Abuse allegations: Catholic Church in Scotland response
- 8 March 2013
- From the section Scotland
The BBC has seen evidence that bishops in the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland knew of 20 allegations of child sex abuse by priests between 1985 and 1995. In the mid-1990s, academic Alan Draper was appointed to advise the Church on sexual abuse and how to respond to it. The BBC has seen the letters which they sent in reply to Mr Draper. The BBC has also spoken to a man called Chris, who claims he was abused by a priest from the age of nine or 10 until he was into his early teens, in the 90s. Here is the Church's response to the allegations:
The Catholic Church has had nationally agreed guidelines on the protection of children and vulnerable adults since 1999.
In this regard the Church was two years ahead of the Nolan Commission in England and Wales, which reported in 2001.
All allegations are notified to the police. The Church recognises that the statutory authorities are the responsible bodies for investigation.
All necessary steps are taken to remove anyone in danger from situations of risk.
Mr Draper was involved at an early stage in the development of policies and procedures but was replaced when others with greater competence were engaged.
In 2003, as well as existing Diocesan protection staff, the Church appointed a national director of child protection. Ten years later that post, now titled national co-ordinator, remains a key part of our safeguarding structures.
The number of annually reported incidents in Scotland have been small since we began to audit and have only very rarely involved a member of the clergy.
Where a report is made the matter is passed on to the police for further investigation, and we consider it is the responsibility of the police and the prosecuting authorities to record incidents of criminal behaviour.
The case you have highlighted was handled in complete accordance with the guidelines.
As soon as the complaint was reported, the police were informed, the priest concerned was removed from his parish and after they investigated the police passed a report to the fiscal, who took no further action.
The Church sent its file to the Vatican in July last year and now awaits a decision.
The priest has not been in ministry or allowed to celebrate public Masses or sacraments since he was removed from his parish.