Aaron Herschell

Aaron / Alexis Herschell, a violent male who previously identified as a trans woman after he was arrested, was convicted in July 2017 of the attempted rape of a 19 year old woman he met on the dating app, MeetMe. Herschell, 20, was sentenced to 2 years in jail at the High Court in Glasgow in October 2017.

No mention of Herschell’s transgender status was made at trial so must assume he either detransitioned or he claimed to be trans in order to force female prison staff to search him, as was suspected when he first entered custody.

A second charge of raping another woman in a park in Plains, North Lanarkshire returned a not proven verdict, despite Herschell, 19, admitting to both attacks on a video recorded by friends of the first woman.

Daily Record front page 28 Oct 2016

Herschell was initially remanded on the two rape charges in October 2016 as a man named Aaron and reported as the first prisoner in Scotland to seek gender reassignment while awaiting trial for sex offences, having never declared trans status previously. Herschell was reportedly held in a segregation unit at HMYOI Polmont while on remand rather than in the section reserved for female prisoners.

In common with staff at HMP Glenochil housing Andrew Burns, female prison staff raised concerns with management and their union regarding being “ordered to carry out rubdown searches on the prisoner when necessary”, fearing they may lose their job if they refuse. HMYOI Polmont does not have full body scanners, so intimate searches (by a guard of the same sex) are a necessary part of the routine. A source told the Daily Record “No one would wish to have to carry out any kind of intimate search on a prisoner whose alleged criminal sexual behaviour will be at the centre of a High Court trial.”

*Update 2021*

Herschell, 24,  was sentenced to 14 months in prison at Livingston Sheriff Court in November 2021 for breaching a Risk of Sexual Harm Order. 

Herschell admitted he had been in the company of children under the age of 16 at a house in Livingston, West Lothian on May 16 and 17, 2021 despite being banned from doing so under the terms of the order. 

This was the third time Herschell had failed to comply with public safety orders; after completing the sentence for attempted rape he was returned to prison after breaching the conditions of his licence within a few weeks of being released in October 2018. 

In May 2020, the Daily Mail reports that Herschell was made subject to the strict conditions of a Risk of Sexual Harm Order but he breached that by deleting a dating app and chat records from his phone and computer between 30 October and 10 December 2019, blaming alcohol for his actions.

Herschell will serve his sentence in HMP Addiewell in West Lothian, an all-male facility, and was told his name would remain on the sex offenders’ register for the next 10 years. 

Photo of Herschell via Daily Record

Media reports:

Daily Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10222633/Sex-offender-identified-trans-woman-Alexis-prison-sent-male-jail-14-months.html

Daily Record https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/convicted-rapist-banned-deleting-internet-21741929

Daily Record http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/call-alexis-pervert-caged-two-11408809

BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-41748746

Scottish Sun https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/scottish-news/1356861/aaron-herschell-rapist-livingston-coupar/

Daily Record http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/sex-gender-change-pomont-9141800

The Courier & Advertiser (archived) Teenager bailed ahead of alleged sex attacks in Angus, 22 Nov 2016 https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-courier-advertiser-perth-and-perthshire-edition/20161122/281822873393536

Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3881500/Fury-teenager-accused-double-rape-tells-prison-wants-live-woman-called-Alexis-rub-searches-female-guards.html

Daily Mirror http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/teenage-boy-accused-2-rapes-9142386