Strathclyde University inquiry after professor guilty of sex assaults

image copyrightCIARAN DONNELLY
image captionProfessor Kevin O'Gorman, 45, abused eight young men

Strathclyde University will hold an independent inquiry into its handling of past complaints of sexual misconduct against a former staff member found guilty of sex crimes.

Kevin O'Gorman was convicted of sexual assaults on young male students at Strathclyde and Heriot-Watt universities earlier this week.

Police investigated the professor after staff at Heriot-Watt reported him.

Strathclyde's inquiry will be led by Craig Sandison QC.

It will look at how the university handled a complaint made by a former student and the subsequent investigation.

O'Gorman's offences relating to Strathclyde University happened between 2006 and 2011.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that he used his position to prey on vulnerable students who hoped to gain entry to advanced degrees.

The university's principal, Prof Sir Jim McDonald said: "There are questions we must ask about our processes and procedures."

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He added: "The safety and wellbeing of our students is always our first priority, and I am determined that we will learn from this case.

"As a university community, we are shocked and appalled by what emerged from the trial, and by behaviours which are totally contrary to our shared values.

"Our first concern is to reach out to those students and alumni affected and offer our support."

He said anyone affected by the case should contact the university's wellbeing services for support.

The inquiry will establish what the university knew, what it ought to have known, and what should have been in place to "expose such wrongdoing".

Complaints raised

"We will accept the findings of this independent inquiry and will adopt the recommendations that emerge," he added.

Heriot-Watt will not have a similar inquiry as its own investigations led to the criminal inquiry.

"The information which has emerged during the trial is very distressing and clearly includes behaviours which we do not tolerate and strike at the heart of the positive and safe environment which we maintain here at Heriot-Watt," a spokesman said.

"In fact, the investigation into these events was prompted by senior management at Heriot-Watt making a report to the police immediately following complaints being raised."

O'Gorman is due to be sentenced on 18 September.

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