‘UNACCEPTABLE’ legal delays in Scotland Child Abuse Scandal Investigation

    Child protection:  Shocking facts you need to know



APRIL 23rd 2017

Although detectives have reported 27 suspects to the Crown Office, only one man has been named as part of the massive investigation into child sexual exploitation which ended more than two years ago.

Some of the victims were as young as 10 and all of them were vulnerable young girls, with many of them living in care homes in and around Glasgow.

Failed Afghan asylum seeker Javaid Akhond is the only named individual to face justice as a result of Operation Dash. He was 20 when he was sentenced to six years in prison in 2014 for the rape and sexual abuse of children as young as 12.

Following repeated requests to Police Scotland the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), this newspaper has learned there have four convictions in total.

Why did they get it so wrong? It’s unacceptable.

Sarah Champion

However, only two abusers have been given custodial sentences and the other three individuals have not been identified while the details of their crimes remain unknown.

A police investigation named Operation Cotswold was launched in 2011 to investigate child grooming gangs in Glasgow, before it was expanded and renamed Dash two years later. It eventually involved 12 council and health board areas across the west of Scotland and finally came to an end in February 2015.

Both probes centred on ethnic minority men targeting youngsters in and around Glasgow, especially in care homes in the north of the city, and identified between 100 and 140 potential victims.

Rotherham victim on moving forward after being abused

However, six years after the probe began most of the suspects are still thought to be at large in the city and many of the children involved are still awaiting justice.

An earlier attempt to prosecute “several men” over the abuse of 26 children under Operation Cotswold failed after the young victims who had absconded from children’s homes were “reluctant” to cooperate with the police.

The delay is in stark contrast with similar cases south of the Border, where grooming gangs in Rotherham, Rochdale, Manchester, Oxford, Derbyshire and elsewhere have been brought to justice in as little as three years.

The shocking picture began to emerge in 2012, when the Rotherham abuse scandal revealed that sexual abuse of vulnerable white girls by Asian men in the Yorkshire town had been much more widespread than previously thought, partly due to the authorities’ fear of being seen as racist.

Similar stories followed across the UK, including in Glasgow where a report two years ago revealed that sexual abuse by grooming gangs was encountered as part of “day to day practice”.


The delay contrasts to the swift justice of the Rotheram abuse scandal
Last night, Sarah Champion, the Labour MP for Rotherham who founded the Dare2Care child abuse campaign, admitted the apparent lack of action north of the Border was “odd”.

She added: “From my experience and talking to people from all over Britain, this crime is going on in every town and in every city.

“The numbers of both suspects and victims is not a surprise to me. What I’m surprised about, however, is that you haven’t had many prosecutions based on that. If they have identified these 27 people but nothing came of it, why did they get it so wrong? It’s unacceptable.”

Graeme Pearson, the former Labour MSP and ex-director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, agreed that the lack of progress was disturbing.

He added: “I am surprised that a number of cases has not already been dealt with by the courts in the intervening period and disappointed that the COPFS are unable to give out a fuller account of what happened with the result of the operation.”


A Care Inspectorate report published in January states that 139 potential victims were identified over the course of Operation Dash.

Glasgow City Council also received an update from the city’s Social Work Services and Police Scotland last September.

It said: “Glasgow had 84 children and young people identified in the operation, ranging in ages, the youngest being 10 years old and the oldest being 21 years of age. The majority of children were known to services and had active social work involvement, although there were a small number of children who were not known and who were the victims of serious sexual crimes perpetrated by adult males.

“The police investigation resulted in a total of 28 reports submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in relation to 27 individuals across the investigation. All of these individuals were male and overall the majority of suspects were assessed to be 16 to 25 years of age. Glasgow had 14 suspects who were known to Glasgow Social Work Services. There are still Court proceedings ongoing relative to Operation Dash.”

Detective Superintendent Elaine Galbraith, Police Scotland’s Child Protection lead, said Operation Dash was a multi-agency response to identify children and young people who may be at risk of sexual exploitation and offer protection, support and help.


Despite 27 people being investigated, only one has been named so far
She added: “Through the lifetime of the operation, there were occasions where evidence of criminality was identified resulting in a number of separate criminal investigations into a potential offender or offenders under the auspices of Operation Dash.

“Where there was sufficient evidence to arrest and charge an individual or individuals a report was submitted to Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for consideration of prosecution. Such investigations were undertaken by the Operation Dash enquiry team until such a point that all of the original information had been subject of multi agency assessment and there were no further lines of enquiry.

“This resulted in a number of individuals being reported to COPFS throughout the duration of the investigation.”

A spokesman for COPFS said: “As a result of the operation four men were convicted in separate cases and two of those received custodial sentences.

“Tackling such abuse has always been and will continue to be a high priority for COPFS and we have specialist prosecutors and a dedicated National Sexual Crimes Unit which has helped to give more complainers the confidence to come forward.”


http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/795387/unacceptable-legal-delays-ethnic-minority-abuse-investigation-scotland  https://archive.is/WgKZT



YET ANOTHER Children’s Home Abuse Probe. Park Lodge, Glasgow

Officers are investigating allegations of child sex abuse at a former children’s home in Glasgow’s south side.

Anyone who worked or lived at Park Lodge Children’s Home between 1979 and 1985 has been asked to contact Police Scotland.

The care home in Calderwood Road in Newlands has now closed.

The investigation is being carried out independently from the national inquiry into child abuse in Scotland.  More than 60 institutions are being investigated under that inquiry. www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-39644598

Scottish Paedophilia: Institutions, Care Homes, Schools & Paedo Rings   {updated 20/04/17}


A GLASGOW care home is at the centre of a historic child sexual abuse probe by police.

Cops have confirmed they want to speak with any residents or employees of Park Lodge Children’s Care Home on Calderwood Road between 1979 and 1985. Police want to talk to to speak to anyone employed or was a resident at Park Lodge Children’s Care Home

Glasgow City Council confirmed that the care home was run by Strathclyde Regional Council in the years in question.

Responsibility for the home passed to GCC in 1996 following local government reorganisation.

It was subsequently closed in 2008.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on an on-going inquiry.

“However, we will offer police any assistance we can should they wish to get in touch.” It’s also been revealed that the Public Protection Unit in Glasgow is involved in the probe.

And detectives have asked anybody with information to contact them.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “As part of enquiries into a historical child sexual abuse investigation, Police Scotland would like to speak to anyone, who was either employed or was a resident within the Park Lodge Children’s Care Home, Calderwood Road, Glasgow between 1979 and 1985. https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/888769/glasgow-care-home-child-sex-abuse/

Scottish Paedophilia: Institutions, Care Homes, Schools & Paedo Rings   {updated 20/04/17}

13th June 1997



Scottish Paedophilia: Institutions, Care Homes, Schools & Paedo Rings   {updated 20/04/17}



Foster child demands government apology over abuse in care


A former soldier who was beaten almost every day as a child by a foster mum he was sent to live with says the Government should say sorry to all kids boarded out in Scotland’s Highlands and islands.

Seven years ago, the then prime minister Gordon Brown apologised for a programme that saw orphaned, poor and illegitimate children sent to Australia and other British colonies.

Stewart Wilson was one of thousands of vulnerable youngsters sent to live in remote Scottish communities as part of a similar child programme known as boarding out.

And he is angry that no apology has ever been offered to him or other children like him.

Stewart Wilson, security guard at Edinburgh Castle and is in a BBC documentary to be shown in March

He had been put into care at the age of two after the death of his grandmother, who adopted him from her 15-year-old daughter, who fell pregnant after being abused by her own adopted dad.

On arriving at a remote Tiree farmhouse, Stewart remembers his foster mum, Mary Ellen McLean, telling him she was his mother now.

He says over the next four years she regularly beat him. Stewart’s story and those of others like him feature in a BBC2 documentary called Growing Up in Scotland: A Century of Childhood.

He tells how he was regularly beaten and remembers one horrific attack where the woman being paid to care for him forced his head and hands on to the burning rings of her electric cooker.

Scottish child abuse survivors could receive £200million compensation for their suffering

He said: “She came into the room and demanded to know who had stolen an orange. She dragged me into the kitchen and pushed my head down on to the hot rings. When I tried to use my hands to push myself off, she grabbed them and forced them on to the rings. I was badly burned. But there was no trip to the doctor. I just went away to greet.”

Stewart Wilson, security guard at Edinburgh Castle and is in a BBC documentary to be shown in March

He added: “A year to the day after I was taken to Tiree, a social worker came to visit and I begged him to take me back to Glasgow. I burst into tears and showed him marks and bruises on my body. He told Mary Ellen and, after he left, she beat me black and blue. I made sure never to complain to my social worker again – and lost trust totally in any adults.”

Stewart lived with Mary Ellen until the age of nine, when he was allowed to return to Glasgow.

But he didn’t settle in the city and, at the age of 12, was given a choice of living in a secure unit or returning to Mary Ellen in Tiree.

Growing Up in Scotland: A Century of Childhood is on BBC2 Scotland on Thursday at 9pm.


Child Sexual Abuse inquiry judge urged to investigate #Dunblane boarding school #CSA #QVS


Abuse inquiry judge urged to investigate Dunblane boarding school

March 5 2017, 12:01am

The Sunday Times

 Anne Smith is chairwoman of the Scottish child abuse inquiryl

The judge at the helm of an historic child abuse review in Scotland is being urged to investigate a top private school with links to the royal family.

Glenn Harrison, a former housemaster at Dunblane’s Queen Victoria School (QVS), has raised fresh concern that pupils were sexually abused by a paedophile ring during the 1980s and 1990s. He first blew the whistle 26 years ago but has written to Lady Anne Smith, chairwoman of the Scottish child abuse inquiry, making a new case for its inclusion in her review.

The prestigious school, attended by children of Scottish servicemen and women, did not feature on a list published in January that detailed more than 60 establishments under investigation.

The omission has raised eyebrows in legal circles and among child abuse campaigners who believe that there is a prima facie case for fresh examination of Harrison’s claims.

The Sunday Times understands that discussions about the school’s inclusion arose shortly after ministers announced the inquiry in October 2015. It was argued that as the independent boarding school is funded by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), it might fall within the remit of a mirror inquiry running in England and Wales.

On Friday, a spokesman for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse said its remit was to consider institutional failure to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation in England and Wales. Although the inquiry can consider failures by English and Welsh institutions outside those two countries, it said there are “no current plans to investigate issues” relating to Queen Victoria School.

The admission has prompted fresh calls for Lady Smith to include the Dunblane school in her abuse inquiry, particularly in light of Harrison’s approach. Simon Collins, a lawyer representing the charity In Care Abuse Survivors, said: “My view is that if abuse is alleged to have taken place in Scotland, then it should be considered as part of the Scottish inquiry.”

One lawyer, who asked not to be named, said it was “disgraceful” that QVS was not among the institutions named in January, which included leading private schools such as Gordonstoun and Fettes. However, a spokeswoman for the inquiry said more establishments in Scotland could yet be investigated.

Queen Victoria School, which counts the Duke of Edinburgh as its patron, has been dogged by claims that pupils were abused by high-ranking government officials since Harrison raised concern in a letter to parents in 1991.

At the time, he was convinced that young boys were in danger and claimed that a group known as Friends of QVS would often take boys away for the weekend, with the pupils returning “distressed but flush with cash”.

It was later claimed that Thomas Hamilton, the man who carried out the Dunblane massacre in 1996, was a paedophile who had close ties to the school. Several investigations, by the police and the now-defunct Scottish Schools Inspectorate, failed to find evidence to support Harrison’s concerns.

A spokeswoman from the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, said: “We are currently undertaking over 60 investigations into individual establishments. We will announce further investigations in due course. The fact that a particular establishment was not mentioned at the preliminary hearing does not mean that it will not be investigated. We would encourage anyone with relevant evidence to come forward and share their experience.”

The MoD and QVS declined to comment.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/abuse-inquiry-judge-urged-to-investigate-dunblane-boarding-school-c8fztvwls  https://archive.is/pIE9B



Scottish #ChildAbuse compensation payouts could total £200 million #CSA


The cost of providing compensation to child abuse survivors could reach at least £200 million in Scotland, MSPs have been told.

Holyrood’s Justice Committee heard the estimate stemmed from projections based on a compensation system for abuse victims in Jersey.

MSPs were told the scale of the sums which could be involved was “highly significant” as they were urged to look at the potential impact it might have on the work of voluntary organisations today.

They also heard ministers’ estimates that a legislation change could result in about 2,200 compensation claims may be “conservative”.

The committee is currently examining the Scottish Government‘s Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill.

The proposed legislation would abolish the current three-year time bar, or limitation, for bringing a civil court claim for damages in some cases of childhood abuse.

Alistair Gaw, representing Social Work Scotland, said access to justice is undoubtedly “overdue” for survivors.

But he asked MSPs to consider what the outcome might be in terms of resources.

He said: “The isle of Jersey went down a route which didn’t involve courts and was actually an efficient and effective route of providing compensation. If you scale up even what happened there to the Scottish scene, you’ve got an average cost of around £40,000. In Scotland that would involve about £200 million if we had the same kind of numbers, which would be around 5,000 in Scotland.”

A Scottish Government memo accompanying the Bill suggests the planned changes could spark 2,200 new legal actions.

But a Police Scotland representative indicated a search of records for the old Strathclyde area alone suggested there were around 4,400 potential cases the force was aware of.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal told MSPs: “We have said that we think that 2,200 might be conservative.”

She said a focus on the Strathclyde patch has uncovered 115,000 family protection and sexual crime files, with the vast majority from the year 2000 onwards.

From that, officers identified 2,300 relevant files relating to 4,400 victims from that area.

She also told how recent ongoing investigations into abuse in football have resulted in 140 referrals to Police Scotland, with 36 investigations raised and “well over 100 victims”.

Earlier, the committee was told the legislation could create an administrative and financial burden for local authorities.

Council umbrella body Cosla said it supports the intent of the legislation, but it highlighted ”a potentially significant impact on local authorities – both financial and practical”.

In its written submission, it said: “While impossible to quantify the potential volume of claims, the overall impact of the legislation on local authorities is likely to be extensive, complex and not limited to successful claims.”

MSPs also heard the current time limit on people who were abused as children seeking damages in court represents a “real barrier” to access to civil justice.

The Scottish Human Rights Commission said in a written submission: “Survivors have expressed the view that the limitation regime also contributes to their sense of self-blame, feeling that they are being further victimised for their failure to take action within the limitation period, which for many survivors was their 19th birthday.”

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/15123511.Child_abuse_compensation_payouts_could_total___200m__MSPS_told/   https://archive.is/ZdL84

Scots child abuse victim payouts could total £200m STV news https://stv.tv/news/politics/1381912-compensation-for-scots-abuse-victims-could-total-200m/

Scots child abuse payouts could cost £200m, MSPs told  BBC News  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-39116477

Fred The Weatherman faces child abuse trial for offences in Scotland


http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ex-weatherman-faces-child-abuse-trial-wdccb6l0f   https://archive.is/QIJHK


Shamed TV weatherman Fred Talbot is jailed for five years for sex attacks on two schoolboys when he was working as a teacher

  • Famed This Morning weatherman attacked boys when he was a teacher
  • He indecently assaulted two pupils on school barge trips in 1970s
  • 65-year-old was convicted of two offences and cleared of eight others
  • Judge said he used his ‘extrovert personality’ to endear himself to boys
  • Talbot jailed for five years today as court hears he’s getting used to prison
Former TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been jailed for five years for sex attacks on young boys

Former TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been jailed for five years for sex attacks on young boys

TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been jailed for five years for indecently assaulting two schoolboys when he was a teacher.

Talbot, 65, a regular on the floating weather map in Liverpool’s Albert Dock for ITV’s This Morning show, was described as a ‘chancer’ who used his ‘extrovert personality’ to gain the trust of his victims.

Talbot, who was cleared of assaulting three other boys, was sentenced by Judge Timothy Mort at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court today.

The judge told him: ‘You deliberately and indecently assaulted the two of them for your own gratification.’

Talbot, who sat in the dock wearing glasses and a purple jumper over a shirt and grey trousers, showed no emotion as he was jailed.

He appeared relaxed as he entered the dock and acknowledged people in the packed courtroom.

Suzanne Goddard QC, defending, said there was little that could be said in mitigation.

She said Talbot had lost a stone in weight during his time in custody but was ‘accustoming himself’ to life in jail.

Ms Goddard said: ‘He knows he must now receive a custodial sentence. He has come to terms with that.’

The jury at last month’s trial heard that Talbot was ‘obsessed’ with teenage boys throughout his teaching career and ‘could not help himself’ around them when under the influence of drink.

Among the prosecution witnesses at the trial were The Stone Roses’ singer Ian Brown who said Talbot gave masturbation practice as homework.

Prosecutors said Talbot’s modus operandi was to first establish his ‘good guy credentials’ and then to break down the proper teacher-pupil boundaries, leaving his victims confused as he made his advances.

Talbot, of Bowdon, Greater Manchester, was convicted of two counts of indecent assault in relation to two victims and cleared of eight counts of indecent assault in relation to three other complainants.

Talbot rose to fame when he presented weather forecasts from his floating map on ITV's This Morning

Talbot rose to fame when he presented weather forecasts from his floating map on ITV’s This Morning

Four of the complainants were teenage pupils at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, where Talbot taught biology, while the other attended a high school in Gateshead, where the defendant was at teacher training college.

The former science teacher denied anything sexual or even inappropriate occurred between himself and the Altrincham pupils, while he said sexual activity with the Gateshead complainant only happened when the boy had turned 16.

Both of Talbot’s victims were assaulted on school canal barge trips in the Cheshire area in the mid 1970s.

The first victim, who thought he was 14 at the time, said the teacher abused him after a mock naked orgy involving up to 10 boys and Talbot.

Talbot told him to share a bed with him as there were not enough bunk beds to go round and performed a sex act on him.

It emerged that he had previously reported the weatherman to police on four separate occasions dating back to 1992 but no action had been taken.

The second victim, who also thought he may have been aged 14 at the time, was abused on another barge trip in similar circumstances.

Talbot sat in the dock wearing a purple jumper and grey trousers and was unemotional when sentenced

Talbot sat in the dock wearing a purple jumper and grey trousers and was unemotional when sentenced

He said that boys would take turns to sleep in Talbot’s bed during the trip and when it was his turn the defendant ‘started talking to me about sexual stuff’ before indecently assaulting him.

The complainant said when he was aged in his late 20s he wrote to ITV Granada to tell them Talbot had abused him.

The court heard that Talbot’s teaching career came to ‘an abrupt end’ in May 1984 following an indecent proposal he made to two pupils at his home.

He offered his bed for the night to the 15-year-old boys and said to them: ‘Make sure you leave room for me in the middle.’

Following the verdicts, it can be reported that a number of similar complaints against Talbot about offences said to have been committed in Scotland have been passed by police to the Procurator Fiscal.

The offences took place when Talbot was working as a teacher in Altrincham, Greater Manchester

Edinburgh-born Talbot moved at the age of seven to Sale, Greater Manchester, and later studied A-levels at Sale Grammar School.

After a spell at teacher training college in the Newcastle area he joined Altrincham Grammar School in 1974.

He resigned in disgrace in 1984 and went into television a short time later, with one of his first jobs on a Saturday morning children’s show.

The investigation was triggered in December 2012 following publicity into a separate historic abuse inquiry at another Altrincham school, St Ambrose College, which led to a nine-year jail term for ex-teacher Alan Morris.

Judge Mort told Talbot: ‘You are a man of 65 with no previous convictions. You have been convicted by a jury from clear evidence of indecently assaulting two boys when you were a teacher.’

The judge outlined the offences and Talbot’s background as a teacher.

He said Talbot’s approach to teaching was ‘different’ and ‘less formal’ than other staff members at the school and described him as a ‘popular’ teacher.

He said he may have taken pupils on as many as 38 trips and told Talbot the offences he had been convicted of were not isolated incidents.

Judge Mort said: ‘You had, on other occasions, abused your position to offend.’

The judge said both victims had been affected by the abuse by Talbot, with one suffering from mental health issues since the incident.

One of the victims made repeated complaints about Talbot to police before he was charged.

Judge Mort said aggravating features included the degree of planning of the offences, the use of alcohol on the victims and the abuse of trust.

He said: ‘You calculated the boys would be too confused, guilt-ridden or embarrassed to disclose what happened.’

Judge Mort sentenced Talbot to two and a half years for each offence, to run consecutively. He said he would serve half his sentence before being considered for release on licence.

Ian Brown, the former singer with band The Stone Roses, gave evidence against Talbot during the trial

Ian Brown, the former singer with band The Stone Roses, gave evidence against Talbot during the trial

Investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Graham Brock from Greater Manchester Police said after the hearing:

‘While working as a science teacher Fred Talbot organised many trips with pupils. It was during these trips that he plied boys with drink and orchestrated situations to be alone with his victims in order to indecently assault them to feed his own sexual desires. You can imagine the excitement of a teenage boy setting off on a canal trip with friends and a teacher, who he should expect to look after him, only to return with his childhood destroyed. Put simply, these offences reflect an abhorrent abuse of trust by a man who has proven to have no regard for the innocence of youth he was employed to nurture. Had these offences occurred today, they would be considered child sexual exploitation and tackling this heinous crime is the absolute priority for Greater Manchester Police and our partners under Project Phoenix. Protecting children is everyone’s responsibility and it is crucial that we work together to identify individuals who prey on vulnerable children.!

More claims against former weatherman revealed: Scottish prosecutors will study new allegations

A judge who jailed Fred Talbot for five years for indecently assaulting two schoolboys when he was a teacher has said details of alleged abuse involving the TV weatherman in Scotland can now be reported.

Police investigating incidents of alleged abuse involving Talbot revealed yesterday they had submitted a report to Scottish prosecutors.

Neil Usher, prosecuting, made an application to Judge Timothy Mort to lift an order banning reporting of the other alleged offences, which are said to relate to events over a 13-year period, from 1968 to 1981.

Talbot, pictured in 1990, is also facing more claims which are now being looked at by Scottish prosecutors

Talbot, pictured in 1990, is also facing more claims which are now being looked at by Scottish prosecutors

He asked the judge to allow reporting of all that was heard in evidence during Talbot’s trial and said he believed it was unlikely there would be further prosecutions in Scotland.

Mr Usher said: ‘A final decision has not yet been taken as to whether there will be a subsequent prosecution in Scotland. The indications are that’s not likely.’

Judge Mort said: ‘I will lift that restriction.’

A report relating to the allegations was received from Police Scotland yesterday and is being considered by the procurator fiscal.

A statement from the Crown Office in Scotland said: ‘The procurator fiscal has received a report relating to incidents involving a 65-year-old man, said to have occurred between January 1968 and January 1981. The report is currently under consideration by the procurator fiscal.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2993335/TV-weatherman-Fred-Talbot-jailed-five-years-sex-attacks-boys.html#ixzz4Zvehwxrb  https://archive.is/piRO0

Lanark’s Smyllum orphans to have their say at #CSAinquiry

FRI 24th Feb 2017

The inquiry into historical child abuse in Scotland has confirmed that events at Lanark’s former Smyllum Orphanage will be investigated as part of the probe.

And fears that now elderly former residents of the home will be prevented from giving evidence because their allegations are ‘time-barred’ have been swept away.

Over the years the Gazette has published harrowing accounts of the treatment of the orphans of the insitution that finally closed 30 years ago.

These allegations have ranged from regular bullying by staff to even an alleged cover-up of a murder at the orphanage.

However, a few have also come forward to testify that they were treated well and were happy during their time at the orphange, run by the Sisters of Charity Order for a century before being handed over to council control in the ’60s.

Now these ageing ‘Smyllum Kids’ are to be invited to tell their stories to the official Scottish Government inquiry into child abuse at 60 Scottish insitutions, ranging from religious order-run orphanages like Smyllum to top private schools such as the ones attended by Tony Blair, Prince Philip and the Prince of Wales.

Almost all the allegations of maltreatment at Smyllum which have come to the Gazette’s attention relate to the time when it was still run by the Sisters of Charity.

This means that most of the surviving orphans are now in their 60s or older and were alarmed when, intially, it seemed the inquiry would only consider evidence of abuse after the year 1963.

Almost all claims of maltreatment at Smyllum allegedly happened in the years between World War Two and the early ’60s and so many thought they would be ‘gagged’ and their distressing tales never told to the official investigation being conducted by Lady Smith.

She and her inquiry team are expected to produce a report in 2019 with recommendations for future action.

It is thought that few if any of the alleged Smyllum abusers are still alive and so legal proceedings against individuals resulting from the inquiry are thought unlikely.

Confirming all former Smyllum orphans will have their say, a statement from Lady Smith’s inquiry team said this week: “Smyllum Orphanage is an institution listed as one of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry’s current investigations. The inquiry will cover evidence within living memory of any person who suffered such abuse.”

http://www.carlukegazette.co.uk/news/lanark-s-smyllum-orphans-to-have-their-say-at-abuse-inquiry-1-4375529  http://archive.li/8jICD

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  1. Public Inquiry into Smyllum Orphanage nightmare  May 27, 2015  http://www.carlukegazette.co.uk/news/public-inquiry-into-smyllum-orphanage-nightmare-1-3784457  
  2. Scandal of the orphans lost in unmarked graves  Express Feb 23, 2014 http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/461336/Scandal-of-the-orphans-lost-in-unmarked-graves
  3. EXCLUSIVE: MacAskill snubs abuse survivors Express Aug 10, 2014 http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/497535/EXCLUSIVE-MacAskill-snubs-abuse-survivors
  4. The tears of Smyllum’s children | The Northern Daily Leader 26 Oct 2013 http://www.northerndailyleader.com.au/story/1865562/the-tears-of-smyllums-children/  
  5. Forgotten orphans of Smyllum laid to rest by nuns in umarked graves Sep 14, 2003  http://www.scotsman.com/news/forgotten-orphans-of-smyllum-laid-to-rest-by-nuns-in-umarked-graves-1-1293737

Sisters of no mercy | The Guardian Saturday 12 April 2003

In the pre- and post-war period, orphans were often sent to homes run by religious orders, such as the Sisters of Nazareth. There they found a disciplined regime which, they say, tipped over into violence. Now, decades later, more than 500 former inmates are suing the nuns for damages. Beatrix Campbell reports


Fred Aitken is 70 years old and still he is haunted by sounds – the racket of children “banging their heads against the walls of the dormitories”. The walls were in a gothic mansion called Nazareth House, an orphanage in Aberdeen where Aitken was dispatched when he was six. There, he says, nuns regularly beat him and made him witness the violent degradation of other children. Sleep was routinely interrupted by their constant checks for children wetting their beds and the beating that followed. One bed-wetter was held out of the window by her ankles as punishment. “You woke up to this thrashing. Nuns with leather straps hanging from their waist beside their rosary beads. The strap was socially acceptable. The excuse is that it was normal in those days.”

Aitken, who now lives near Chester, was taken to Nazareth House after his mother died in the 1930s. He ran away constantly, and in his early teens one of his older sisters, then living in one room, took him in and tried to take care of him. He avoided school, sauntered around shops, cinemas, anywhere warm, until he was picked up and sent to an approved school for “delinquents”. He joined the RAF and although other young men lay in their beds weeping for their mothers, Aitken thrived: the military were “the first people who treated me as a human being. I was clothed, fed, paid a weekly wage. And they didn’t beat me.” Even then Aitken was shadowed by unhappiness. In the 1960s, when he was in his 30s, he sought help. “I told a doctor about the nuns. The man said he thought I was fantasising.” It was only 30 years later, when other Nazareth House survivors began to speak out about their experiences, that his childhood and its bleak effects could no longer be dismissed as his imaginings.

The Poor Sisters of Nazareth were founded in the mid-19th century in Hammersmith, London, to take care of the young and the old. For more than a hundred years, Nazareth Houses all over Britain were home to thousands of children. They aren’t children’s homes any longer. These days the nuns look after old people. And the Poor Sisters aren’t poor (the order has £154m in the bank) – they’ve been rebranded and they’re simply Sisters.

Now the Sisters of Nazareth – the order also has houses in Australia, South Africa, the United States and Ireland – are the subject of an international campaign to call them to account for a regime of violence. In a symbolic trial in Aberdeen in 2000, one nun, known in her childcare days as Sister Alphonso, was convicted of cruel and unnatural treatment. And 40 nuns belonging to the Poor Sisters of Nazareth and the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul are named in a civil action by more than 500 people, mostly middle-aged or elderly, who are claiming compensation from the orders. It is to be a test case, in which 11 former inmates will appear in court, and is expected to be heard in Scotland later this year.

Ranged against them are the Catholic hierarchy, the asylums’ insurers, who insist that there must be no admission of liability, and a sceptical hauteur that flourishes across the political and legal establishment. It was voiced at the highest level last year when the reforming Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, claimed that many convictions of people accused of abusing children in institutional care were flawed and that the law was in need of review. Archbishop Mario Conti, Scotland’s most senior Catholic churchman, has accused the former Nazareth House inmates of being seekers not of justice but of “pots of gold”.

Six years ago, Joseph Currie was wandering past Nazareth House in Aberdeen, the place where he, too, spent his childhood. In the grounds, he noticed that where once there were playing fields there was now a children’s nursery. Currie was horrified and took himself to the police to tell them about his memories of the place he remembered as the “House of Hell”.

Currie, now in his early 50s, lives in a Glasgow tenement. Everything in his flat is neatly arranged – his shoes, his clothes, his videos, his crockery, his correspondence. Every surface is wiped clean. This is not the work of an obsessive, he says, just typical of an orphan. The military and emergency services found those abandoned, bereaved children attractive recruits because, though they lacked education, they knew how to iron their shirts, polish their shoes and obey orders.

On the shelves around his Victorian tiled fireplace Currie displays old toy fire engines – it was his boyhood ambition to be a firefighter. On the mantelpiece there is a fading photograph of him in a grey bow tie with the queen of the Eurovision Song Contest, Katie Boyle. They’re at the annual bash of the contest’s fan club. Currie is one of the organisers. He is a fast-talking, busy man, a retired postman, “a bit of a cheeky chap, straight to the point”, he says of himself. But though he is active in progressive politics and his music club, says, “I’m also very lonely, I have to admit that.”

He was put in Nazareth House when he was two. According to his social services records, his family was “destitute” and his mother admitted selling a pair of shoes for food. Joseph had been left alone in verminous conditions. But there was worse to come. He remembers Nazareth House as dour and cruel. For years after he left in 1967, he tried to put the place out of his mind. But that walk beside his old home provoked a rush of recollections. “As a precaution, in case I died,” he made a tape-recording and put two pieces of paper in an envelope. The papers showed a copy of a newspaper photograph of Aberdeen’s Nazareth House. He had put a cross by one of the windows in the eaves. On the other piece of paper he mapped all the features of the room behind that window, its pipes, floorboards, walls, doors, a cupboard. He sent the envelope to Cameron Fyfe, a Scottish solicitor, with a note naming the boy with whom he had shared that room. His map also showed a plywood panel, a false wall, and behind that panel, he said, were some significant documents.

Joseph Currie, the orphanage child, had something important to say, but there was no one to tell it to. So he wrote to God. Now, 30 years on, he wanted the police and his solicitor to find those hidden documents because, he believed, they would confirm his recollections of his time at the orphanage. Currie took Cameron Fyfe, other lawyers and Nazareth House officials to the building, to the locked door of his former bedroom. When finally a key was found, they went in: the room was almost as he had left it, and behind a plywood panel there were his childhood documents, exactly as he had predicted.

One of them, dated Sunday April 2, 1967, pledges: “I will keep these promises seen here.” The boy forswears spending his pocket money, bad language and playing at fire engines, but the letter begins with “No Dirt At All”, the ‘No’ underlined many times. “The real meaning of ‘dirt’ was sexual abuse,” Currie says, “I felt dirty. It started when I was about eight. A man who came in as a volunteer to help bath the kids started molesting me in the bath and in the toilets.”

Currie also told his priest about the “dirt” in confession, “but he was deaf and he would say ‘speak up’. I’d come out and all the other boys would be laughing.” He told a teacher about his embarrassment and she suggested that he could go into any church. “So I went to St Mary’s Cathedral in Aberdeen and I said, ‘There’s this man comes to the home and plays with my private parts.’ The priest asked me his name and whether he was still doing it. He said, ‘Pray for him my son.’ He knew the guy because he came to Nazareth House. I thought maybe he’d do something about it. But it didn’t stop the man coming in.” The priest to whom he made his confession, he says, was Father Conti.

Archbishop Conti has strongly denied Currie’s claims, indeed he denies that he ever, “either in the context of confessional or outside the confessional, received any complaint of any kind of abuse relating to the care of children in Nazareth House”. The archbishop also accused Currie of being unreliable. Currie had likened some of his childhood documents to a diary, but the archbishop insists, “only three sheets of paper were found, two containing aspirations Joseph had listed for himself and the other listing the timing of the Benny Hill show on TV”.

Currie is one of the more than 500 bringing the action against the Sisters of Nazareth and the other orders. His childhood memories of the orphanage are filled with emotional and physical terror. He had lost his family, and letters from his siblings and his mother were never given to him. For a minor misdemeanour, children had to kneel down and face the wall of the main corridor while nuns passed. “Some would smack you as they came by. You’d hear their footsteps but you didn’t know who they were. It was a form of mental torture.”

Another inmate, Helen Cusiter, returned to Nazareth House six or seven years ago, to visit a woman who was working there. An unexpected encounter with one of the nuns she’d known when she was at the orphanage – Sister Alphonso – changed her life.

“I started screaming. She asked me to go upstairs and tell her how I was getting on. She started to tell me how wonderful it was working with the old people, but her hands were shaking. She asked, ‘What do you remember about your childhood?’ I said, ‘Every bit.’ She said, ‘I was young at the time and I was just following orders.’ She never said, ‘I’m sorry.’ “

Cusiter fled home from that meeting with the nun. “I had a panic attack – I thought I was having a heart attack. Then there were all these flashbacks.” Her days and nights were haunted. Her own fond family life with her husband and children was swamped by her fears: “What if I was in a crash with my husband and Sister Alphonso got my children? What if I ended up in Nazareth House as an old person?” She became imprisoned in the safety of her own home. She was overwhelmed by shame – ashamed of leaving other children behind, of failing to protect them from harm.

Eventually, four years after her encounter with Sister Alphonso, she went to a solicitor. “He sat, feet on the table, and said there were several options. ‘Is it money you’re after?’ I said no.” Instead she decided to go to the police. “I was passed to the child abuse unit at the age of 39.” That was in 1996. Grampian police advised her to get a lawyer and began to interview other residents, crosschecking dates and names to verify the growing archive of allegations against the order.

Cusiter became one of the former inmates whose evidence initiated the unprecedented criminal prosecution in Scotland in autumn 2000, when Sister Alphonso, appearing as Marie Docherty, was convicted of four charges of cruel and unnatural treatment. Sheriff Colin Harris ordered that several other charges be rejected and said that he would only admonish, rather than imprison, her because of her age and her health.

Cusiter recalls a particular incident when Sister Alphonso came for her while she was playing on swings. “She took me off by the hair, twisted me round and threw me against the church wall,” she says. “She broke all my front teeth, my face was a mashed mess, the other kids were all screaming.” Helen Howie, a 77-year-old woman who had been raised in the orphanage and later worked there as a helper, still remembers the blood on Cusiter’s face. “Sister Alphonso didn’t use leather straps, she used her fists, she had some strength.” When the child was taken to the dentist, he asked, “What’s all this bruising?” She fell, he was told.

Cusiter was eight when her mother disappeared and she and her five brothers and sisters were taken from Glasgow to Aberdeen’s Nazareth House. There were separate quarters for boys and girls, and the siblings were allowed no communication, though they would see each other across a crowded church on Sundays and on the school bus. After leaving Nazareth House, the six were never again in the same room together. Helen’s younger brother grew up a distressed, drifting young man. “Most of the time he was like a recluse. Finally, he took his own life. He told me he’d been sexually abused by a priest. He’d never told anyone. It was so tragic.”

Of her time at the orphanage, Cusiter remembers the raucous insults that came from the mouths of the supposedly pious sisters: “They’d say, ‘No wonder your mother left you… whore… freak… Glasgow trash… I’d have left you… you’re just Glasgow tinks.’ “

Like other inmates, Cusiter vividly recalls night-time. “They’d come round the beds and make sure you were in the right position – flat on your back with arms crossed out of the covers (otherwise you’d be touching yourself). If you were lying on your side, you’d be yanked back. They’d lift the covers to see if your bed was wet. If it was, then you’d be yanked out, called all filthy names.”

Some former residents say they were sexually abused – Cusiter remembers a driver who “would touch up the boys and the girls” and, she says, a child would often be used to keep watch while one of the handymen pursued his sexual relationship with a nun – but most of the cases against the Sisters of Nazareth concern physical violence. Mealtimes, predictably, were the occasion of routine power struggles between nuns and children. Cusiter says she was force-fed: “She’d be pulling your head back, then she’d hold your nose so you couldn’t breathe, until your mouth opened, and she’d shove food in. Then you’d choke and the food would end up on your plate again and she would force-feed you your own vomit. That started from the moment I went in there.”

Other inmates have similar memories. A retired telephonist living in an elegant Glasgow apartment block for senior citizens recalls that “several of the children were force-fed. One of them was my sister. She was three or four years old. I saw it.”

She had been sent with her sisters to Glasgow’s Nazareth House from their home in the Highlands after their mother was diagnosed with tuberculosis, a disease that was still “like a death knell in the 1950s”. She was eight. Her first night was marked by her younger sister’s screams as she was taken off to a separate dormitory. She, too, remembers the nuns’ nocturnal inspections.

“Wetting the bed was a nightmare – they’d strip the covers off and the child would be made to stand with the wet sheets for hours, to set an example. They stood there like ghosts, covered in the wet sheets. My sister didn’t wet the bed at home, but one night she was crying and came to us and said she’d wet the bed. So we swapped our sheets for her, rinsed the wet one out and went to dry it on the radiator. But it was off. So we sat on the sheet to dry it – we were only children. My sister got caned on the hands and the back for that. The nun would roll her sleeves up, so she got a real good whack. I felt she took relish out of that.”

Punishment was perpetually lurking: “You never knew when or what. There is still never a day when my sister does not fear being punished for something. We were just miserable people, that was all.”

Enduring companionship between friends and siblings seemed to be discouraged. Sometimes companions simply disappeared. The retired telephonist has never forgotten the summer of 1955 when the children of Cardonald Nazareth House in Glasgow went to Aberdeen on an exchange. This was their holiday. “We were taken to the beach, it was so grey and wild and windy, we were frozen.” The girls were told to change into their swimsuits while the nuns huddled together in a beach hut. “My sister and her friend Betsy Owens were playing with a beach ball. It blew into the sea and they went into retrieve it, a stupid plastic ball – of course, they wouldn’t have dared do otherwise. Betsy was drowned. We saw her being brought out of the water.”

Her younger sister has never forgotten that day: she could scarcely swim, but managed to grasp a long log. “I held on tight but the waves kept dashing me against the wood and my leg was badly gashed. Eventually I was rescued by a small boat, but it was terrifying.” Her big sister saw her being lifted out of the water, “all cut and bleeding. One of the nuns said: ‘You watch you don’t get blood on your dress or you’ll catch it.’ My sister and I have tried unsuccessfully to follow this up. There was no record of Betsy after that incident, nothing. No prayers. No mass. Nothing.”

The Edinburgh lawyer representing Nazareth House, Dr Pamela Abernathy, insists, “No one still alive who was intimately connected with Nazareth House at the time has any recollection of such an incident, nor are there any records of the death of any child during that period.”

When the retired telephonist recently began to make inquiries about Betsy Owens, the order responded by denying any knowledge that she herself had ever been there that summer. They said there were no records of her presence. It seems that, she, like Betsy Owens, might never have existed. But in her collection of personal records, there is the evidence: a telegram adorned with top hats and lucky horseshoes, addressed to her at Aberdeen’s Nazareth House on August 3, 1955, saying, “Happy Birthday Darling, from Mummy.” She was there.

This woman, like Currie and Cusiter, has joined the civil action against the Sisters of Nazareth because they believe it is the only way of calling the order to account. She and her sisters were in Nazareth House for just 18 months – they left when their father, who regularly made the long trek across the country to see his daughters, suddenly arrived in his work clothes to take them away. To this day, she doesn’t know what had so alarmed him – all visits were patrolled by nuns who remained in the room, like sentries. The children didn’t speak about what had happened, “none of us did, believe it or not”. But it left the family with inconsolable sadness. “We had wonderful parents. Right to her death, Mum kept saying, ‘If only I hadn’t got ill.’ She thought it was her fault. It broke her heart.” Her father took the child to the local priest “to explain what he’d discovered and how angry he was for his children, but the priest never took it up”.

Her own efforts to challenge the hierarchy of the church have been distressing and her association with the public campaign against the Sisters enraged other members of her congregation. “I was spat on. After we pray, we shake hands, but one woman refused and said I was bringing the church down. I said, ‘No, this is about crimes against children.’ “

She is outraged by suggestions that her motivation is securing compensation. “I didn’t want money. We have tried every way to get the church to accept what happened, but they’ve done nothing. Nothing. These are major things, the experience was a severe danger to people’s lives.” She points out that “15 members of my group have taken their own lives. I am all right, I’m surviving. I don’t need financial help. Money would never take away what happened – God’s representatives on earth behaving in such an appalling manner.” She had worried about what had happened for years. “I need answers, not just about Betsy but about the whole damned thing. I telephoned Cardinal Winning, and asked him to do something about all the things that were coming to light about Nazareth House. He said very little, I would have liked him just to say sorry. He wasn’t prepared to accept that it was the truth. I felt terrible all over again.”

Kathleen Batey, a 47-year-old cleaner living near Newcastle United Football Club’s mighty stadium, is not one of the campaigners seeking legal redress. She has never consulted lawyers, nor sought compensation from the church. “I don’t want their money,” she says. “I just want it out of my mind.” And, like all of those involved in the civil action, she wants to have her story heard.

Kathleen Batey’s back is lined with a ladder of scars – they are the relics of her life at Nazareth House in Tyneside, received, she says, when nuns took off the belts buckled round their habits and beat her. She was sent to the orphanage, with her brother, when she was five – her grandmother had just died, her mother had left, and her father felt he could not take care of the children. She remembers Nazareth the house as “spooky, horrible”. She, too, remembers children being force-fed, and also being required to work. “There was a big polished floor, it was really polished. They’d cut up woollen jumpers and we had to put them on our feet and we had to skate on the floor and make sure the shine came up. If you did it wrong, you got a clip.” Or worse. “The nuns would take off the belt and just hit you with it. It was just the routine.”

The punishments accelerated, she says, after she and her brother began running away. In vain, they’d find their father, but before long the police would turn up to take them back. Their father didn’t stop them: “I thought there was nobody. Dad didn’t want us, nobody loved us, no one took care of us.” The violence in the orphanage didn’t seem exceptional to her, just part of life.

What often makes detection of childhood abuse difficult for the police is that it’s an adult’s word against a child’s, and there often isn’t any surviving physical evidence (a sign, say the sceptics, that abuse didn’t happen or that it didn’t cause any harm). This may be qualified in cases of alleged institutional abuse because there is sometimes a chain of corroboration. Cameron Fyfe says there’s no great problem of proof in this case: individuals who have not seen each other for years, who may scarcely remember each other, are corroborating each other’s narratives. They are recalling what were, after all, very public regimes of pain and punishment.

The survivors have to get past the argument that the religious orders merely delivered the discipline that was standardised, sanctioned and universal in those days. The Sisters of Nazareth lawyer, Dr Abernathy, points out that Nazareth Houses were overseen by local authorities and by the government. There were frequent visits by “children’s officers, town councillors, inspectors, including doctors and psychologists from the home and health department”.

None the less, there have been scandals and debates within the church about the ill-treatment of children for decades. Eoin O’Sullivan, the Irish historian of Catholic orphanages and schools, cites a very public challenge to the church by Father Flanagan, the priest whose humane childcare was the model for Spencer Tracy in the film, Men Of Boys Town. This embarrassed both church and state in the 1940s. “Violence was an intrinsic part of the culture of these institutions,” O’Sullivan says; they were committed to the “destruction of will”. He has unearthed state archives revealing many complaints about cruelty and inspectors’ concerns about “dangerous and undesirable punishment”. Violent discipline, he says, was not uncontested.

Father Tindall, the church’s child protection coordinator in the north-east of England, ventured: “Too much of the organised culture of the church was very disciplined and rule-bound, and gave an opportunity for people under pressure to use the language of discipline to be punitive.”

What was it, though, that caused such cruelty by women? Sister Margaret McCurtain, a glinting Dominican scholar and one of Ireland’s best-known Catholic reformers, suggests the “sexual oppression of nuns could emerge later in the form of cruelty”. She also comments that the very notion of charity was “a virtue that never brought with it affectivity.” Feminist scholar Ailbhe Smyth adds, “Christianity tells us that we have to help the poor, but we don’t have to like them. It is a Christian duty, for your greater glory, not theirs. There is, in this context, an absence of any recognition that tenderness should be the norm in relations between adults and children.”

The orphanage survivors’ civil case must show that their complaints refer not just to rogue nuns but to a regime for which the order itself was responsible. Cameron Fyfe insists that similar stories have surfaced against the Sisters of Nazareth in Australia and Ireland, where their practices, such as the response to bed-wetting and the force-feeding, “were very similar and esoteric”. Fyfe argues that the cultures of orphanages and schools tend to be specific and different – he also represents clients who were in the hands of the de la Salle monks in Britain, against whom there are more allegations of sexual abuse than there are against the Nazareth House nuns.

The Nazareth House children face another difficulty: the time bar. “After a real struggle, we have persuaded the legal aid board to support 11 test cases,” says Fyfe. All of these concern allegations of ill-treatment after 1964. The current limit on cases before that date is being challenged in the courts, and members of the Scottish parliament are mooting a change in the law. If that fails, Fyfe intends to take the challenge to the European Court of Human Rights.

Cases are being compiled in England, too, though there seems to be some reluctance to prosecute physical abuse. Sex with children is a crime, but “reasonable chastisement is still a lawful reason for inflicting pain on children,” explains David Spicer, a barrister and former chair of the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Dr Abernathy denies the allegations of cruelty and abuse, and argues that for 130 years the Sisters of Nazareth “devoted their entire lives to the care of orphans, abandoned children, children from broken homes and in many cases children referred from the courts. Many of these unfortunate children suffered consequential emotional disturbance, and some of them no other institutions would accept.”

Francis Docherty is 58 and runs a helpline, Historical Survivors of In-Care Abuse, whose cases include people as old as 95 who are still suffering, still searching for their lost brothers and sisters, still trying to sort things out. He was brought up in Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark, run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul. “The horrifying thing was that being hurt by implements was bad enough, but to see a holy person, a righteous person with – I don’t want to exaggerate – a face full of hate, an angelic, holy face turning into a face of horror, a woman crunching her teeth in hate, going berserk, screaming while you are pleading for mercy, the wee leather boots just booting into you. Bruises go away, but the horror stays in your mind.”

Docherty, too, has joined the action against the Daughters of Charity and the Sisters of Nazareth. “This isn’t revenge against the Catholic church, we just want them to come out of denial. They’ve always ruled by fear. It’s their power mania. These people told you that you were the scum of the earth. Maybe you started to believe it.”

Docherty worked for most of his life as a driver, and for as many years he has been “in and out of Alcoholics Anonymous. I haven’t taken a drink for more than five years,” he says. He is never surprised by attempts to discredit people like himself. “We’ve had a lifetime of being accused of being liars and cheats, searching for a pot of gold.” Archbishop Conti has not only accused the victims of seeking pots of gold, he has told them that, “on your part, there is a need to forgive”. That’s not up to the Archbishop, says Docherty. “It’s up to us whether we want to forgive. Give us an apology. All we want is for the Catholic church to change its ways and let us live in peace.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/apr/12/religion.childprotection http://archive.li/Zxf7L


  1. Smyllum Park orphanage. The UK & Ireland Database  https://theukdatabase.com/uk-child…/smyllum-park-orthanagechildrens-home/
  2. The Children’s Homes website – Smyllum Orphanage  http://www.childrenshomes.org.uk/LanarkSmyllum/
  3. Smyllum Park, Lanark | theneedleblog   https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/operation-greenlight/…/smyllum-park-lanark/


#CSAInquiry #Scotland: Survivors have ‘NO TRUST LEFT’ & were left feeling ‘groomed’ by @ScotGov

22nd Feb 2017

Child abuse survivors left feeling ‘groomed’ by Scottish Government

SURVIVORS of child abuse say that continued failures by the Scottish Government have left them feeling “groomed” all over again.

In an interview with Good Morning Scotland, survivors groups say they “continue to be failed” by the government after a third member of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry panel resigned.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney

Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced yesterday he would not appoint a successor

They also said survivors feel there’s “no point” in engaging with the inquiry further because they feel the process has become too “legalistic” and they have been “denied” an opportunity for redress.

The inquiry is now being led solely by Supreme Court judge Lady Anne Smith.

Glenn Houston, who was the last original member of the board, stepped down from his role yesterday with immediate effect, due to a potential “conflict of interest”.

Alan Draper of Care Abuse Survivors Group says he is “concerned” over Mr Houston’s “commitment to the whole process” and that survivors have had “no announcement” from education secretary John Swinney as to why he feels Lady Smith should act alone.

Mr Houston’s departure follows the resignation of the inquiry’s original chairwoman, Lady Susan O’Brien and fellow panel member Michael Lamb.

Mr Draper said: “Glen Houston and Professor Lamb had expertise in the whole field of child protection, that expertise will now be missing. This limits the inquiry’s capacity to focus on the key issues. Survivors themselves are at the centre of the inquiry – it’s now too legalistic for us, it looks far too narrow.”

Groups also say survivors in Scotland are not given redress, compared to other inquiries in Northern Ireland and Australia.

Andy Lavery from White Flowers Alba said that less than 200 victims are now in contact with the inquiry out of an estimated 6000 that experienced abuse, because they face “no prospect of justice”.

What’s the point of the inquiry? It doesn’t mean anything if you’ve suffered abuse

Mr Lavery said: “This is a disgrace and it’s terribly sad. I don’t know anyone who wants to testify now.

“Northern Ireland had care and redress, but there’s none of that here. What’s the point of the inquiry? It doesn’t mean anything if you’ve suffered abuse. This isn’t right or equality. It isn’t justice in our 21st Century. We deserve honesty and we deserve parity with other enquiries. All John Swinney has got to do is assist Lady Smith – get the manual from Sydney [inquiry], get staff and get this up to speed. Let’s crack on with it but that means building trust. We need action, not getting groomed again.”

Susan O'Brien claims she was forced out

Susan O’Brien claims she was forced out

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, set up to focus on allegations of abuse in formal institutional care settings, is expected to last four years.

John Swinney argued it has a “very broad” remit which does not include redress, but that it was a “significant issue” he was examining with survivors groups.

He said: “The inquiry is doing exactly what it’s commissioned to do which is to pursue justice and accountability. If there is a question of redress that is also responsibility of the state. It’s why the government is legislating in Parliament the Limitation Bill, which removes legal obstacles for victims seeking due recourse for abuse that took place in the period after September 1964.”

He added that the appointment of Lady Smith as chairwoman was a “success” after the resignation of Lady Susan O’Brien – who quit over claims she made comments that were “offensive to survivors”.

Mr Swinney added: “When the previous chair resigned survivors groups wanted the inquiry to be led by a senior judge. That’s not a limitation – the inquiry has the ability to appoint assessors who can look at particular specialisms. I want survivors and the public to have confidence in the inquiry and there’s every reason why that should be case.”  https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/623408/child-abuse-survivors-left-feeling-groomed-by-scottish-government-after-inquiry-sees-third-resignation/  https://archive.is/OhyZr


“Lady Susan O’Brien – who quit over claims she made comments that were offensive to survivors” 


PLEASE READ   Ms O’Brian’s letter of resignation https://spidercatweb.blog/2016/07/04/csa-chairwomans-letter-of-resignation-to-john-swinney/   https://archive.is/xncBq

wp-1487770492882.jpgChild abuse survivors’ groups have said they have “no trust left” in Scotland’s Child Abuse Inquiry.

White Flowers Alba and In Care Abuse Survivors Group both called for urgent answers from the Scottish government on the future of the inquiry.

The probe has been plagued by problems and all three original panel members have now resigned.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said he understood the concerns but told the BBC the inquiry was gathering momentum.

Glen Houston resigned from the panel on Tuesday. He said his new appointments to the boards of two public sector organisations meant there was potentially a conflict of interest with his work on the abuse inquiry.

The other two original panel members, Susan O’Brien QC and Prof Michael Lamb, stood down within days of each other last year, complaining of government interference.

In July 2016, senior judge Lady Smith was appointed as the new chairwoman following Ms O’Brien’s resignation.

The spokesman for the survivors’ group White Flowers Alba, Andi Lavery, claimed there were fewer than 200 survivors now in contact with the inquiry and said there was “no trust left”.

“It’s an absolute disgrace and it’s so terribly sad. I don’t know anybody that’s left that wants to testify and we’re in contact with quite a number of survivors,” he told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme. At the end of the day, if you’re abused in Scotland you face no prospect of either justice, accountability or redress. But if you’re abused in Carlisle or Belfast, you face them in their inquiries. That’s not right, it’s not equality and it’s not justice.”

The inquiry was launched in October 2015 and charged with examining historical allegations of child abuse in residential accommodation in Scotland.

It is due to report in 2019.

Also speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Alan Draper, of the In Care Abuse Survivors Group, said survivors were concerned about the resignation of Mr Houston and the Scottish government’s decision not to replace him on the panel.

“It looks too legalistic to us. All we’ve got now is a High Court judge, QCs and solicitors involved in the inquiry team and no external expertise. This looks far too narrow,” Mr Draper said.

Failed in care

The group have also demanded that Mr Swinney tell them why the inquiry will not consider redress for victims.

Mr Draper told BBC Scotland: “We’ve continued to ask John Swinney that this be part of the remit. We’ve been denied this remit. What survivors tend to feel [is that] we were failed when we were in care. We continue to be failed by the Scottish government and we continue to be failed by the inquiry – why should we engage with it?”

But Mr Swinney insisted the inquiry had a “very broad remit” and would ensure justice was delivered to abuse survivors.

He also defended the decision not to appoint a successor to Mr Houston, saying that survivors’ groups had told him “very strongly” they wanted the inquiry to be led by a senior judge.

Pursue justice

The deputy first minister told the BBC that Lady Smith also had the ability to appoint assessors to “enhance the expertise of the inquiry. I completely understand the concern of survivors and I’ve engaged with survivors on a number of occasions since I took over responsibility of the Child Abuse Inquiry and I will continue to do so,” he said. The inquiry is gathering evidence, it’s gathering momentum, it’s gathering input from individuals who were the victims of abuse. So the inquiry in that respect is doing exactly what it was commissioned to do which is to pursue justice and accountability for the survivors of abuse.  On the question of redress, I acknowledge this to be a significant issue, but it’s an issue for the government to address in consultation with the survivors. It’s not for me to pass this to the inquiry.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-39052276   http://archive.is/sPzIz

Compensation hope for Scots Survivors of Institutional abuse


A scheme to compensate victims of in-care child abuse is being considered by Scottish ministers for the first time.

After decades of campaigning by victims’ organisations, John Swinney has acknowledged that financial redress “could play a part in Scotland in the future”.

In a letter to a Holyrood committee, the deputy first minister said that it would be inappropriate to wait until the Scottish child abuse inquiry had been completed before progressing with a compensation scheme. He suggested that a further three-month consultation would be required before ministers could reach a final decision on redress.

There was cautious approval for Mr Swinney’s letter but one leading campaign group said it was considering withdrawing from the inquiry because of the resignation yesterday of a third member of its panel.

Glenn Houston, an expert in health and social care, was appointed when the inquiry was founded in October 2015. He said he was quitting because he had accepted positions on the boards of two public bodies and felt that conflicts of interest could arise.

Last summer two members of the inquiry, Susan O’Brien, QC, the first chairwoman, and Michael Lamb, a psychologist, both quit.

Ms O’Brien is now suing the government for £500,000 and Professor Lamb said that the inquiry was “doomed” because of political interference. 

“Survivors are considering withdrawing from this whole process until they are satisfied that survivors are placed at the centre of the inquiry”

The present chairwoman, Lady Smith, a high court judge, is the only remaining panel member. Mr Swinney pointed out that this was normal practice in Scotland, where public inquiries usually have only one adjudicator.

Mr Houston’s decision outraged Alan Draper, spokesman for Incas (In Care Abuse Survivors), who said that the inquiry had become “a process of failure”. He deplored its reliance on legal opinion, a factor that could deter abuse victims from coming forward.

Mr Draper said: “If Mr Houston was dissatisfied he should have the courage to say so. Accepting these two jobs implies he was looking for a way out. There is concern that the inquiry is dominated by the legal profession, without any balance from other professional groups who have a detailed knowledge of child abuse and its impact for survivors and their families. Survivors are considering withdrawing from this whole process until they are satisfied that survivors are placed at the centre of the inquiry. The inquiry is about the failure of the establishment to protect them from harm. This failure is continuing.”

However, Mr Swinney’s letter to the education and skills committee offered “a glimmer of hope”. Mr Draper said: “His words seem to indicate that redress is important. Worldwide there has been a move towards compensation but Scotland has been very slow.”

In his letter Mr Swinney noted that Lady Smith had specifically raised the possibility of a redress scheme when she made her opening statement to the inquiry. “We need to be mindful of the length of time some survivors have been waiting and that some survivors are elderly and frail,” he added.

His determination to have a formal consultation on redress prompted unease. Iain Gray, Labour’s education spokesman, welcomed the acknowledgement that survivors should not wait until the abuse inquiry was completed before compensation was paid but added: “This process is still being dragged out, especially considering how long survivors have been waiting.”

Under the terms of its remit, the Scottish inquiry is scheduled to conclude in 2019.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/compensation-hope-for-scots-victims-of-child-abuse-in-care-c5mpcv8ld  http://archive.is/reQOf


  1. https://spidercatweb.blog/2017/02/21/bingo-its-a-full-house-as-the-third-scottish-child-abuse-inquiry-panel-member-resign/  https://archive.is/1U6ZT
  2. Former boss of child abuse probe sues Scottish Government for £500,000  https://archive.is/nnNmt
  3. CSA Inquiry Scotland: It’s 2 down 1 to go as Chairwoman quits  https://archive.is/4rDTg
  4. Scottish child abuse inquiry witnesses ‘deserve answers’
  5. Fresh controversy engulfs troubled Child Abuse Inquiry #CSA #Scotland
  6. #CSA Inquiry. #Survivors spell out fears to Swinney & give him “one last chance”
  7. John Swinney to meet with historic child abuse survivors #SCSAinquiry #CSA
  8. CSA inquiry row ‘centred on use of public cash’, says BIG FAT LIAR Swinney
  9. Lady Anne Mather Smith to Head #Scotland’s #CSAinquiry. Hmm…
  10. Lady Smith #ReleaseTheTape

*BINGO* It’s a FULL HOUSE as the third Scottish child abuse inquiry panel member resigns

21st Feb 2017


The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has been hit by another resignation, leaving it with just one panel member.

Glenn Houston said he has accepted two other public appointments and resigned from the panel to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

He is the third original panel member to resign from the inquiry.

Susan O’Brien QC quit following claims she had made comments that were ‘’offensive’’ to survivors while professor Michael Lamb stepped down after saying the review is ‘’doomed’’ due to interference by ministers.

Ms O’Brien was replaced by senior judge Lady Smith, who will now lead the inquiry on her own.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is examining historical allegations of the abuse of children in care and has been taking statements from witnesses since last spring.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said a successor to Mr Houston will not be appointed and the inquiry will “take the same format” as every other public inquiry established in Scotland under the Inquiries Act 2005.

Mr Houston said: “Due to a change in priorities in my working life, last year I applied for positions as a non-executive director to the boards of two public-sector organisations, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and the Disclosure and Barring Service. “I have now been successful in those applications and the appointments have been made. Lady Smith and I have discussed the potential that at some future time, a perception of conflict of interest may arise between these appointments and my work as a panel member on the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. After careful consideration of both the time commitment required to fulfil these new roles and the potential, however small, for perceptions to arise of conflict of interest, I have tendered my resignation to the inquiry. I remain fully supportive of its work, which I believe is on course to complete the important tasks which have been set for it, and I wish it very well for the future.”

Staff for the inquiry are said to be working to contact people in countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand who may have suffered abuse in Scotland, or after being sent abroad as part of past care arrangements.

At a preliminary hearing last month, Lady Smith stressed the inquiry is independent of government, police, prosecutors and other organisations.

The inquiry covers the period within memory of anyone who has suffered abuse, not beyond December 2014. Public hearings will begin on May 31.

Lady Smith said: “Mr Houston has made a valuable contribution to the work of the inquiry during his time as a panel member and I am very grateful to him for his support. “I fully understand his decision and wish him well in his new ventures.”

Mr Swinney said: “I want to thank Mr Houston for his service. I know this was not an easy decision for him to reach but he can be very proud of the contribution he has made to the establishment of the Child Abuse Inquiry and to ensuring its continuing progress. Following consideration of the matter, at this stage in the inquiry’s work, I have decided not to appoint a successor. Lady Smith will continue as chair of the inquiry and as sole panel member.”

http://www.scotsman.com/news/third-scottish-child-abuse-inquiry-panel-member-resigns-1-4372555  http://archive.is/l0mp6

Scottish Paedophilia: THE LIST of Institutions, Care Homes & Schools



  1. Former boss of child abuse probe sues Scottish Government for £500,000
  2. CSA Inquiry: Chairwoman’s Letter of Resignation to John Swinney
  3. CSA Inquiry Scotland: It’s 2 down 1 to go as Chairwoman quits
  4. Scottish child abuse inquiry witnesses ‘deserve answers’
  5. Fresh controversy engulfs troubled Child Abuse Inquiry #CSA #Scotland
  6. #CSA Inquiry. #Survivors spell out fears to Swinney & give him “one last chance”
  7. John Swinney to meet with historic child abuse survivors #SCSAinquiry #CSA
  8. CSA inquiry row ‘centred on use of public cash’, says BIG FAT LIAR Swinney
  9. Lady Anne Mather Smith to Head #Scotland’s #CSAinquiry. Hmm…
  10. Lady Smith #ReleaseTheTape

Police warn of 5,000 files on alleged child abuse

wp-1487315036787.jpgFeb 16th 2017

Police Scotland has revealed it has at least 5,000 files detailing child abuse alleged to have been carried out in care institutions or by prominent people since 1964.

The figure came to light in a Police Scotland document warning the cost of the Scottish Government’s historical abuse inquiry could rise.

A document produced by Police Scotland for MSPs suggests the cost of removing the time limit for victims of childhood abuse to seek civil damages in court may have been underestimated.

Police Scotland issued the warning in response to the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Scotland Bill, which intends to remove the current three-year time bar, or limitation, for bringing a civil court claim for damages in some cases of childhood abuse.

Financial documents published alongside the bill, which is being examined by MSPs on Holyrood’s Justice committee, estimate the change in the law would result in about 2,200 claims in the courts initially – at a cost of £1,017,400.

In a written submission to the committee, Police Scotland reiterated its support for the Bill but added it estimated the force held at least 5,000 files dating back to 1964 relating to reports of child abuse and neglect “within an institution or care setting or involving a person of public prominence”.

The force said: “As such, Police Scotland is of the opinion that the reference point is a conservative estimate and the impact on the Scottish courts may be more significant that suggested in the financial memorandum. Police Scotland would suggest that there is opportunity to further scope the bill’s financial impact.”

The submission said the legislation was likely to have “significant resource (human and financial) implications” for the force and a “far-reaching impact” on individuals, groups and organisations. The concern was echoed by the Association of British Insurers, which said the 2,200 claims estimate “fails to take into account the potential effect of the bill in encouraging more cases to be brought or of previously heard cases to be resurrected.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Having listened to the views of survivors, we are legislating to remove the time bar preventing civil action to be taken after the limitation period has expired.

“Cases would only proceed to court on the basis of robust and compelling evidence. “We will carefully consider all of the submissions to the committee.”


Compensation hopes fade for oldest child abuse victims

16th Feb 2017

20170216_225934The oldest survivors of child abuse in Scotland fear they are being denied any hope of winning compensation.

The Scottish Government is opening the way for hundreds of victims to seek damages through the courts but the change will not apply to cases pre-dating September 1964.

Ministers considered whether or not the so-called 1964 rule could be changed retrospectively but were advised doing so would contravene the European Convention of Human Rights.

Campaigners say the oldest survivors are dying out with no prospect of receiving justice.

Deputy first minister John Swinney has pledged to seek out a solution as quickly as possible.

Frank Docherty, of the In-Care Abuse Survivors charity, claims he suffered years of abuse at the hands of nuns at the Smyllum asylum in Lanark.

He said the experience was still raw despite the incidents taking place more than 60 years ago.

“You were brought up to revere these people and respect them,” he said.

“But they ridiculed you in front of the rest of [the children]. There are some things that never leave you. She made a habit of pulling you up during the day and saying ‘remember boy, what you’ve got to get before you go to bed’.”

Mr Docherty said four committee members had died in the past year without getting closure.

He added: “Why can Australia do it? Why can Ireland do it? And Canada? And yet here, they have got a cut-off date… The only way we can get back or hurt these people is money.”

The Scottish Government is searching for a solution to the 1964 impasse.

Northern Ireland’s child abuse inquiry has recommended a state-backed scheme which could provide compensation payments of up to £100,000, with contributions from institutions that ran the homes where abuse took place.

Asked if Scotland could follow Northern Ireland’s example, Mr Swinney said: “There is that possibility, certainly for the pre-1964 cases we’d have to consider something of that nature, because there’s no legal route for us to open up those cases any further than 1964.

“The government has moved very swiftly to take forward the various changes that we’re making. The historic child abuse inquiry has been established under this Government. The Limitation Bill is a big departure of legal principal. The Government has taken steps as quickly as possible. It is of an urgent nature. I readily acknowledge the fact that some survivors are worried that this takes time, but we will address that as quickly as we possibly can and come to conclusions based on the dialogue that we take forward.”


Justice Committee Inquiries PDF



Holyrood’s justice committee is currently considering plans to remove the current time bar for bringing a civil court claim for damages within three years of the abuse taking place but it would not enable abuse survivors from before 1964 to seek redress in the civil courts.

MSPs were told on Thursday that the cost of removing the limit for victims of childhood abuse “may have been underestimated”.

Police Scotland warned the impact of the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill could be much higher than expected.

Financial documents published alongside the bill estimate the change in the law would result in about 2200 claims in the courts initially.

In a written submission to the committee, Police Scotland reiterated its support for the bill but added it estimated the force held at least 5000 files dating back to 1964 relating to reports of child abuse and neglect “within an institution or care setting or involving a person of public prominence”.

The force said the legislation was likely to have “significant resource (human and financial) implications” for the force and a “far-reaching impact” on individuals, groups and organisations.

The proposals are also supported by the Former Boys and Girls Abused in Quarriers Homes (FBGA), Scottish Human Rights Commission, Victim Support Scotland and the Law Society of Scotland.

https://stv.tv/news/scotland/1380924-compensation-hopes-fade-for-oldest-child-abuse-victims/  http://archive.is/CUStl

Loretto School

Linkfield Road MusselburghEast Lothian  EH21 7RE   MAP

WEB https://www.loretto.com/

WIKI  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loretto_School

Founded in 1827, Loretto is an independent boarding and day school for boys and girls aged 0 to 18. The campus occupies 85 acres (34 ha) in Musselburgh, East Lothian.[1] It has approximately 600 pupils.

Twelve-year-old Don Boyd, smart in his Loretto Junior School uniform of blue serge shorts, open-necked shirt and long red stockings, was about to undergo a particularly “special”, secret lesson as he crept towards North Esk Lodge

This would be a private lesson, the first of many. Just the young boy and his charismatic, popular and – although the schoolboy didn’t realise it at the time – predatory, paedophile French teacher

It was a lesson in life that pioneering 19th century headmaster Dr Hely Hutchinson Almond – whose “mind, body and spirit” values are at the heart of a school that counts Alistair Darling, Andrew Marr, Norman Lamont and racing driver Jim Clark among its past pupils – surely would never have tolerated.

Inside North Esk Lodge was Guy Anthony Ray-Hills’ bedroom.

It smelled of gelatine cream, aftershave and semen. It reeked of sex and secrets, of terrible child abuse and broken childhoods.

Within this small bedroom on the top floor of North Esk Lodge, a ten-minute walk from the gates of prim Loretto School at the heart of Musselburgh in the late 50s and early 60s, curious, innocent boys – often deprived of parental affection at a lonely boarding school – were treated to Ray-Hills’ full and undivided attention. They were stripped, abused and repeatedly raped.

Boyd kept secret how he became one of the outwardly respectable French tutor’s “special friends” for decades. It tainted his life and relationships and hovered quietly in the background as his career in filmmaking led to working with stars like Sir Laurence Olivier, John Hurt, Richard Harris and Dame Helen Mirren, producing iconic movies such as controversial 70s film Scum, writing screenplays and directing.

He blurted his secret out, bizarrely, in an explosive moment after his father’s death, when a friend showed off a collection of antique guns, fired one and the blast somehow broke the lock on decades of suppressed anguish.

Today he’s back in Edinburgh, just a few miles from where Ray-Hills systematically abused him, to work with the Traverse Theatre and launch a new project which aims to beam live theatre to cinema audiences across the country.

It’s also an appropriate location to launch his first novel, Margot’s Secrets, with its themes of sexual abuse and mind manipulation, deep- rooted secrets and lives warped by depravity which run brutally close to Boyd’s own experiences. So close, that one of his key character’s own account of being brutalised by his teacher – even down to the animal nicknames Ray-Hills gave his pupils and the school uniform – could not be anything other than Boyd’s own story.

“One of the victims is drawn from my own experience,” nods Boyd during a break at a rehearsal room in Leith. “And yes, one of the other characters is the personification of what I imagine my former teacher might become as they enter the adult world away from boarding school. He is charming and dangerous. Intelligent, perceptive and a very, very clever manipulator of people.”

Here in Edinburgh, so close to that small bedroom, Boyd might be expected to harvest fresh bitterness and anger at his betrayal.

“But I’m one of the lucky ones,” he stresses. “I can come back to Edinburgh which I feel is my ‘home’ and be completely forgiving to Loretto. It was a brilliant school educationally, there was the highest order of teaching staff and it gave me the opportunity to learn so much. One has to move on. You have to rationalise, otherwise you go around with a scar that never heals, a constant reminder of something that happened a long time ago.”   READ IN FULL http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/sexually-abused-during-his-time-at-loretto-school-don-boyd-returns-to-edinburgh-and-launches-a-book-incorporating-his-abuse-1-1306831   http://archive.is/dDmVm

  1. Don Boyd: A suitable boy | From the Observer Aug 18th 2001
  2. Dad recalls horror of confronting paedophile Hugh Mitchell and wife Gill  31st Oct 2015
  3. Wings Over Scotland | Fast work June 14th 2016
  4. Sandra Dick Online: January 2012
  5. paedophile information exchange Ian Pace
  6. I am in total shock. It feels as if I am being hung, drawn Herald Scotland
  7. City teacher charged with sexual abuse – The Scotsman  13th June 2002

Robert Key born in Plymouth, the son of Maurice Key, afterwards Bishop of Truro.[1] At the age of 10 he was part of a school walk on Swanage Beach in Dorset where he and six friends discovered an old wartime mine which detonated; only Key and one other boy survived.[2][3] He went to Salisbury Cathedral School, then independent Sherborne School. He studied economics at Clare College at the University of Cambridge, receiving an MA and CertEd.

He taught at the Loretto School in Edinburgh from 1967–9, then taught economics at Harrow School from 1969–83.

Robert Key MP was bestestest of pals wi Ted Heath here he was also

  1. Member of the Defence Select Committee
  2. MP for Salisbury since 1983 and was a parliamentary private secretary in Margaret Thatcher’s government.
  3. Junior minister for the environment and, later, transport under John Major. He served as a shadow minister between 1997 and 2003. here   
  4.  Ted Heaths parliamentary private secretary here


Who was Ted Heath  http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/13557620.Who_was Ted_Heath_/  https://archive.is/mc2NW

Salisbury MP Robert Key is to step down http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/4772527.Salisbury MP_Robert_Key_is_to_step_down/  https://archive.is/n6HDm

Robert Key resigns as trustee of former prime minister Sir Edward Heath’s charity in funding row http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/9814398/Robert-Key-resigns-as-trustee-of-former-prime-minister-Sir-Edward-Heaths-charity-in-funding-row.html  https://archive.is/tl7HM

Carlekemp Priory 

Sex abuse row at Carlekemp Priory School

http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/education/sex-abuse-row-at-carlekemp-priory-school-1-3021118 https://archive.is/9ZAnH


Child sex abuse inquiry to probe more than 60 institutions {including Prince Charles & Tony Blair’s old schools} https://archive.is/VvCBd


Morrison Academy

Child sex abuse inquiry to probe more than 60 institutions {including Prince Charles & Tony Blair’s old schools}

MORE than 60 residential care establishments for youngsters are being investigated by the team working on Scotland’s national child abuse inquiry, its chairwoman has said.

They are among more than 100 locations where the abuse of children is alleged to have taken place, Lady Smith announced.

Boarding schools, institutions run by religious orders and local authorities are among the establishments being probed.

The schools specifically being investigated by inquiry staff are Fettes   College,Gordonstoun, the former Keil School, Loretto School, Merchiston Castle School, and Morrison’s Academy when it was a boarding school, the hearing was told.

READ IN FULL https://spidercatweb.blog/2017/02/01/csainquiry-60/  http://archive.li/VvCBd


Governor’s    {L}  1979  {R} Current


The Morrisonian  http://www.morrisonsacademyarchive.org/assets/0019/8001/MA18_140429_23.pdf


Morrison’s_Academy wiki  

Morrison’s Academy is a co-educational day independent school in Crieff, Perth and Kinross in Central Scotland. The school provides nursery, primary and secondary school facilities. It draws many pupils from surrounding Perth and Kinross and Stirling.

The Queen’s visit in 1985


Loads of pics & newspaper reports here http://www.morrisonsacademyarchive.org/archive?archive_search%5Barchive_search_keyword%5D=125th+Anniversary


Mr Ashmall http://www.morrisonsacademyarchive.org/archive/4374_head_boy_stephen_thompson_head_girl_helen_farquhar_mr_ashmall_1988

The International Association for Eductional AssessmentThe International Association for Eductional Assessment

Scottish Council for Research in Education – Wiki



DOCUMENT RESUME The Scottish Council for Research in Education PDF

Liaison with Other Organisations, 1984-85  page 22 & 23

International Association for Educational Assessment (IAEA) 


https://iaea2017.org  2017 Conference






Notable alumni

Ewan_McGregor went to Morrison’s Academy as did Robert Henderson QC http://www.scotsman.com/news/obituaries/obituary-robert-henderson-qc-75-1-2692675  http://archive.li/whHQV


Henderson & Fairbairn https://spidercatweb.blog/2016/03/06/robert-ewart-henderson-qc/

Call for inquiry into Scots historical sex abuse
http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/call-for-inquiry-into-scots-historical-sex-abuse-1-3511956  http://archive.li/Zzyjs


Child sex abuse inquiry to probe more than 60 institutions {including Prince Charles & Tony Blair’s old schools}

Wed 1st Feb 2017

MORE than 60 residential care establishments for youngsters are being investigated by the team working on Scotland’s national child abuse inquiry, its chairwoman has said.

They are among more than 100 locations where the abuse of children is alleged to have taken place, Lady Smith announced.

Boarding schools, institutions run by religious orders and local authorities are among the establishments being probed.

The schools specifically being investigated by inquiry staff are Fettes   College, Gordonstoun, the former Keil School, Loretto School, Merchiston Castle School, and Morrison’s Academy when it was a boarding school, the hearing was told.

Faith-based organisations being looked at include those run by religious orders including the Benedictines, Sisters of Nazareth and the Christian Brothers

The inquiry is also investigating the relationship between the Catholic Church in Scotland and these religious orders, as well as three establishments run by the Church of Scotland.

Inquiry chair Lady Smith named a list of places being probed as she provided an update on its progress during a preliminary hearing in Edinburgh.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is examining historical allegations of the abuse of children in care and has been taking statements from witnesses since the spring of last year.

Lady Smith told the hearing at Parliament House that the inquiry is “determined to get to the bottom of any systemic failures that occurred”.

She appealed to anyone with relevant evidence to come forward and speak to the inquiry.

“We are determined to find out the truth about what happened to children in care, where, how and why,” she said.

“We want to find out why the abuse was not prevented, why it was not stopped, and what needs to be done to protect children in care in the future.” Senior judge Lady Smith said 170 people had contacted the inquiry by June last year and “many more have done so since then”, but she said she would not give a running commentary on the number of individuals coming forward.

Turning to institutions, she said: “So far, we have identified more than 100 locations where abuse of children is said to have taken place but we know that there are many more than that.

“The inquiry team is currently investigating over 60 residential care establishments for children in order to gather, from those who ran them and others, evidence about how children who were being cared for in a range of different settings and by a number of different types of care organisations were treated.”

Other current investigations are focusing on religious orders the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, the Sisters of our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, the De la Salle Brothers and Marist Brothers, the hearing was told.

Church of Scotland-run establishments being probed are Ballikinrain School, Geilsland Residential School, and the Lord and Lady Polwarth Home for Children in Edinburgh.

The team is further looking at how children were treated at institutions run by “major care providers” Quarriers, Barnardo’s, Aberlour Child Care Trust, as well as Widower’s Children’s Home. Eight children’s homes and secure units across Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and Fife are also being looked into, the inquiry team revealed. In her first public remarks since she became chair last summer, Lady Smith confirmed child migrants will be included in the inquiry’s remit.

Staff are said to be working to identify and contact people in countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand who may have suffered abuse.  http://www.thenational.scot/news/15060886.Child_sex_abuse_inquiry_to_probe_more_than_60_institutions/  http://archive.li/fJebM


Former boss of child abuse probe sues Scottish Government for £500,000

Former boss of child abuse probe sues Scottish Government for £500,000 over claims she was forced to quit  30th January 2017, 7:31 pm

Susan O’Brien QC’s legal team claim her resignation came as Holyrood forces were attempting to have her SACKED

THE former boss of a child abuse investigation is suing the Scottish Government for £500,000 over claims they forced her to quit.

Former chair Susan O’Brien QC stood down saying ministerial interference meant the probe wasn’t able to work independently.he inquiry into historical abuse has been dogged by controversy and saw Ms O’Brien quit last July

The inquiry into historical abuse has been dogged by controversy and saw Ms O’Brien quit last July

Ms O’Brien’s legal team claim her resignation came as Holyrood forces were attempting to have her SACKED, we can reveal.

The highly respected lawyer says they had earlier threatened to remove her which they called “the nuclear option”.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry into historical abuse has been dogged by controversy and saw Ms O’Brien quit last July.

For the first time we can reveal details of papers lodged with the Court of Session.

They reveal a psychologist complained that Ms O’Brien made two inappropriate comments at a training session.

Dr Claire Fyvie of The Rivers Centre in Edinburgh claimed her comments were offensive to survivors and she was unfit for the role. But other survivor groups didn’t agree.

Ms O’Brien insists that her first comment was merely repeating the views of a survivor and were not her own.

And in the second instance she was referring to a newspaper story of a criminal case which had been misunderstood.

Dr Fyvie withdrew support for the inquiry following the comments.

She wrote to the inquiry stating: “My concerns lie almost entirely with the Chair of the Inquiry, Ms Susan O’Brien QC, and with the attitudes and beliefs she appears to hold with regard to survivors of child abuse.”

But Ms O’Brien points out that it took 11 weeks for the complaint actually to be made.

The Scottish Government then made moves to have her contract terminated.

They told her: “You can now no longer command the confidence of those for whose benefit the inquiry was established.

“If it became publicly known that you had made those remarks, then your position would be untenable.”

But her fellow panel members Professor Michael Lamb and Glen Houston both opposed her removal.

During a meeting with Deputy First Minister John Swinney they gave Ms O’Brien their full backing.

Professor Lamb stated he believed the government’s move to sack the chair compromised the independence of the inquiry.He later quit citing these reasons.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney

Deputy First Minister John Swinney

But First Minster Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament: “We don’t accept Prof Lamb’s comments about the independence of the Inquiry.”

Neither Ms Sturgeon nor Mr Swinney asked Prof Lamb to explain the concerns he had before rejecting his comments.

Ms O’Brien stated the inquiry failed to even speak to Prof Lamb about his concerns.

She said this was “the last straw” and soon afterwards also stood down.

The legal paperwork states: “She (Ms O’Brien) considered that she had a duty to inform the public that the Inquiry’s independence was being actively undermined by the defenders (Scottish Government).”

Ms O’Brien also claims that ministers had no legal right to remove her from the role.

She is seeking £500,000 to cover loss in earnings and damage to her reputation.

The Scottish Government then moves to have her contract terminated

The inquiry is now being headed up by Supreme Court judge Lady Smith.

Many survivor groups have welcomed her appointment.

But others have questioned whether a serving judge is best to investigate the courts as the Inquiry’s remit requires.

The Inquiry’s Preliminary Hearing is due to take place at Parliament House in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

This choice of location has been slammed by critics as inappropriate.

They say the last time many survivors will have been there was to have their abuse cases dismissed.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said:
“Ministers have acted appropriately at all times to exercise the responsibilities that the Inquiries Act 2005 and other relevant legislation places on them and continue to be committed to the independence of the Inquiry.

“It would be inappropriate to comment any further on this matter since court proceedings are live.”  https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/511395/former-boss-of-child-abuse-probe-sues-scottish-government-for-500000-over-claims-she-was-forced-to-quit/


Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry: Publicity Campaign & Funding

Child abuse inquiry to launch publicity campaign Scottish Legal News-13 Jan 2017

Attempts to increase public awareness of Scotland’s child abuse inquiry are to be boosted with the launch of a publicity campaign.

Lady Smith, chair of the inquiry, is expected to make a statement on efforts to promote public awareness at a preliminary hearing this month.

She will also reveal details of the money spent on the inquiry so far.

Alan Draper, spokesman for In-care Abuse Survivors (Incas), said that since an event last March at which the previous chair, Susan O’Brien QC, had called on survivors to come forward, things had “gone quiet”.

He said: “It’s something we’ve been pushing every time we’ve had a meeting with them. People that are interested in the inquiry are aware of what’s going on but the average person isn’t necessarily clued in to the same extent.

“A lot of survivors are reluctant to come forward and apart from a one-off session held by Susan O’Brien last year, it’s gone quiet.”

He added: “What we’ve argued is that there should be regular information updates on the work of the inquiry.

“We’re in touch with 400 or 500 survivors, but we feel there are a lot more out there – we know there are. They need to be encouraged to come forward and told what support will be in place if they do because it’s very traumatic.”

He added that he hoped Lady Smith would raise the issue of financial redress for survivors.

The inquiry was established in October 2015 and is due to last for four years. Last June, figures showed it had spent £2 million so far. http://www.scottishlegal.com/2017/01/13/child-abuse-inquiry-to-launch-publicity-campaign/

Group that supports victims of child sex abuse given funding boost 13 Jan 2017



Children TORTURED in Scottish Care Homes, Schools & Residential Units

1.PNGDozens of accounts of systematic abuse in Scottish schools, residential homes and hospitals have been published.

The allegations released by the National Confidential Forum include child sex abuse, violence and bullying.

Many of the 59 testimonies describe a “veil of secrecy” within institutions, with victims and witnesses scared to speak out.

The majority of those who described their childhood experiences are now aged in their 50s.

However, some were in care as recently as five years ago, while others were sharing experiences from 80 years ago.

Troubled backgrounds

The National Confidential Forum, which was set up by the Scottish government in 2014, said it has passed on 38 allegations of abuse to the police.

The forum said most of the abused children came from troubled backgrounds, with many describing being taken into care after physical and sexual abuse within their own family, often accompanied by parental alcoholism, rejection, or neglect.

Once they were in care, the victims described the “distress, fear and confusion” they felt, with many not knowing how long they would be staying in an institution, why they were there, or whether or not parents wanted to maintain contact.


While not all of the 78 people spoken to by the forum suffered abuse, several described how physical, sexual and emotional abuse happened on a regular basis.

For some, abuse was part of a regime of punishment and control that was at the core of the institution in which they lived.

The forum said it had heard about individual abusers carrying out systematic and hidden abuse, as well as accounts of whole staff teams abusing or colluding with the abuse.


One victim described the institution he was sent to as being like a “systematic torture chamber”, with “systematic abuse a way of life all the time, morning and night”.

Another said: “She’d fill a bath with cold water and throw you in it, with the towel wrapped around your head, which I think is called waterboarding. And then pour buckets of water over your head.”

And a third recalled: “They took me into the night duty room and wanted me to do things. They gave me cigarettes to keep it quiet.”

Among the allegations contained in its report were accounts of routine forms of punishment such as beating, force-feeding or withholding food or sleep – sometimes apparently being delivered for the enjoyment of the abuser.


Bedwetting was also dealt with severely, with children being forced to sit in a cold bath as punishment, beaten by staff with wet towels, having their head wrapped in a towel and held under running water, and in some cases having to parade around naked with their soiled sheets.

Sexual abuse was talked about by several people and often linked to specific members of staff within institutions.

A veil of secrecy was described in which other children were similarly victimised, witnessed or knew what was happening, but did not speak up.

The forum’s report said: “We heard that sometimes the only available love and affection were for the purposes of grooming children for sexual abuse. In abusive institutions, people described accepting affection from an adult making them vulnerable to being sexually abused. Those who rejected affection for fear of the consequences described missing out on any chance of love and nurturing.”

Sense of shame

It also said the child victims were often either too scared to speak out, or the abuse regime represented normality for them, with the children not knowing that adults should not be allowed to behave in abusive ways.

When children did report the abuse, they generally did not remember any action being taken – although at least one person recalled the abuser being removed.

Other responses included the abused child being punished or moved to another institution, which added to the child’s self-blame and sense of shame.

Many people also said that adults’ views and accounts were always believed over children’s, and that this reflected a perception of children in care as “deviant”.

After the children left care, generally between the age of 14 and 16, they were often completely unprepared for adult life, lacking in social skills and with nobody to turn to for help and support.

Homelessness continued to be a risk for many well into adulthood, leading to loss of precious belongings, substance misuse and unemployment.

Years of exposure to violence and hardship also increased the risk of getting involved in crime – with some people giving their testimony to the forum from prison.

The National Confidential Forum was set up to allow people who spent time in institutional care as children to come forward and share their experiences, whatever they were.

All hearings, where people tell of their experiences, are “confidential and non-judgemental and aim to contribute positively toward the health and wellbeing of those who take part”.

Separately, the Scottish government has set up an independent inquiry into the abuse of children in care.

SOURCE http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-38568857  https://archive.is/5DDtt

CHILDREN were tortured at Scottish schools, children’s homes and residential units with waterboarding, sleep-deprivation and force-feeding among the practices deployed to torment them, a major study into alleged abuse has claimed.

The report from the National Confidential Forum (NCF), a body set up to anonymously document the experiences of abuse victims, also records testimony alleging the humiliation of children for bed-wetting and others having their hair shaved off to suppress their identity. Costing more than £4 million since it was established in 2014, the forum has faced accusations of being a “talking shop” because it lacked powers to hold abusers to account.

Stephen Naysmith: Confronting a shameful legacy from our recent past

The subsequent Scottish Child Abuse inquiry may have appealed to more victims because it could ultimately lead to prosecutions.

While it was initially thought up to 2000 abuse survivors might give evidence to the NCF, so far only 78 statements have been lodged.

Head of the forum, Dr Rachel Happer, said a culture of silence and intimidation had prevented many of the perpetrators of abuse from facing justice.

She said: “Many of the accounts we have heard have been heart-breaking and akin to extreme treatment that nobody should be on the receiving end of, never mind children and never mind a child who is meant to be cared for and protected. People have used their own words to describe the experiences and some have certainly described what happened to them as torture.”

The oldest record of abuse detailed in the report called ‘What We Have Heard So Far’ took place eight decades ago, and the most recent just five years ago.

The alleged abuse took place in state-run care homes, residential schools and secure units for adolescents.

While a small number of the 78 people who have so far made disclosures to the Forum relayed positive experiences about the care they received, the majority – 59 people – described a range of dehumanising and cruel physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

Many who raised the alarm about abuse as children said they were rarely believed, and more likely to be punished or transferred.

The abuser’s version of events was often accepted as the more credible account.

But the report reveals harrowing details from children who had been rehoused to protect them from abuse or neglect.

One account described how a staff member at a residential care unit would torture them.

It read: “She’d fill a bath with cold water and throw you in it, with the towel wrapped around your head, which I think is called water-boarding…and then pour buckets of water over your head.” 

Another described the place they were accommodated as a “systematic torture chamber”.

“[It was]…a systematic abuse…a way of life all the time, morning and night,” they said.

Dr Rachel Happer said some had never before spoken about their experiences,and urged more survivors to come forward.

She said: “For some people, talking to the forum is the first time they have been heard and sharing their experience broke a long-held silence.”

While the NCF exists to record the experiences of people who grew up in care, it is working closely with the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry and urges those who wish to take their evidence further to contact the inquiry or with Police Scotland.

Alan Draper, spokesman for In Care Abuse Survivors Scotland, said the details revealed in the report were no surprise, and reflected the experiences of many of the group’s members.

He said victims deserved to be compensated for the abuse they suffered.

And he added: “This [report] raises questions about how we repair the damage that has been caused to so many people by an uncaring establishment. One of the ways should certainly be some form of monetary acknowledgement of what they went through.”

Stephen Naysmith: Confronting a shameful legacy from our recent past

A spokesman from NSPCC Scotland said: “The accounts of abuse published in this report are extremely shocking and it’s vital that any victims of abuse get justice, no matter how much time has passed since crimes against them were committed. We need to ensure that people who have been abused as children feel confident to come forward, safe in the knowledge that their voices heard and they will receive help and support.”

Meanwhile, the former Old Bailey prosecutor Brian Altman QC has been named as the new lead counsel for the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse taking place in London.

Mr Altman, who has specialised in serious crime and terrorism cases, replaces Ben Emmerson QC, who resigned last September amid disputes over the scale of the investigation.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15015247.Children_tortured_in_Scottish_schools_and_care_homes__report_claims/?ref=ebln   http://archive.is/1itPA


Annual Report 2014-2015

http://www.nationalconfidentialforum.org.uk/media/32794/annual-report-2014-2015-final.pdf   http://archive.is/ih3pq  

Annual Report 2015-2016


Reflections of 3 Founding NCF Members


What We Have Heard So Far


SOURCE http://www.nationalconfidentialforum.org.uk/reports/  http://archive.is/YKrNv


SCOTTISH CHILDREN MURDERED IN PAEDO SNUFF FILMS  https://spidercatweb.blog/2016/02/21/scottish-children-filmed-in-paedophile-snuff-movies/  http://archive.is/xoVYK

Scottish Paedophilia: Institutions, Children’s Homes, Schools & Paedo Rings  https://spidercatweb.blog/2015/11/02/scottish-paedophilia-institutions-care-homes-schools-paedo-rings/   http://archive.is/jNoi8

Child Trafficking Scotland  https://spidercatweb.blog/2017/01/03/child-trafficking-scotland/   http://archive.is/ZK40I

LENNOX CASTLE: Disabled children given grotesque drug tests.  https://spidercatweb.blog/2016/03/25/lennox-castle-disabled-children-given-grotesque-drug-tests-sco/  http://archive.is/7uUXy

LENNOX CASTLE HOSPITAL  https://spidercatweb.blog/2016/08/27/lennox-castle-hospital/  https://archive.is/Zh6FD

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry https://spidercatweb.blog/2016/02/11/csa-inquiry-scotland/  http://archive.is/vdaCf


What is Scotland’s Problem? https://spidercatweb.blog/2016/09/18/what-is-scotlands-problem/  https://archive.is/UVLjdū



https://spidercatweb.blog/2017/01/11/kids-tortured-scotland/  https://archive.is/NlRcV

#ChildSexAbuse inquiry to hold first hearing in new year. #Scotland #SCSAinquiry

Inquiry chair: Lady Smith

Child abuse inquiry to hold first hearing in new year 22 Dec 2016

A date has been fixed for Scotland’s initial hearing of allegations of abuse of children in care.

The first sitting of the Scottish Inquiry into Historical Abuse of Children in Care is scheduled for the new year.

The preliminary hearing will take place at Parliament House in Edinburgh on January 31.

It will include an update on current investigations and set out how evidence will be taken. No witnesses will be called.

Chaired by Lady Smith, the inquiry will take four years and identify the extent of abuse and any systemic failures.

During the hearing, Lady Smith is expected to explain the inquiry’s approach to its work and set out how people can participate.

The announcement comes after the Scottish government resisted calls to have the inquiry extended to include child abuse allegations in Scottish football.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said extending the inquiry further would render it “completely unwieldy” while Deputy First Minister John Swinney said survivors groups did not want the current inquiry’s timescale extended.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) has since announced that it is to launch a review into abuse in football.

Earlier this month former Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill asked: “How many public inquiries does there need to be? And does a formal inquiry properly address the wider aspects of what went wrong in our society?”

He wrote in The Herald that a commission might be a “better course of action” which could “listen and learn”.

Mr MacAskill added: “It could allow for individuals to detail the suffering they experienced and the effects it had upon them. For organisations to atone for failures without fear of it being viewed as an admission to be used against them. It would be able to range far and wide and listen to all who want to have their say on what happened to them. It would be free to look at the wider faults in our society, that turned a blind eye to what was happening and a deaf ear to the cries. It, too, would be complex but I fear formal legal inquiries will be both restrictive and the source of endless rancour.”

He said “collectively” children had been let down, adding: ” Prosecutions there must be. But equally there must be a mechanism for listening to victims long ignored so we can address what went wrong in our society.

Police Scotland has received 109 referrals involving cases of child sexual abuse in football since a helpline was set up a month ago.

The force has now established a major inquiry team to deal with the referrals.

They have come via the children’s charity NSPCC, the SFA and directly to police.

The force said it was unable to say how many individuals were affected until they had examined each referral.

It said every complainer was being spoken to by trained officers from the Child Protection Unit.

The SFA said it was “imperative that we take the necessary time and guidance” to ensure its review complemented the work of Police Scotland.

It said it has taken initial steps towards establishing an appropriate scope and terms of reference for the review.

And it pledged to ensure “organisational learning and development” is at the forefront of its responsibilities as the governing body for the national game”.

It added: “The initial scoping phase will take place with involvement from all stakeholders into the new year, and once established we will comment further at the appropriate time”.

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said: “Police Scotland has reaffirmed that it is the investigatory authority regarding reports of child sexual abuse in football. It is therefore crucial to draw the distinction between their ongoing investigation and what lessons football can learn from historic allegations.”  SOURCE