February 2018

Children’s home volunteer convicted of child sex abuse

A former children’s home volunteer has been convicted of grooming and sexually abusing three children in care more than 30 years ago.

Joe Duffy, 60, raped two young sisters and sexually abused a young boy at a home run by nuns in the 1980s.

Duffy – who also worked as a civilian police custody officer for 20 years – described the allegations as “mind-boggling and incredible”.

A jury took less than two hours to convict him.

Duffy claimed nothing ever happened and that his victims went to the police simply to obtain compensation.

The jury heard that during his time as a volunteer at the children’s home in Glasgow, Duffy would drive a minibus and take the children to a swimming pool and on outings to Loch Lomond and other places.

He would also stay at the home on Friday nights and sleep over.

One of Duffy’s victims described how he raped her at one of these sleepovers when she was 12 and he was 24 or 25.

She told the jury this happened in the living room of the home while other children slept nearby. The witness said the nun in charge would go to bed at 22:00 and leave Duffy in charge of the children.

She was asked by prosecutor Steven Borthwick: “Did you want him to do that?” and she replied: “No.”

Her sister told the court: “Joe abused me for many years. It moved from a safe relationship to something inappropriate. He began touching me when I was 13 or 14.”

She said that Duffy sexually abused her at a swimming pool and that he raped her at his home on the day she left the care home.

Duffy was supposed to drive her home to her family, but instead took her to his Glasgow home and assaulted her.

A 46-year-old man told the court Duffy abused him at the home. Duffy also took him from the care home on a number of weekends and sexually abused him.

The witness said that Duffy would strip naked, get into bed with him and sexually abuse him.

Mr Borthwick asked the witness: “Did you want him to do that?” and he replied: “No, I was only 11.”

Duffy was cleared of sexually abusing two other boys at the care home.

When the allegations came to light Duffy was suspended from his job looking after prisoners in custody at Clydebank police station.

Duffy, who has no previous convictions, will be sentenced at the High Court in Aberdeen on March 16 by Lord Kinclaven.

He was remanded in custody and placed on the sex offenders register.