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Teacher convicted of sexual abuse tells inquiry he let boys sleep in his room

Paul Kelly, 66, who worked at St Ninian’s School in Falkland, Fife, gave evidence via video link from Dumfries Prison.

Lady Smith, the chairwoman of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (Nick Mailer/PA)
Lady Smith, the chairwoman of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (Nick Mailer/PA)

A teacher convicted of sexually abusing boys at a school run by a religious order has told a child abuse inquiry he let boys sleep overnight in his room.

Paul Kelly also recalled how he hit a boy with a strap while he was working as a teacher and housemaster at St Ninian’s School in Falkland, Fife, which was run by the Christian Brothers.

Kelly, 66, was jailed for 10 years in 2016 after he was convicted of four counts of indecent assault and two assault charges while working at the school.

Lord Matthews described his actions as “grossly corrupt”.

Giving evidence via video link from Dumfries prison, he told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in Edinburgh that he maintains his innocence and is taking his case to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Lady Smith told Kelly he had the right not to incriminate himself and could choose not to answer questions at the inquiry on Thursday.

Kelly, who worked at the home from August or September 1979 until it closed in July 1983, told how on one occasion he hit a boy with a strap, which was kept in another member of staff’s drawer.

He said he decided to punish him as the pupil had hit another boy with a corner flag after a sports session, leaving the child with cuts to his chest.

The religious brother also said he let boys sleep overnight in his room while he was in charge of the junior dormitories.

He said the practice was started by the previous brother in charge because one of the boys was afraid of the dark.

I thought I was being helpful, It didn't bother me because all I did was sleep in the bed Paul Kelly

Colin Macauley, senior counsel to the inquiry, said: “You have told us that you did have boys in your room sleeping overnight.”

Kelly replied: “Boys on the floor from time to time, they chose if they slept on the floor or not.

“I’m making clear to people that they slept on the floor of the room.”

He said there could be up to four or five boys sleeping on the floor.

The witness added: “I thought I was being helpful, it didn’t bother me because all I did was sleep in the bed.

“As long as people behaved they were allowed to stay on the floor of the room.”

Mr Macauley also asked about evidence given by a witness earlier in the inquiry who claimed Kelly had touched his private parts under his pyjamas.

Kelly replied: “That did not happen.”

The inquiry heard Kelly was convicted of charges including sexual abuse that involved boys being involved in sex acts together and boys being compelled to carry out sex acts on other children.

Kelly said: “That is what was said at the trial but I again deny that.”

Lady Smith said: “Do you recall that the trial judge described the charges of which you were convicted as being grossly corrupt?”

He replied: “Yes.”

The inquiry, before Lady Smith, continues.

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