Roman Catholic Church in Scotland reveals abuse case details

Fort Augustus Abbey
Image caption A BBC programme uncovered evidence of decades of physical and sexual abuse by some monks at Fort Augustus Abbey school, which is now closed

The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has published details of abuse allegations made between 2006 and 2012.

The statistics showed there were 46 allegations of abuse made over the six year period, of which 56% were made against priests.

Some 55% of the allegations were of a sexual nature, 19% alleged physical abuse, 11% were verbal and 15% were emotional.

The document also revealed the results of investigations into the claims.

There have been no prosecutions in relation to 61% of all cases reported, the church said.

A further 15% resulted in a prosecution, 10% are still under investigation and the remaining 14% are described as "unknown historical cases".

Of the 46 allegations of abuse made, 25 concerned abuse which was said to have happened prior to the year 2000.

More than a quarter of all the accused reported (27%) are now dead, according to the audit report prepared for the Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Service.

The audit report revealed that the ministry of almost a quarter (24%) of those accused had been restricted.

A further 12% had been removed from their post, while 11% left voluntarily, 8% were dismissed, 3% were in prison and another 3% had been acquitted. The outcome of the remaining 11% of cases was unknown.

The Church also said it would carry out a review of all abuse allegations made between 1947 and 2005.

'Spirit of openness'

And it has asked a former Church of Scotland moderator to look at its safeguards against abuse.

The external review will be carried out by Dr Andrew McLellan, a former chief inspector of prisons for Scotland who was moderator of the Church of Scotland's General Assembly in 2000.

The Roman Catholic Church said the three initiatives were being launched "in a spirit of openness and transparency".

It follows a series of scandals, with the most recent allegations concerning the Fort Augustus Abbey School.

The former leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, stepped down earlier this year after admitting sexual misconduct.

The Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, said that 2013 had been a "test of faith" for Scotland's Catholics.

In a letter read out to Scotland's 500 Catholic parishes on Sunday, he added: "We recognise the trauma and pain that survivors of abuse have suffered and we are committed to providing for them both justice and healing."

He said the Church was committed to "consolidation of our safeguarding practices, the renewal of trust in our unshakeable commitment to atoning for abuse in the past, guarding against abuse in the present and eliminating abuse in the future, and supporting those who have been harmed."

Archbishop Tartaglia also promised that all of the new initiatives were being "launched in a spirit of openness and transparency" and in recognition of the fact that "safeguarding is a priority within the Church, and all who work in the Church must realise this."

Speaking about his participation in the review process, Dr McLellan said he was "determined to discover the truth and make clear recommendations".

He added: "I am pleased to be able to help the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland in what has been for them a difficult year.

"But my first concern is not to support the Catholic Church: rather it is to seek the best protection of many vulnerable children and adults.

"I am very much encouraged by the independence I will have in selecting the membership of the panel, detailing its remit and deciding on its timescale; and by the assurance I have been given that the Catholic Bishops will accept our recommendations."

Responding to the three initiatives, Tina Campbell, the church's new national coordinator for safeguarding, said: "These are incredibly positive and exciting developments.

"I look forward to working with the bishops of Scotland, our clergy and the many dedicated people across the country who both implement and support our national safeguarding policies and procedures in their parish communities."

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