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Boy raped after being given alcohol at children’s home, inquiry told

A witness, known as John, said he thought he had been drugged at St Ninian’s in Falkland, Fife, in the 1970s.

The SCAI is chaired by Lady Smith (Nick Mailer/PA)
The SCAI is chaired by Lady Smith (Nick Mailer/PA)

A teenager was given alcohol and raped at a children’s home run by a religious order, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) has heard.

The witness, who is now in his 60s, said he thought he had been drugged as he recounted separate incidents of abuse at St Ninian’s in the 1970s.

The fourth phase of the inquiry in Edinburgh is currently examining the home, which was run by the Christian Brothers in Falkland, Fife.

Somebody told me he had been shipped out back to wherever they go when they get these mad urges Witness, known as John

The SCAI, which was read a written statement from the man, heard he did not see one of the brothers again after one attack.

“Somebody told me he had been shipped out back to wherever they go when they get these mad urges,” he said.

The witness, known by the pseudonym John, was at St Ninian’s in the 1970s and the SCAI heard the abuse happened when he was around the age of 14.

He was unable to attend the inquiry so a statement of his evidence was read to the hearing in Edinburgh by junior counsel Ceit-Anna MacLeod.

It stated: “St Ninian’s was quite a foreboding place, it was quite dark … I thought ‘I’m not going to like it here’. It had a bad atmosphere.”

The statement recalled a time at Christmas when he was with one of the religious brothers, who cannot be identified.

It said: “I was given a can of beer. I can’t remember if I had one can or two. I was sitting in the brothers’ sitting room.

“I went to bed and the next thing I knew I woke up in (the brother’s) bed.

“I think I was drugged … I had a horrendous headache the next day. I thought surely it can’t be like that if you’ve just had one beer?

“I know he definitely raped me because I was bleeding. I was painful, bleeding and confused.”

The hearing was then told of a later incident involving a different individual.

“(The brother) gave me a can of beer and I went to bed,” he said.

“I think they were drugging me. I went to bed and then I got woken by him saying you have to come up, I need to speak to you.

“I was half dazed and I went up. As he was talking I must have drifted off to sleep.

“The next minute I woke up and he was actually raping me. By this time I became aware.

“I was screaming at the top of my head. I kicked him and jumped off the bed.”

The hearing was told another religious brother became aware of the commotion and assured him he would sort things out.

“Somebody told me he had been shipped out back to wherever they go when they get these mad urges,” the witness said, adding it had not crossed his mind to contact police.

Another witness described how he froze as a religious brother crept into his bed to sexually abuse him when he was a teenager.

The man, also known to the inquiry as John, was at St Ninian’s in the 1960s.

The abuse by one individual would take place when he was in bed in the dormitory in the evening, the hearing was told.

His statement read: “He would get in and put his hands inside my pyjamas then touch me … I froze, I just went rigid.”

The witness also described how he would be belted regularly by the same person.

“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?”

Another man, known as Steve, told the inquiry he “got a doing”, involving being pulled, punched and kicked by religious brothers after he tried to run away from St Ninian’s in the 1970s.

The hearing, before Lady Smith, continues on Thursday.

PA

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