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Boy 'stripped naked and sexually assaulted' on first day at Kincora Boys' Home

Published 07/06/2016

The inquiry is focusing on abuse at the Kincora Boys' Home
The inquiry is focusing on abuse at the Kincora Boys' Home

A former resident from Kincora Boys' Home has described being stripped naked and sexually assaulted on his first day at the Belfast facility.

The man, given the cipher HIA199/R3, broke down in tears, after telling the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry, how he was singled out and abused over four years.

He said: "When I came to Kincora was an an innocent 14-year-old boy.

"I never had a sex education and this is what I had to deal with for four years."

The witness, who spent his entire childhood in care, had three separate stints at Kincora during the 1960s and 1970s.

He left shortly after turning 18.

On the day he was admitted from Purdysburn Hospital, he recalled being taken into a bathroom and assaulted by warden Joseph Mains during what was supposed to be a medical examination, the HIA was told.

"The first thing he did to me was he took me into that bathroom, he stripped me naked, made a comment about my private parts and started to fondle me," he said.

"That was on my first day at 14."

There was systemic abuse with rewards and violent punishments such as being punched in the stomach or slapped in the face if he did not perform, it was claimed.

He added: "The punishment was cleverly worked out so that there would not be any bruising.

"It was done in private, in his office. It wouldn't happen very often but it would be often enough to remind me of the consequences if I did not perform."

The boy, who considered Kincora the only home he ever had, was threatened with borstal and feared speaking out because of Mains' influential friends, it emerged.

Mains later pleaded guilty to two counts of sex abuse against the boy.

It has long been alleged that a high ranking paedophile ring preyed on vulnerable boys at Kincora during the 1970s.

It is further claimed that the UK security services knew about the abuse but did nothing, instead using the information to blackmail the prominent people such as politicians, judges, civil servants and police officers who were the perpetrators.

In 1980, Mains and two other senior care workers Raymond Semple and William McGrath were convicted for abusing boys at Kincora during the 1970s.

It was widely believed McGrath, who had links to a shadowy Protestant paramilitary organisation, was working as an MI5 agent.

HIA199/R3 said he had no knowledge of any vice ring or of boys being taken elsewhere to be prostituted.

The witness said he was glad to have the opportunity to speak out.

"For 55 years I have had this hanging on my head," he said.

"No one believed me. I am just so glad for this committee, at last, to listen to the truth of what happened at Kincora."

The HIA was set up by the Northern Ireland Executive in 2013 and has been examining allegations of physical, emotional and sexual abuse at state and church-run residential institutions between 1922 and 1995.

It is chaired by retired High Court judge Sir Anthony Hart, sitting alongside Geraldine Doherty, a former head of the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work in Scotland, and David Lane, who was director of social services in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

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