Inquiry hears of ‘sexual abuse’ at home run by religious order

A man has told an inquiry how he froze as a religious brother crept into his bed to sexually abuse him when he was a teenager.

The man described how he cried after the incident at the children’s home run by a religious order but did not tell anyone because he thought no-one would listen.

He told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) he felt “devastated” and “dumbfounded” to hear that the man does not accept the allegations made against him.

The fourth phase of the inquiry in Edinburgh, which began this week, is currently examining St Ninian’s, a residential school in Falkland, Fife that was run by the Christian Brothers.

The witness, known to the inquiry by the pseudonym John, was at St Ninian’s in the 1960s and told how the abuse happened when he was around the age of 14.

The abuse by one individual happened “almost right away” when he arrived there and would take place when he was in bed in the dormitory in the evening, the hearing was told.

“He would get in and put his hands inside my pyjamas then touch me,” the witness told the hearing.

He told how he would hear the man, who cannot be identified, enter the room and said that the adult did not speak during the attack.

Junior counsel to the inquiry, Ceit-Anna MacLeod, asked: “How sure were you at the time that it was (the religious brother) that was doing this to you?”

“Very sure,” the witness replied.

He told the hearing that the abuse would happen on a “fairly regular” basis and that he would cry afterwards.

The witness also described how he would be belted regularly by the same individual for “trivial” things like talking.

“He loved giving me the belt, he thrived on it,” he told the inquiry in a statement.

Asked if he had told anybody about the individual at the time, he said: “No, who’s going to listen to me?”

He told how his experiences at St Ninian’s had impacted on his relationship with his wife and made it difficult for him to meet people.

Ms MacLeod put it to him that the religious brother in question does not accept the allegations made against him, to which the witness replied: “I was devastated when I heard that. Of course they’re going to deny it…

“I’m quite dumbfounded, I don’t know what to think.”

The hearing, before Lady Smith, continues.

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