Police investigate allegations of sex abuse at Catholic boarding school

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Police are investigating allegations of abuse at a Catholic boarding school in the Scottish Highlands, following complaints of a brutal regime in which boys were physically beaten, psychologically tortured and sexually assaulted. The school closed in 1993.


Officers from Police Scotland will travel to Newcastle tomorrow to interview Andrew Lavery, 41, who for two years in the 1980s attended the fee-paying Fort Augustus Abbey, which was run by Benedictine monks. "It was systematic, brutal, awful torture," says Lavery, who says he was beaten, sexually assaulted and isolated in a locked room for days on end under "special measures". He added: "The psychological torture was the most damaging. In the end I wanted to kill myself."

Lavery claims he was beaten unconscious by a monk and lay master while pupils watched, then left at the playing fields to crawl back to school. He also says he experienced "greying", which involved other pupils pinning the victim's legs apart while his testicles were hit with a hockey stick. A monk watched without intervening. "I have had pain in my left testicle all my life," he said.

Lavery also accuses Monk A, now a cleric in England, of physically beating and sexually assaulting him. He will tell police that when he broke his leg Monk A took advantage of his vulnerability and tried to grab his testicles. "I told him to leave me when I went to the toilet, but he was standing over me. He said, 'No, you need a hand.' I heard all his heavy breathing behind me. It was the wrong sort of breathing to hear in your life. He was fumbling and I was screaming at him to get off."

Monk A is also accused of selling alcohol to underage pupils. When contacted by the Observer, he admitted giving them beer, but said: "I never beat people up and there was certainly never any sexual stuff. I don't know what he's talking about."

Written By: Catherine Deveney
continue to source article at guardian.co.uk

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  1. A more newsworthy story would be a Roman Catholic school that doesn’t abuse children.

    The Roman Catholic church should be treated a criminal organisation, and a Gestapo like raid should hit all of it’s institutions.

  2. In other news, the RCC is supporting rallies in Paris to protect children from possible adoption by single sex couples.

    The entire campaign against marriage for all has focused on their hypocritical “protect the children” argument rather than their basic objection to people having sex that they wouldn’t have if they were allowed to have sex.
    .

  3. The saddest part of this is the utter lack of shock, or even surprise, at the news. It has reached the stage where any Catholic institute is automatically conflated with abuse in my mind. Time this pathetic remnant of European empire was swept away.

  4. news.yahoo.com/australias-top-catholic-cardinal-says-abuse-claims-fallen-071833772.html

    Australia’s top Catholic has been hauled before the royal commission on child sexual abuse.

    He defends the church thusly: “The number of cases dropped significantly since the church started taking stronger action.” You get the feeling any action they are taking is reluctant primarily to get detractors off their backs.

    The Catholics have a problem. The are getting fewer and fewer priest recruits. They can no longer advertise the perk of unlimited sexual access to children, respectability and coverup. Pedophiles no longer want to join the clergy. It is not the closet it once was. It offers not the access it once did. And everyone who signs up is a presumed pervert.

    The tougher the Catholic administration are on the pedophiles the fewer recruits. The more they coddle them, the more the church loses credibility. They can’t win. They are almost wiped out in Ireland. Who wants to go to a church where the people running it are under indictments for child abuse? It reflects on you. The Catholic church will bleed to other churches, not necessarily leave the church altogether. But then the other churches have their own different cons running which could be exceptionally malodorous to Catholics. This is not a good time for Christianity. It is a matter of chickens coming home to roost. Further the church is no longer a sensible sanctuary for gay men. They can have a much more enjoyable life out of the closet.

    • Like all the other commenters on this thread, and numerous others on a similar theme, I too am outraged and appalled when I hear revelations like this. That’s because I am appalled and horrified by all child sexual abuse whatever the setting and whoever the perpetrators. But for some reason this website only highlights cases (alleged or proven) within the setting of the Catholic Church, or occasionally other churches. I look in vain on this site for equally vehement displays of outrage at, for example, the recent child sex rings in Rochdale or Oxford, the systematic and institutional abuse at care homes, abuse by public figures and BBC celebrities etc etc. Why is that? If you are concerned about child sex abuse, as I am sure you all are, then why not condemn it wherever it takes place? Or are you just more concerned about vilifying the Catholic Church? Just to provide some context for my comments, in 2011 there were 23,000 reported cases of child sex abuse in UK, the majority committed within families by brothers, fathers and other relatives. Over the same period there were 19 allegations (not necessarily proven) against priests in this country and 49 against all church personnel. If proven true, every one of those cases is utterly inexcusable, but nevertheless they represent a minute fraction of the total. And given that the Church-related cases featured in reports like this one almost invariably date back some decades, these figures do seem to vindicate the Church’s claim that it now has in place rigorous safeguarding procedures. So I’m not trying to excuse what went on in the past, but appealing to the rational minded people using this site to exercise a bit of balance.

      • In reply to #11 by Trent:

        Like all the other commenters on this thread, and numerous others on a similar theme, I too am outraged and appalled when I hear revelations like this. That’s because I am appalled and horrified by all child sexual abuse whatever the setting and whoever the perpetrators. But for some reason this w…

        I’m unaware of any other sovereign theocracy, with the power of diplomatic immunity no less, having a global policy to protect the jobs of pedophiles. It’s clear from the Irish reports that the Vatican’s directive to place Rome first and not the abused was a universal policy.

        As such, the Catholic Church is unlike any other perpetrator of sexual crimes against youngsters on the planet. Attempts, like yours, to find so-called balance with extra-Catholic criminal exploits, are difficult to take seriously.

        Mike

      • In reply to #11 by Trent:

        Over the same period there were 19 allegations (not necessarily proven) against priests in this country and 49 against all church personnel. If proven true, every one of those cases is utterly inexcusable, but nevertheless they represent a minute fraction of the total.

        The same claim could have been made in the past while the crimes were hidden and covered up!

        And given that the Church-related cases featured in reports like this one almost invariably date back some decades, these figures do seem to vindicate the Church’s claim that it now has in place rigorous safeguarding procedures.

        Not really! The fact that the cover-ups have kept them hidden for so long does not give merit or credibility, to present RCC claims.

        So I’m not trying to excuse what went on in the past, but appealing to the rational minded people using this site to exercise a bit of balance.

        Balance is a position between evidenced claims of equal merit ! !

        Rational minded people have seen claims for false “balance” before, but while the tirade of lame excuses has been spouting from priests and apologists in recent years , perpetrators are still being given sanctuary in the Vatican, while ironic claims of a clean-up are being made!

        It is only because the secular authorities around the world have forced a clean-up that any action is being taken against paedophile priests at all!

        While they could be anonymously moved around in secret, they were.

        In a school where I was a governor, a paedophile teacher was sacked as soon as discovered BEFORE being convicted by a court! Not as in the case of the RCC moved out of the jurisdiction of the local court to protect them and the church from the scandal of prosecution and conviction!

        That is the difference between a reputable employer dealing with children and the RCC.

        • In reply to #16 by Alan4discussion:

          In a school where I was a governor, a paedophile teacher was sacked as soon as discovered BEFORE being convicted by a court! Not as in the case of the RCC moved out of the jurisdiction of the local court to protect them and the church from the scandal of prosecution and conviction!

          Whereas the correct procedure would have been suspension and removal from contact with children until convicted by a court. Although the need to protect children in such cases is paramount, the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” still applies.

          • In reply to #17 by Trent:

            In reply to #16 by Alan4discussion:

            In a school where I was a governor, a paedophile teacher was sacked as soon as discovered BEFORE being convicted by a court! Not as in the case of the RCC moved out of the jurisdiction of the local court to protect them and the church from the scandal of prosecution and conviction!

            Whereas the correct procedure would have been suspension and removal from contact with children until convicted by a court. Although the need to protect children in such cases is paramount, the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” still applies.

            I see like the RCC, you have the theist skills of ducking the serious issues and making up laws to suit your biases!

            The “correct procedure”, was followed.

            A disciplinary hearing was conducted in accordance with national legal requirements, where an admission of guilt was made – followed by dismissal. A brief period of suspension had been in place to protect children prior to the hearing.

            The conviction by the court followed some weeks later.

            You see I actually read the documents on the legal requirements and listened to legal advice – as would be expected of a disciplinary panel chairman.

          • In reply to #23 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #17 by Trent:
            A disciplinary hearing was conducted in accordance with national legal requirements, where an admission of guilt was made – followed by dismissal. A brief period of suspension had been in place to protect children prior to the hearing.

            Well then correct procedure was followed, as I described it in my earlier reply. Your previous posting said nothing about an admission of guilt, merely that the teacher was sacked before being convicted by the court.

          • In reply to #24 by Trent:

            In reply to #23 by Alan4discussion:

            • A disciplinary hearing was conducted in accordance with national legal requirements, where an admission of guilt was made – followed by dismissal. A brief period of suspension had been in place to protect children prior to the hearing.

            Well then correct procedure was followed, as I described it in my earlier reply.

            That was not what your previous reply said:-

            Trent: – “Whereas the correct procedure would have been suspension and removal from contact with children until convicted by a court.

            Your previous reply implied that employers have no responsibility for the conduct and the discipline of their employees, and they should leave sanctions to the courts.

            This seems to be in line with the “faith-thinking” of the Vatican” where responsibility is abdicated, and offenders are “presumed innocent until proved guilty by a court”. – Continuing to “innocently”molest children in new locations, where they have been moved out of the jurisdiction of the court, before a conviction could be secured!

            Your previous posting said nothing about an admission of guilt, merely that the teacher was sacked before being convicted by the court.

            Admission of guilt was not necessary. Conclusive evidence of guilt at the disciplinary hearing was all that was needed. That is the difference between evidence based thinking, and apologist biased defence of misconduct. Employers have a responsibility to ensure that only fit and proper persons are entrusted with the welfare of children, and quite properly dismiss for gross misconduct, those who abuse their positions of trust. The courts decide separately on criminal prosecutions, or civil claims.

            That is the difference between those who look at the conduct concerned, and those who see if offenders are members of their religious organisation as a basis for biased judgement.

          • In reply to #19 by Trent:

            In reply to #16 by Alan4discussion:

            perpetrators are still being given sanctuary in the Vatican

            Presumably you have documented proof to back up this statement? Which perpetrators are being given sanctuary?

            Well there is an issue with Cardinal law who had several Grand Juries deciding whether or not he should be personally charged with Child endangerment or conspiracy to pervert justice, when he skipped to the Vatican. Still there, has just actively retired after holding a heap of high ranking positions. He resigned from his position in Boston only after arriving in the Vatican. While no one is suggesting he actually abused children he was covering it up and refusing to supply evidence to the actual legal authorities.

            I must assume, given that some areas reported 5% or greater (an order in Australia has been found to have had an abuse rate of greater than 50% and it still operates.) abuse rate by priests and they have been dispatched to other areas with Vatican acceptance. That the Vatican who is aware of these movements could front the knowledge of their current location to legal authorities but doesn’t. They also only appear to be helping authorities in nations where it has exploded into decade long scandals, most of Latin America and Africa is still silent on the issue, but it is almost certain there are big problems there as well. If the RCC was truly for justice they would be cleaning house everywhere not just where they have been caught out.

          • In reply to #19 by Trent:

            In reply to #16 by Alan4discussion:

            perpetrators are still being given sanctuary in the Vatican

            Presumably you have documented proof to back up this statement? Which perpetrators are being given sanctuary?

            Perhaps you could take off your RCC blinkers and develop some Googling skills? The information is all over the place, in press reports, and legal documents! They cover-up until courts force them to release documents and then use Vatican diplomatic immunity to hide what evidence they can!

            http://www.vaticancrimes.us/2013/02/pope-promotes-laws-to-protect-pedophile.html
            >
            LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – Archdiocese of Los Angeles – the largest archdiocese in the United States – boasting over 5 million members in a 120 city area – has just been ordered by the courts to release 12,000 documents that prove paedophilia in the Catholic Church and the cover up of abusive priests. But this archdiocese, being merely a branch of the worldwide company known as the “Catholic Church” and its famous World Headquarters in Rome , why is the President, the Leader of this global organization, not being questioned? After all, it is the VERY POPE himself who has implemented a worldwide law to cover up pedophilia.

            Let’s look at the facts:

            • In May 18, 2001 then-Cardinal JOSEPH RATZINGER, director of the office that oversees the catholic DOCTRINE (Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, formerly INQUISITION) at that time, sent an official Vatican letter to ALL CARDINALS, entitled “De Delictis Gravoribus” [Meaning: "On more serious crimes"].This document dealt with official Vatican procedures for all bishops to follow in dealing with clerical sex abuse cases.

            • As a footnote, he indicated: TOP SECRET 1962 Vatican Document,”Crimens Sollicitiationis”

            • According to Ratzinger’s letter, the roles “of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests.” In other words, criminals investigating criminals.

            No independent records or outside police investigators!
            >
            - In 2005, Joseph Ratzinger – the current “Pope”, was accused of OBSTRUCTING THE LAW to cover-up the sexual abuse of 3 minors in the Court of Houston, Texas because the Official letter he sent in 2001 implies that all reports, documents, etc. on sexual abuses must be sent to the Vatican and dealt with internally. That’s the Official Vatican procedure. (Priest reports to bishop, bishop reports to Cardinal, Cardinal reports to Vatican Ambassador [Nuncio] and Nuncio to the Pope)
            >

            So, what ever happened to abiding by the local country’s laws? Why when it comes to priests aren’t the local authorities part?

            • Later, in 2005 Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope and asked then-President George W. Bush for immunity against the legal suit in Houston, now that he became President of the country known as “The Holy See (Vatican)”. Immunity was granted.

            So, in regards to the Los Angeles Catholic Church scandal that surfaced this month, the bottom line is: Why aren’t The Vatican’s embassies in the U.S. being shut down? How come USA is still “Friends” with The Holy See when it’s President, Pope Benedict XVI, promotes laws in which child abusive priests are to be protected?

            There are similar cases all over the world.

            Catholic sex abuse cases

            Cases have also been brought against members of the Catholic hierarchy who did not report sex abuse allegations to the legal authorities. It has been shown they deliberately moved sexually abusive priests to other parishes where the abuse sometimes continued.[4] This has led to a number of fraud cases where the Church has been accused of misleading victims by deliberately relocating priests accused of abuse instead of removing them from their positions.

            The results made public in 2004 showed that even after the public outcry, priests were moved out of the countries where they had been accused and were still in “settings that bring them into contact with children, despite church claims to the contrary.“[1] Among the investigation’s findings is that nearly half of 200 cases “involved clergy who tried to elude law enforcement.

          • In reply to #22 by Alan4discussion:

            Perhaps you could take off your RCC blinkers and develop some Googling skills? The information is all over the place, in press reports, and legal documents!

            Googling skills need to include that of judging the accuracy and validity of what you find. A website called vaticancrimes.us would not suggest a great deal of objectivity in its content, and if the paragraphs you have quoted are typical, they are so full of the usual recycled inaccuracies, distortions and fictions that one scarcely knows where to begin refuting them. But even so, nothing of what you quoted there indicates that “perpetrators are being given sanctuary in the Vatican”

          • In reply to #25 by Trent:

            In reply to #22 by Alan4discussion:

            Perhaps you could take off your RCC blinkers and develop some Googling skills? The information is all over the place, in press reports, and legal documents!

            Googling skills need to include that of judging the accuracy and validity of what you find.

            Yep! That is precisely the twisted judgement the the bias-blinkers provide. (Won’t believe that nasty stuff about my nice priests and won’t look at the official documents which are quoted!) – Can’t even follow the links on Wiki!

            A website called vaticancrimes.us would not suggest a great deal of objectivity in its content, and if the paragraphs you have quoted are typical, they are so full of the usual recycled inaccuracies, distortions and fictions that one scarcely knows where to begin refuting them.

            You only have your RCC blinkers and your personal biases as a basis for that claim. There are multiple references to official documents available.

            Or … more accurately – they contradict the disingenuous denials of the RCC hierarchy!

            But even so, nothing of what you quoted there indicates that “perpetrators are being given sanctuary in the Vatican”

            You couldn’t find the objective records for yourself ????? I suppose the lack of a will to critically investigate, is no surprise in those with apologist views!

            http://blog.skepticallibertarian.com/2013/02/12/the-sins-of-the-father-pope-benedicts-pedophile-protection-racket/

            Consider the symbol of the scandal, Cardinal Bernard Law. Law presided over the rape of hundreds of children at the Boston archdiocese, which had already secretly settled at least 70 cases of rape (many were never made public) by 2002. It was the Boston Globe’s excellent reporting in 2002 that finally exposed the Church’s systematic cover-up and many other cases of abuse. He knew that one priest was raping boys since 1980 and still permitted transfer after transfer to avoid detection. In another case, he misled the San Bernardino diocese in order to transfer a known pedophile there. Ratzinger and his boss, John Paul II, harbored him in the Vatican, appointing him to head a basilica there in 2004, as calls for his arrest for obstruction of justice mounted .

            As Archbishop in Germany in 1980, Ratzinger approved “therapy” and relocation—the standard protocol during his reign as head of the cover-up efforts—for a pedophile priest who may have raped as many as 100 children. The Church initially tried to throw all the blame on a Ratzinger underling for the move, but confidential memos proved that his office was involved, and that he had presided over the therapy decision at a meeting in January 1980. He claims that he was not aware of the memo or the problem, and that it all happened without his knowledge, but Ratzinger’s micromanagement style doesn’t seem to align with that assessment. Plus, according to Vatican scholars, it was established Church protocol to not transfer a “problem priest” without Archbishop approval.

            In 1982, Ratzinger—now in charge of the Church’s internal investigations for “confessional rape”—received a letter notifying him of the sexual crimes of Father Stephen Kiesle. Kiesle was already suspended and wanted to be defrocked, but Ratzinger failed to respond for three years before replying to his defrocking request. In a letter to the Bishop, he wrote that the crimes were of “grave significance,” but he should “consider the good of the Universal Church” and the priest’s “particularly … young age” of 38—never mind the young ages of the 11 and 13-year-old children he raped. Kiesle, whose early record was expunged by law enforcement, was eventually defrocked, and then continued his career as a rapist for the next couple decades.

            As Roedy points out @27, there is a significant difference between “crime”, and “organised crime”!

      • Yes Trent, there are other sex crimes going on that aren’t sanctioned by the catholics and other theists but are there any sex crimes committed by a group that represents it’s self as the savior of your soul and the keeper of the gates to an eternal afterlife?

        These people have put themselves at the top of the moral pile but aren’t fit to be crushed to death by irony under it, perhaps that’s one of the salient aggravating factors? There is certainly no one but themselves to blame nor any reason to change the subject.

        If your defense when caught abusing children is “look there are many more doing it, why don’t you go investigate them?” You’ve lost already but that’s not what happened, it was far worse – they were in a position of trust. Would you defend a school board for similar actions as you have for the catholic church or would you hold them to the same standards that you hold non-affiliated perverts?

        This is not the same as your neighbourhood pervert committing the same acts it is far worse.

        In reply to #11 by Trent:

        Like all the other commenters on this thread, and numerous others on a similar theme, I too am outraged and appalled when I hear revelations like this. That’s because I am appalled and horrified by all child sexual abuse whatever the setting and whoever the perpetrators. But for some reason this w…

      • In reply to #11 by Trent:

        But for some reason this website only highlights cases (alleged or proven) within the setting of the Catholic Church

        Put succinctly, organised crime is more of a scourge than sporadic crime. But here is another reason, RDF has a specific set of official topics. Mistreatment of gays and children are not among them. Bad things religion makes people do is.

        I think you will find the press get quite outraged when kids are sexually abused on an industrial scale no matter who is doing it.

      • In reply to #11 by Trent:

        Like all the other commenters on this thread, and numerous others on a similar theme, I too am outraged and appalled when I hear revelations like this. That’s because I am appalled and horrified by all child sexual abuse whatever the setting and whoever the perpetrators.

        Obviously it is more serious where there is an institutionalised cover-up. Where organisations take it seriously deal with it rigorously themselves it is less of a scandal.

        But for some reason this website only highlights cases (alleged or proven) within the setting of the Catholic Church, or occasionally other churches.

        Not at all!

        Why is that? If you are concerned about child sex abuse, as I am sure you all are, then why not condemn it wherever it takes place? Or are you just more concerned about vilifying the Catholic Church?

        I think that is just your defensive RCC view.

        This site has dealt with many other aspects of child abuse – such as this current one: -

        http://www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/5/21/dr-congo-s-withcraft-epidemic-50-000-children-accused-of-sorcery#

        Lancshoop – RDF has a specific set of official topics. Mistreatment of gays and children are not among them.

        Really??? :-

        http://www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/4/30/gay-teens-starved-tortured-killed-at-camp-to-turn-them-into-men#

        Or this one:- http://www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/4/22/afghan-girls-school-poisoning-74-girls-poisoned-in-suspected-taliban-gas-attack#

  5. Cardinal Pell says he thinks there are several factors that could contribute to the high levels of abuse seen in the Victorian Catholic Church.

    Priests’ celibacy and the <b>high number of children </b> being dealt with by the institution are both factors, he said.

    So how does that work ? I can see more priest maybe meaning more cases but more children ? More chance of finding a child that wants to be raped ??

    Michael

  6. I used to experience an aesthetic mental reward when I’d look at such religious architecture in the UK. Now a feeling of dread pushes into my view when I consider how many children went to bed trembling behind those castle-like walls. I know it’s irrational and unfair and my discomfort is absolutely nothing like the abused, but right now looking at that picture makes me sick.

    Mike

  7. This is happening over and over its almost not surprising anymore, there are increasing numbers of victims of religious predators – so two- faced and supposedly trusted in society…. but I’d never let my kids near religious places like that – i’ve never trusted people who lie about the very reason for their self imposed power and certainly not with my precious children. But hose parents who do belong to the religions have put their kids into these places knowing what has been happened over and over in the last decade…..now they need to boycott religion in droves… as more stories surface of abusive, bullying and lying priests or nuns who are supposed to be protecting kids not preying on them….I hope the victims get justice and criminals get jailed and maybe religious boarding schools should be shut down

  8. Trent @ 11 and Seconding Sample @ 13

    ” If proven true, every one of those cases is utterly inexcusable, but nevertheless they represent a minute fraction of the total. And given that the Church-related cases featured in reports like this one almost invariably date back some decades, these figures do seem to vindicate the Church’s claim that it now has in place rigorous safeguarding procedures. So I’m not trying to excuse what went on in the past, but appealing to the rational minded people using this site to exercise a bit of balance.”

    Comparing allegations for 2011 between the RCC and ‘the rest’ cuts no ice here. When will Canon Law courts open their records to formal Judicial Criminal Enquiries across the world? The secrecy which continues to characterise all dealings of the church with clerical abuse of minors leaves open the questions of ‘how many cases are there and for how long has this been going on’? The reason allegations date back decades is because the church has concealed every occurrence as a matter of official secrecy, and continues to do so. There has been no demonstration of changes to that culture and we are asked to trust them over the ‘rigorous safeguarding procedures’. Are those procedures perhaps best described as ‘ evasion of future detection’ ? The Roman Catholic Church remains as transparent as lead, and equally toxic.

    Even where a statute of limitation applies reported allegations are likely to be the tip of an iceberg of titanic proportions. If not, then why haven’t they cut their losses and opened up the files? Guilty of worse or fools?

    • In reply to #14 by Geoff 21:

      The reason allegations date back decades is because the church has concealed every occurrence as a matter of official secrecy, and continues to do so

      And what then is the reason that similar historic cases are only now coming to light in care homes and the BBC, to give two examples. Did they also have a policy of “official secrecy” is it more to do with a cultural shift across the whole of society in relation to offences of this sort?

  9. Sadly this follows an all too familiar pattern, decades of sexual abuse followed by authorities coming up with the usual excuses for failing to act – sexual abuse of children was not seen as a serious crime then and we could not come to terms with what was being done to the children and as always the bottom line is that the catholic church was more interested in protecting its so called good name than saving the children from these evil bastards.

  10. Ok dont know whats happening but my link does not appear to be working (odd as I am watching it now) so if you go to the page and enter Mea maxima Culpa into the search engine it works fine or you can go straight to the Google page and follow their link. You just need to scroll down to the Disclose tv link.

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