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
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee