January 2018

Paedophile ex-priest ‘sorry’ for abusing four boys

A former priest convicted of sexually abusing boys in his care has expressed regret for his “abhorrent” crimes.

Bernard Traynor, 64, was convicted of six charges of indecent assault in 1995 for abuse carried out against four boys in the 1970s while he was a trainee priest helping out at a children’s home in Newcastle.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry heard that the care of the children had been arranged in Scotland.

Traynor said it had been “totally wrong” that he had been allowed to be a house parent at the St Vincent’s home without training or proper supervision.

Asked about the abuse, Traynor said: “Its abhorrent to me now that I could do that. I don’t in any way feel proud for what I’ve done.”

The inquiry heard how Traynor had abused a ten-year-old boy after the child was moved from Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanarkshire where he had been in the care on nuns.

Traynor, who said he himself had been abused by a ­member of his own family and raped while at school, said he was “ashamed” of his actions.

He said: “I hate that aspect of myself and there’s nothing I can do, nothing I can say other than I’m totally, totally sorry.”

The inquiry heard he stopped being a priest when his crimes came to light in 1995 but had not been formally defrocked until 2012.

Colin MacAulay QC, lead counsel to the inquiry, read out a statement from one of Traynor’s victims in which he said he had been afraid to speak out because his abuser was a priest.

The inquiry also heard evidence from a nun who denied she had “blacked out” an incident in which she is alleged to have brutally beaten a young boy who found her in the arms of another nun.

“Sister Esther”, 73, was accused of giving a “proper hiding” to the child, knocking him unconscious, after he saw her in an embrace with the other woman in Smyllum’s boiler room.

The nun, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she couldn’t remember the incident.

She said: “I don’t think I have blacked it out. I have wracked my brain to try to remember and at no point has any memory come back. If it had, I would say it.”

The nun also said some children who did not eat their food at one meal would have it re-heated and served to them at the next, contradicting evidence already given by other nuns that the practice did not take place.

Lawyers for the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, which ran Smyllum until it closed in 1981, last year offered a “most sincere and heartfelt apology to anyone who suffered any form of abuse while in our care”.