Religious order played 'pass the paedophile,' child abuse inquiry hears

A religious order has been accused of playing "pass the paedophile" by a former boarding school pupil.
Lady Smith is leading the inquiry.Lady Smith is leading the inquiry.
Lady Smith is leading the inquiry.

The witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was giving evidence to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry about his time at Fort Augustus Abbey School in the Highlands during the 1960s.

He spoke of one priest grooming him and his mother, and said he was "convinced" the monk was one of the "worst abusers", although the witness was never sexually assaulted by him.

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The inquiry heard that he believed the priest was constantly being relocated by the Order of Benedictines, who ran the school, as a means of covering up alleged sexual crimes.

The witness, now in his 70s, said: "He was being moved around like a game of chess.

"I think it's called 'pass the paedophile'."

He added: "He would take boys on holidays, on trips to the islands.

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"I don't know for a fact, but I'm convinced he abused there."

Meanwhile, another witness spoke of a priest being a "sadist", who took pleasure in beating young boys with a bamboo stick at Carlekemp Priory School in East Lothian.

The man, who also cannot be named, claimed the cane was a "speciality" of monk Aidan Duggan.

The inquiry was told that the witness, also now in his 70s, attended the establishment in the 1950s and 1960s.

He said: "He (Duggan) was a sadist, for sure.

"He would swing at you with this cane, a lot of us were struck from the lower back to the buttocks to the top of the thighs.

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"He drew out this cane and looked at us and we were shaking in our wellies.

"This was his speciality. He was a great man for the beatings."

These attacks were said to be inflicted when boys answered questions wrongly, with the strikes leaving stripe marks across their bodies.

The inquiry in Edinburgh before judge Lady Smith continues.