Following the BBC1 Scotland documentary regarding allegations of abuse at the Fort Augustus boarding school that aired on 29th July police have launched an official inquiry.
Dozens of former pupils of the exclusive fee-paying Roman Catholic boarding school in the Highlands have alleged they were sexually and physically abused by monks, one of whom is said to have raped at least five boys.
In total nine Benedictine monks who taught at the school, which closed in 1993, have been accused of a brutal regime that involved sexually assaulting, verbally abusing, psychologically torturing and violently beating the boys in their care on a regular basis over several decades.
According to the BBC five former pupils reported the abuse of one Father, who was a monk teaching at the school, to the headteacher but their claims of rape and sexual abuse were ignored and rejected.
The Benedictines are also accused of using the school as a means of keeping priests who had caused problems out of the parishes. It has been alleged that the priests were placed at the school after being removed from the parishes due to being accused of abusing children. This transfer provided a cover up for the abuse.
The allegations broadcast on the documentary Sins of the Fathers are now being investigated by Police Scotland and are the latest in a series of allegations against priests and other senior figures linked to the Scottish church.
Along with the official police investigation senior figures in the Benedictine religious order are planning an internal inquiry into the allegations once the police inquiry is complete. Dom Richard Yeo, the head of the UK’s largest Benedictine group of congregations, has been contacted by detectives from Police Scotland over the allegations listed in the documentary.
He is also liaising with senior figures in the Scottish Catholic safeguarding office, an agency of the church which oversees child protection policy within the church, and added that he was involved because as head of the Benedictines there was no one else for the alleged victims to turn to as the former school was an independent monastery.
Christine Sands, our head of Personal Injury said; “This story highlights the urgent need for a change in the law to force schools, sporting bodies and any organisations that come into regular contact with children to report all incidents and allegations of abuse within its organisation. Without this change, cultures similar to those in Fort Augustus will continue to flourish. Jordan solicitors support the association of child abuse lawyers (ACAL) campaign to make it a criminal offence to fail to report such circumstances; a change which will only bring England and Wales in line with most Commonwealth and Scandinavian countries along with USA, Spain and most recently the Republic of Ireland where already reporting is mandatory”.