Priest abuse claims: 'I struggle every day'

Victim interview One alleged victim told the BBC people had to seek out help

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BBC Scotland has seen evidence that bishops in the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland knew of 20 allegations of child sex abuse by priests from 1985 to 1995.

Another alleged victim of abuse says his life has been ruined.

Start Quote

I genuinely used to wake up every morning believing there was no hope”

End Quote 'Chris'

The man, named by the BBC as "Chris", has encouraged others to speak out.

The Church said all allegations of abuse were passed to the police.

Chris, whose identity is not being published to protect his anonymity, is another who claims he was abused by his local priest.

He was not one of the 20 alleged victims identified in the decade up to 1995.

Chris received help through counselling and through groups which work with people who have been abused. His advice for anyone in the same situation is to find someone who they can talk to.

He said: "There's many people out there that have been abused. Have the strength to speak to somebody and know that there are other people out there like you who are suffering. You're not on your own.

"Speak to your GP, or a friend, someone you trust with that information.

"I think unless I'd found the support network through my counselling, I genuinely used to wake up every morning believing there was no hope. I think that's a big problem.

"We've still got a lot of stigma against mental illness, especially when it's been caused by something like this. People can't talk about it so no-one understands why they're depressed, no-one understands why they do what they do, what their mental thought process is.

"Have the strength to speak to somebody and know that there are other people out there like you who are suffering. You're not on your own."

Sex acts

Chris claims he was abused as a minor and informed the Church in 2012.

He said: "He would get me to perform sexual acts on him, and he would perform sexual acts on me - away from the family home, in the family home, in the church, in their vehicle.

"There's many people out there that have been abused, personally, it's a way of being able to admit that it did happen to me and it wasn't my fault, because that's something I struggle with every day.

"But also to try and give hope to people that have been abused - don't be scared, there's help out there for you."

Safeguards

In May 2011 Pope Benedict issued guidelines telling bishops around the world they had a duty to promptly report all allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests to local police.

A spokesman for the Church said this case of Chris "was handled in complete accordance with the guidelines".

He added: "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 procurator fiscal, who took no further action. The Church sent its file to the Vatican in July last year and now awaits a decision."

The Church also pointed out it has, since 1999, had nationally agreed guidelines on the protection of children and vulnerable adults.

The spokesman said: "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."

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