Nuns and former staff at notorious orphanage arrested due to abuse allegations

  • img Harvey Cawdron
  • POSTED ON 24 Aug 2018


More nuns have been reported to prosecutors in a growing police investigation into abuse allegations in a notorious orphanage. 

Yesterday, the Daily Mail reported that police had arrested 12 people, including nuns, at Smyllum Park in Lanark.

Another 4, some of which are also nuns, have now been reported to the Crown Office, with ages ranging between 71 and 93. 

Police Scotland also said that the 12 arrested and charged yesterday were 11 women and 1 man, with ages ranging between 62 and 85.

A force spokesman stated yesterday that 'A further four individuals will be reported today. Inquiries are continuing.’ Claims of historic abuse at the home have come under scrutiny at the ongoing Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI).'

These developments come at a time when SCAI chairman Lady Smith is preparing to release a damning report on Smyllum within the next few weeks. 

Last night, Alan Draper of In Care Abuse Survivors remarked that 'The news today is a vindication of all those survivors who had the courage to come forward. We look forward to a successful prosecution of all those who committed crimes with impunity, in the knowledge that they would be protected by their superiors. Bishops and religious superiors will also have questions to answer for their failures.'

It is believed that those arrested over the last few weeks include nuns and former lay members of staff at the orphanage, which is now closed. 

Some of its former residents have told the SCAI during hearings that the nuns beat them, forced them to eat vomit and ritualistically humiliated them for bed-wetting. 

One discussed satanic abuse and another claimed that a fellow child may have been killed after being left in the rain for 3 hours as punishment. 

According to the Times, the SCAI was told by Anthony Busuttil, a forensic pathologist, that 6-year-old Sammy Carr was underdeveloped and may have been malnourished, and was kicked by a nun 10 days before his death in 1964. It was suggested that the 'trauma' meant he struggled to recover from the infection that killed him.

Another person that used to reside in the orphanage likened the Daughters of Charity, who ran the institution until its closure in 1981, to Nazi concentration camp commandants. 

The Guardian reported that last year, Gregor Rolfe, a lawyer for the Daughters of Charity, informed the SCAI last year that a male former member of staff might have sexually abused children that he took on holidays. These allegations were reported to nuns, who did not pass them on to the police.

A spokesman for the daughters of charity said 'During this period we have publicly urged anyone who believes they have been the victim of a crime to contact the police. We continue to offer our sincere and heartfelt apology to anyone who suffered any form of abuse while at our facilities.' 

Around this time, another investigation is being conducted over claims of abuse involving the Sisters of Nazareth, another Catholic order which the SCAI began probing earlier this year.

The Daily Mail claims to have been told that there is an ongoing police investigation into people associated with the order, which ran homes in Scotland where abuse has been widely reported. 

Andi Lavery of abuse survivors’ group White Flowers Alba stated that 'We welcome today’s news of Police Scotland’s arrests on behalf of the four families we represent from Smyllum Park orphanage.’