July 2016

Christian Brothers guilty of abusing boys at Catholic school


Two Christian Brothers have been found guilty of abusing boys at a Catholic school between 1978 and 1983.

John Farrell, 73, and 63-year-old Paul Kelly were accused of a catalogue of sexual and physical abuse against several pupils at St Ninian’s School in Falkland, Fife.

On Friday at the High Court in Glasgow, the pair were found guilty by a jury after a 15-week trial.

Farrell, from Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault and a charge of assaulting a boy with a belt.

Kelly, from Plymouth, Devon, was convicted of four counts of indecent assault and three assault charges, including hitting a boy’s head off sinks at the school.

Their victims were aged between 11 and 15 at the time of the abuse.

They had been standing trial accused of 51 counts of physical and sexual abuse at the school over a six-year period.

The Catholic school was run by the Christian Brothers organisation until St Ninian’s closed in the 1980s.

During the course of the trial, victims told how they were abused by the Brothers while they were at the school.

Three other staff at the school – Edward Egan, 77, Michael Murphy, 75, and 61-year-old William Don – were originally indicted in the trial but the charges against them were dropped.

Both Farrell and Kelly were remanded in custody on Friday ahead of sentencing next month.

Chief inspector Nicola Shepherd, who led the investigation, said: “For a number of years these men, who were placed in a position of trust, carried out prolonged abuse on a significant number of vulnerable young people.

“They betrayed that trust in the most despicable manner possible and subjected their victims to years of suffering.

“It is thanks to the courage of those who came forward to provide us with vital information that we were able to bring Farrell and Kelly to justice for their crimes.”

The trial before Lord Matthews began in April and followed one of the biggest abuse inquiries of its kind ever carried out by Police Scotland.