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Boys raped by priests at drink-fuelled sex parties, inquiry hears

Dave Sharp says his time at St Ninian’s in Falkland, Fife, left him with ‘lifelong trauma’.

Dave Sharp outside the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (Conor Riordan/PA)
Dave Sharp outside the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (Conor Riordan/PA)

A child abuse inquiry witness has told how he was raped by priests during “satanic” drink-fuelled sex parties.

Dave Sharp also described a catalogue of sexual, physical and emotional violence at St Ninian’s in Falkland, Fife, between 1971 and 1975, which left him with “lifelong trauma”.

The 60-year-old, of Glasgow, has now urged judge Lady Smith, chairwoman of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, to piece together the “jigsaw” of victims’ accounts and called for a “national discussion” on the subject.

Mr Sharp, who has waived his right to anonymity, was put into care after his mother died when he was aged one, staying in several institutions before going to the Catholic-run care home in Fife.

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Lady Smith is chairing the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (Nick Mailer/PA)

He told how he was groomed by one of the religious brothers, who would tell him he loved him, which “no-one had ever done” before.

The inquiry heard this progressed to the then-12-year-old being raped.

Most of the abuse was said to have taken place in the shower rooms, where the witness would be made to stand in the dark through the night as a punishment.

One occasion came after he had asked about the whereabouts of friend who had disappeared, who he later found out had taken his own life.

Mr Sharp said he was taken to the shower room by the drunken religious brother, tied-up and gagged.

The witness claimed he was hung by a cord, threatened with murder if he spoke out and was then raped.

He added: “It was from that day everything I did was under his complete and utter control.”

It was heard “two or three” boys were trafficked around Scotland and Ireland at a time to be used in drink-fuelled sex parties, which he described as “satanic”.

The inquiry was told they were taken to clothes shops before being taken to houses to be drugged and tied-up by “really drunk men”.

Mr Sharp said they were forced to undress in a red room then raped, while other men performed sex acts on themselves.

One occasion in Ireland was said to have involved 10 men taking turns to rape the boys.

It was heard priests were among those involved and incidents took place over the duration of his time at St Ninian’s, which was run by religious order the Christian Brothers.

He left the home aged 16 without “any other memory other than than continually being abused”.

It was then he found out he had a family but he did not settle and became dependent on drugs and alcohol.

He struggled with a “£100-a-day” habit for up to 25 years and attempted to kill himself on numerous occasions, also sleeping on the streets around Northampton in the East Midlands.

Mr Sharp was married for five weeks during this period, until his wife died of natural causes.

This led to him having a “breakdown” and he was taken into hospital care, where he found religion and decided to “turn his life around”.

Mr Sharp told the Press Association: “What we need now is we need to have a national discussion about how we deal with historical child abuse and how we treat survivors.

“Over the last 50 years, between 60% and 75% of people who are or were homeless, or who are or were in addiction, were abused in childhood.

People are coming out of care, people are also coming out of family environments and there's actually nowhere where people can go to get the help they need David Sharp

“Many of these people take their abuse to the grave because there’s nowhere to turn.

“We know for a fact people are dying on a regular basis who are taking their abuse to the grave.

“The fact of the matter is, since nothing’s being done, the age group is now getting younger.

“People are coming out of care, people are also coming out of family environments and there’s actually nowhere where people can go to get the help they need.

“We need to be now talking, sitting around a table, with professional people and we need to have  a national discussion about how we deal with historical child abuse in this country.”

Meanwhile, another witness described physical and sexual abuse he suffered during his time at the residential institution during the 1970s, while he was in his teens.

It was heard he was raped three times by a religious brother in the shower room, which involved his hair being pulled and having cold water poured over him.

Physical assaults such as being burned with cigarettes continued after these attacks, the witness said.

The inquiry, before Lady Smith, continues on Tuesday.

PA

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