Smyllum resident wants church held responsible for abuse

January 23, 2018

Leon Carberry spoke to BBC Scotland via Skype after giving evidence to the inquiry

A retired police officer has called for the Catholic Church to be held responsible for the sexual and physical abuse he suffered at a Lanarkshire orphanage during the 1950s.

Leon Carberry said he was regularly beaten and humiliated by a nun at the Smyllum Park home in Lanark.

He also claimed that a man who worked there made him perform a sex act.

Mr Carberrry said nuns lied to him about his brother's death and he still does not know where he is buried.

The former policeman, who has waived his right to anonymity, was giving evidence to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry via video link from Australia.

His brother David died aged four while living at Smyllum in 1955.

In an interview with BBC Scotland after giving evidence, Mr Carberry said physical abuse was administered either by using straps, a hairbrush or a stick during exercise periods.

'Hushed up'

He said: "What I would like to see is the outcome of the inquiry making some very strong recommendations.

"The Catholic Church has to be answerable for what it did and those people in charge have to be answerable.

"The commission might say nothing happened - I don't know. But I can assure you that these things did happen - very strong and very sexual abuse."

The inquiry, sitting in Edinburgh, also heard that a nun was "delighted" when allegations of sexual abuse made by two boys at the home were dismissed.

The sister, who cannot be named, said the boys claimed they had been abused by a man named Brian Dailey while on a group holiday.

The boys were not believed and the police were not informed. The sister said she was told they would not be allowed back to Smyllum because they did not withdraw their claims.

She said it was only later, when Brian Dailey was jailed for child sex abuse, that she realised she should have said something.

At the time, she said she had felt delighted it was hushed up. Pressed on this, she said she was pleased it had all gone away but she now felt very guilty about it.

Beatings and ill-treatment

The inquiry has previously heard claims that there was a "culture of evil among religious orders" at that time.

A number of former residents have told of beatings and ill-treatment at the home, run by the nuns of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.

The inquiry has heard how a A six-year-old boy died 10 days after being beaten by a Catholic nun at the orphanage, although later evidence suggested the cause of death was E.coli infection.

One former resident said that hunger forced him to eat grass while living at Smyllum Park.

However, another witness said staff at Smyllum Park "dedicated themselves" to the welfare of children.

The inquiry, before Lady Smith, continues.


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