Abuse inquiry hears of child ‘repeatedly locked in cupboard’

The inquiry, led by Lady Smith, is hearing evidence relating to four children's homes run by the Sisters of Nazareth until their closure in the 1980s.
The inquiry, led by Lady Smith, is hearing evidence relating to four children's homes run by the Sisters of Nazareth until their closure in the 1980s.
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A former children’s home resident who has spent his life in and out of prison said he was “taught fear, paranoia and violence” by an abusive nun.

“Ned”, who is now in his 50s, told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry he had been in 24 institutions throughout his life after being admitted to Nazareth House, Aberdeen in the late 1960s.

He told the inquiry he had been separated from his sisters, repeatedly locked in a cupboard and beaten by a nun using a wooden stick.

The inquiry, led by Lady Smith, is hearing evidence relating to four children’s homes run by the Sisters of Nazareth until their closure in the 1980s.

Ned also remembered having his genitals fondled by an unknown male during his time at the home. He said the violence inflicted on him was to have a “profound” effect on the rest of his life.

During time spent in prison as an adult, he wrote a book about his experience of the care system in which he said the nun, who cannot be named for legal reasons, “taught me fear, paranoia and violence”.

He told the inquiry: “I learned from her not only that violence was the norm but that it was a good thing and a power to have on your side.”

He said it was the physical violence, not the sexual abuse which had stayed with him in later life.

He added: “It was the violence that stayed with me, the molestation didn’t stay with me. The violence overpowered everything.”

Ned, who did not speak to his sisters for 40 years after leaving Nazareth House, said: “Scotland as a country should be ashamed that it’s taken this long for this [inquiry] to happen.

“The 21 years since I reported this, it’s hurt me a lot more than what the care system has.”

The inquiry was also read a transcript of an interview with another former resident, “Jack”, who said a caretaker had tied him up, put a gag in his mouth, “caressed” him and then beat him up during his time at the home in the 1950s.

“There were never any nuns when the abuse took place but I’m sure they were in collusion,” he said.

Jack said that looking back as an adult, he had realised the abuse had a sexual element.

He said: “The impact on my life has been devastating. I turned to drugs to try to black everything out; I was an addict for 30 years.”

The inquiry continues.