Ex-pupils allege they were raped and abused by monks at schools in Scotland

Men tell BBC documentary they suffered sexual and physical assaults while at two exclusive schools which have since closed

The Guardian, UK/July 29, 2013

By Severin Carrell

Dozens of pupils at exclusive Roman Catholic boarding schools in Scotland have alleged they were sexually and physically abused by monks, one of whom allegedly raped at least five boys.

Nine Benedictine monks who taught at the Fort Augustus Abbey school in the Highlands and its preparatory school in East Lothian have been accused of repeatedly beating, sexually assaulting and verbally abusing boys in their care over several decades.

One monk, Father Aidan Duggan, who taught at Fort Augustus and Carlkemp prep school, which both closed in the 1990s, was accused by five ex-pupils of raping and sexually abusing them, but they claim their allegations were ignored and rejected by two headteachers, according to the BBC.

Duggan, an Australian, died in 2004 after returning to become a parish priest in Sydney.

Another priest, Father Chrysostom Alexander, now 77, is also alleged to have abused one pupil at the Fort Augustus school in the 1970s.

Alexander, also an Australian, returned to work in Sydney and has now been suspended by the Catholic church after he was challenged about the allegations by a BBC journalist. Alexander did not respond to the allegations.

The allegations, in a BBC documentary Sins of the Fathers, broadcast on BBC1 Scotland on Monday, are now being investigated by Police Scotland in the latest in a series of scandals about abuse by priests and misconduct by senior figures within the Scottish church.

The church endured its most serious crisis for decades earlier this year after Scotland's most senior Catholic, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, was forced to resign and retire early in disgrace after he admitted having had affairs and sexual encounters with several priests.

According to the BBC two brothers who attended Carlkemp, Christopher and David Walls, also alleged that Duggan had groomed them.

David Walls said Duggan had been bullying and oppressive in class but then when Walls was 11, Duggan became much friendlier and began being physically intimate.

Walls recalls being made by Duggan to sit on his bed during recorder-playing practice, and has memory blanks about what happened next.

"Why would somebody treat you horrendously and then for no reason, all of a sudden, start cuddling you and kissing you?," Walls said.

"At the same time, it was a relief that you weren't on the receiving end of unpleasantness.

"Because that all stopped; the beatings stopped, the sarcasm and the making a fool of you in public and so on, that all stopped once the cuddling started. And you definitely felt this kind of sense of gratitude, almost."

One former pupil, Donald Macleod, told the documentary that Duggan had effectively groomed him before raping him when he was 14.

Macleod tried to raise the alarm but the then headteacher refused to hear about the alleged rape, warning him that lies were a mortal sin.

The BBC documentary alleges the Benedictine authorities failed to warn their Australian counterparts about the allegations against Duggan, who continued to abuse in Sydney.

The Benedictines are also accused of using Fort Augustus as a secret "dumping ground" for problem priests who were removed from their parishes after being accused of abusing children.

Their superiors are alleged to have used that transfer to cover up the abuse.

Dom Richard Yeo, the abbot president of the English Congregation of Benedictines, could not be reached for comment but in an interview with the BBC he admitted priests had been moved to Fort Augustus after being accused of attacking children.

"I want to say that I'm very sorry, very sorry about any abuse that may have been committed at Fort Augustus," he said.

"The big problem with Fort Augustus, [is] that the school closed 20 years ago. The monastery closed, what, 15 years ago, and a lot of the people involved are dead.

"Under those circumstances it's going to be very difficult to get answers which are going to satisfy people."

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland confirmed there was an inquiry under way.

"Police Scotland, Highland and Islands Division, are investigating historic reports of alleged abuse from former pupils at Fort Augustus Abbey School," she said.

"This is a live inquiry and it would therefore be inappropriate to provide further comment at present. Any such reports are investigated and dealt with in a victim-centred manner."

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.

Educational DVDs and Videos