Children suffered horrific abuse at the hands of 'sadistic monks'

(Photo: Colin Wilson)

Some of the monks in charge of children at two Catholic-run schools in Scotland were "serial sexual predators", an inquiry has found.

On Wednesday, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry published Lady Smith's findings into residential care institutions run by Benedictine monks at Fort Augustus Abbey on the shores of Loch Ness between 1948 and 1991.

Lady Smith concluded that the children in their care suffered sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

Tragically, the monks worked between Fort Augustus Abbey School and another school, Carlekemp, in North Berwick, where they abused more children.

"Children were sexually abused at both schools. A number of monks were serial sexual predators and, because of the movement of monks between Fort Augustus and Carlekemp, they were able to target victims at both schools," she said.

"Children were cruelly beaten by sadistic monks at both schools, and some beatings had sexual overtones.

"Children were humiliated and punished inappropriately and excessively."

Lady Smith said that even when children had reported the abuse to authority figures or their own parents, virtually nothing was done to put a stop to it.

"Some children complained to monks in positions of responsibility about being abused. They received either non‑existent or inadequate responses," said Lady Smith.

"Knowing that they would not be believed, other children refrained from complaining about abuse. Complaints made to devout‑Catholic parents were rejected because they would not accept it was possible that Catholic monks would abuse children.

"The emotional scars caused by the trauma associated with sexual abuse, physical violence, and the denigration of children, were, for some, long‑lasting and debilitating, blighting their adult lives."

It was reported last month that a former monk at the Fort Augustus school would be deported back to his native Australia.

Fr Denis Alexander, 85, pleaded guilty to two charges of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices against two boys between 1973 and 1976.

He was sentenced to four years and five months in prison but his sentence was backdated to 2017, meaning it has been served.