Priest Demands Answers after Child Gang Rape Allegation at Catholic Retreat in Ayrshire
By Chris Clements
June 13, 2014
AN OUTSPOKEN priest campaigning for justice for victims of sex abuse has revealed fresh claims of child rape at a Catholic retreat.
Father Gerry Magee has written to the church hierarchy quizzing them on allegations that a boy was given wine laced with drugs and then gang raped by priests at Coodham House in Ayrshire.
The alleged victim said it happened on a weekend visit to the house, near Symington, in 1960.
Father Magee, who has helped abuse victims for 18 years, said he was approached by the man after a BBC documentary about Catholic sex abuse was aired last year.
He has asked for answers from the Passionist Order, who ran Coodham House from 1948 to 1988, and the Diocese of Galloway but has had no response.
He said: “I believe that, if these allegations are true, then others will have suffered the same trauma, it is not just a one-off.”
The abuse is alleged to have taken place at Coodham – then known as Fatima House – when the man was nine or 10.
At the time, Catholics from all over Scotland – including children – were taken for weekend visits.
The man – now in his 60s – claims he was raped by priests or Brothers from the Order while on a visit with his father.
He said two priests approached his father and asked the boy to help out at a “party” for the day.
But he alleges he was taken to a room with a group of up to eight men, where he was abused after being given wine.
Father Magee, of St Winin’s RC Church in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, said: “According to him, it was a drunken orgy. I have always believed him. Why would you lie about something like that?”
A Passionist Order spokeswoman said they had no record of complaints at Coodham.
Peter Kearney, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, said there could “possibly” be other allegations of abuse at the home but Galloway Diocese needed to examine their records
Police Scotland said they were unaware of any abuse at Coodham and no inquiry was going on.
Eight former pupils recently told the Record about alleged rapes, sex assaults and brutality at St Ninians School in Fife. Six men have since been charged.
The 65-year-old man who has come forward with new claims alleged he was abused while visiting Coodham for the weekend with his father and a family friend.
The recovering alcoholic said he was walking down a corridor when two Passionist priests asked for the boy’s help with a “party” at the other end of the country manor.
The victim said his father unwittingly handed him over to the paedophiles while he went to a prayer study for the day.
It’s claimed the boy was taken to a large room in the house where eight priests applauded him when he arrived.
He explained: “One Brother took me over to a table with sweeties at floor level in front of a stage.
“The rest approached and said, ‘Help yourself to as many sweeties as you want.
“They said, ‘Drink this’. I knew it was wine but to me it was stronger because my head started spinning. I think it had been drugged.
“My wee trousers came off. I got put over the table.”
He claims he was then raped by some of the men in the room, while others watched, before blacking out.
He added: “I woke up with my dad shaking me in bed with one Brother there.
“I looked briefly to them and said, ‘I’m too tired. Just let me get back to sleep, daddy’.
“I heard the brother saying, ‘He thoroughly enjoyed the party, he has been a great help. He was that tired we put him to bed. It would be a sin to waken him. Collect him in the morning.’
“I can’t remember anything after that.”
Coodham was sold by the Order in 1988 and was later turned into luxury apartments.