What drama boss told actress
A SHAMED drama club boss yesterday admitted spanking a young amateur actress during rehearsals.
Pensioner Frank Harrison said "Temptation" as he pulled Gemma McGee, 21, over his knee.
A court was told that as he smacked her bottom four or five times, grandfather Harrison declared: "A light spanking ... as all pretty little girls deserve to be spanked."
Father-of-six Harrison, who has known Gemma since she was a child and who she regarded as a grandfather figure, also asked her if her boyfriend Steven spanked her.
And when the shocked girl asked why he had done it, he repeated: "Temptation."
Harrison, a leading member of the Stornoway Thespians drama club and of the Rotary Club on Lewis, appeared before the town's sheriff court yesterday.
He admitted assaulting Gemma during rehearsals at the Thespians' premises in New Street on February 15.
Fiona Macdonald, prosecuting, said Harrison was directing a production for the group and he had asked Gemma, who has won drama awards at the National Mod, to come in for extra rehearsals.
She rehearsed her part for about 20 minutes before Harrison announced it was time to leave. He then put his right arm around her shoulder, gave her a hug and said: "Thank you, Gemma."
Harrison put his jacket on and Gemma picked up some bags she had taken with her.
But Harrison suddenly stopped and said: "Just a minute, put your bags down."
He disappeared to the rear of the premises and came back with an old dining-style chair.
Ms McDonald said Harrison placed the chair in front of Gemma and sat on it, saying: "Temptation."
He then grabbed her by the waist and pulled her towards him, pushing her over his knee and striking her on the bottom four or five times.
Harrison then locked up the premises and insisted on giving Gemma a lift into the town centre to her work, which she accepted.
When she returned home that evening, she discussed the matter with her family and police were called in.
Harrison told police who were questioning him about the incident: "On an impulse, I said to Gemma to put her bag down.
"I pulled a chair across and I pulled her over my knee and smacked her bottom, three times I think."
When asked if he had said anything while smacking her, he replied: "Good-looking girls like you deserve to be spanked at least once a week. Does Steven spank you?"
The court was also told that when the victim was interviewed, she indicated she had viewed Harrison as something of a grandfather figure, having known him since she was eight years old.
She was deeply shocked by his actions and what he had said during the assault.
Sentence was deferred until July 18 for social inquiry and community service reports.
Peter Gray QC, defending, said he would reserve his remarks until the reports were available.
Last night, Harrison was at his home at Urquhart Gardens, Stornoway, with wife Margaret.
He said: "I'd rather say nothing at all. If you don't mind I'll just leave it."
Asked if it was all highly embarrassing, he replied: "This is true."
A director of the drama group, Deirdre McDonald, said Harrison was also a director of the company, which is run as a charity, and one of 30 adult actors. There are also 30 junior actors.
She said it would be up to the directors to decide if any action should be taken in the light of the court case.
'I pulled her over my knee and smacked her three times'
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