Kerelaw school was shut down after a police investigation
An independent inquiry is to be held into a school for vulnerable youngsters hit by allegations of child abuse.
The Kerelaw Residential Unit in Stevenson, Ayrshire, was closed in 2006 following a police investigation.
The inquiry, jointly commissioned by the government and Glasgow City Council, will make recommendations to help prevent similar abuse in future.
Adam Ingram, minister for children, told MSPs that lessons had to be learned from what happened.
Last year, two men were found guilty of physically and sexually abusing children in their care at Kerelaw, which looked after children with significant emotional, social and behavioural problems.
Art teacher Matthew George, 56, was jailed for 10 years at the High Court in Edinburgh for a “horrifying catalogue” of 18 offences.
Residential care worker John Muldoon, 53, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail for four offences.
Earlier this year, the Crown Office said it was taking no further action over 10 cases of alleged abuse at the school.
Glasgow City Council also spent three years investigating the workings of the unit and a report found that as many as 40 care workers abused children at Kerelaw.
Mr Ingram said it had uncovered an “unacceptable and long-standing history” of child abuse.
KERELAW INQUIRY AIMS
Insight into circumstances of the abuse
Examine Glasgow council’s stewardship of the school
Consider steps taken by the council after the closure
Recommendations to avoid a repeat of Kerelaw
Identify other child protection issues
“We would be doing a great disservice to all those involved if we did not consider what we can learn from the Kerelaw situation,” he told MSPs.
“I want to be assured that abuse, and allegations of abuse, on the scale and over that duration cannot ever happen again in a residential setting in Scotland.
“We owe it to the children who were abused, to the staff not involved in the abuse but caught up in the events by association, and to all children in residential settings who we have a responsibility to safeguard.”
The detailed remit of the inquiry, to be chaired by the former senior civil servant Eddie Frizzell, will be outlined in the new year.
It will also aim to gain an insight as to the circumstances which led to abuse at Kerelaw, examine Glasgow council’s stewardship of the unit and the steps which the local authority took in the wake of the closure.
The announcement was welcomed by MSPs.
Independent Inquiry into Abuse at Kerelaw Residential School and Secure Unit. Jointly commissioned by the Scottish. Government and Glasgow City Council.
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Horrific new allegations against shamed teacher at Kerelaw
‘School beast abused me too’: Horrific new allegations against shamed teacher at Kerelaw residential unit’
06:00, 10 AUG 2015
A NEW victim came forward with fresh allegations of vicious attacks by jailed art teacher Matthew George at Kerelaw residential school.
A victim has stepped forward with new claims jailed teacher Matthew George abused himA victim has stepped forward with new claims jailed teacher Matthew George abused him
A FRESH inquiry into violent abuse at a disgraced residential school has been launched by police.
A new victim came forward with claims of vicious attacks by jailed art teacher Matthew George at Kerelaw residential school.
George, 66, was jailed for a catalogue of physical and sexual abuses at the Ayrshire unit, which was shut down in 2006.
But another man, now 48, has claimed he suffered brutal assaults at the hands of George and his “bully boys” in the early 80s.
The victim, who asked not to be named, claimed he was thrown through a second-floor window during his stay. He said: “I have the scars to prove what he did to me.
“He gave me a nickname, ‘Mongo John’. He used to hit me and chase after me as well.
“Matt George even took me home and did it. One of the reasons the police believed my story is because I could show them where he lived.
Kerelaw remand home for children near Stevenston Ayrshire (2006)Kerelaw remand home for children near Stevenston Ayrshire (2006)
“He is an evil man and he got his bully boys to throw me through a window.”
Some Kerelaw pupils had family problems while others had been sent there for offences involving violence, theft or drugs.
In 2006, a jury heard George’s victims were mostly boys aged 14 or 15. The offences dated back to 1978. He would boast about his sexual exploits, expose himself to boys in the shower, demand sex acts and he once tried to rape a pupil.
He would use pupils to show off his martial arts skills, subjecting them to punches and slaps and wrestling holds. The thug, from Largs, was sacked after the abuses emerged.
He was found guilty of 18 charges and jailed for 10 years.
The latest alleged victim said he only learned of George’s conviction after the pervert’s appeal failed in 2011. He said: “I don’t want it to be just swept under the carpet.
“I turned to alcohol as I grew up and it has taken 35 years to get where I am now. Matt George is out soon and people are claiming he’s innocent. I know he’s not innocent.”
The former pupil said his abuse happened when he was 13 or 14. He said: “In every class, he had one person who he would pick on. And I was the runt of the class. Because of him, I was bullied all through my stay in Kerelaw by the older ones. He encouraged it.
“One night I was put through a window. The school tried to claim I was sleepwalking. But I thought I was dreaming when someone picked me up and put me over their shoulder. I was thrown out the second-floor window. I have a 16-inch scar running up my leg to my buttock. Thankfully I didn’t suffer any broken bones. I was never sexually assaulted but I could see what was going on. When he was on the unit, I wouldn’t go in the shower or the toilet.”
Kerelaw in Stevenston was home to about 75 vulnerable children at a time. Council chiefs investigated almost 400 allegations of abuse from 159 children spanning 20 years.
The school was closed in 2006 following a police probe into abuse.
Yesterday, police said that they were investigating the latest claims. A spokeswoman said: “Inquiries are at an early stage into this matter.
George was jailed for 10 years after the jury found him guilty of 18 charges of physical and sexual abuse against pupils at Kerelaw School in North Ayrshire
George helped out in the pupils’ living quarters when the school was short-staffed.
George would boast about his own sexual exploits, expose himself to boys in the shower, demand oral sex and, on one occasion, attempt to sodomise one of his pupils.
He will be released soon, and will continue to post a serious threat to the safety of children.