivety and possible wrong outside influence rather than anything more sinister and it will not be repeated.



"The club views this matter very seriously and does not condone the behaviour of the player.



"Appropriate action to prevent any further development of unlawful activities has been taken."







Hearts Supporters' Trust chairman Derek Watson told the Press Association: "The majority (of fans) are very much against keeping Craig Thomson on."



Watson added: "I think there's more to the situation than meets the eye. I think the guy should get another chance.



"I've spoken to his lawyer at some length, I've also spoken to Hearts on the situation and I think it's a bit of a witch hunt."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas