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Monday, 05 November 2018

Child sex abuse victim raises fears of paedophile ring at orphanage

Written by The Press Association

A man who was sexually abused at a children’s home in the 1970s has spoken of his belief a paedophile ring may have been operating inside the facility.

David Whelan, who waived his right to anonymity, said he believed he was being groomed to be “passed on” while he was at Quarriers Village children’s home in Renfrewshire.

The witness, who stayed at the facility between 1969 and 1974, was abused at the home. He was 11-years-old when he went to the orphanage.

Speaking at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in Edinburgh on Friday, he said: “I believe I was being groomed to be passed on.

“At the time, you try and understand what was going on here, try to read what’s going on here.

“I’m as clear as daylight – I was going to be passed on.

“I just wonder if there was a paedophile ring operating out of Quarriers, with some former residents.”

The late-19th century development consisted of dozens of orphan homes which were run by “house mothers” and “house fathers”.

In 2002, John Porteus was convicted of sexually abusing Mr Whelan while in his care.

The offences took place in the village on a number of occasions.

Mr Whelan (pictured) also spoke of physical and emotional abuse he suffered at the hands of others.

This involved him being beaten with a “military parade” baton, a belt and being told he was unwanted by his parents.

Other alleged abusers cannot be named for legal reasons.

It was heard punishment also included hair-pulling and being made to stand outside in a shed, sometimes until dawn.

Mr Whelan spoke of strict rules and carers who would lash out with violence, often leaving him “petrified”.

He said: “This was supposed to be a care home. From start to finish it was like being in a military establishment.

“They used derogatory language just to demean you, to belittle you.

“We weren’t soldiers – we were children.

“There was no affection. It was like from a Victorian era, where the child was seen and not heard.”

The witness described physical abuse as being “normalised” and went unchallenged by those in higher authority at the orphanage.

He added: “Bruises heal, but what happens with the psychological stuff is it stays with you.

“It was beyond the bounds of what was reasonable.

“It was brutality and cruelty.”

The inquiry is tasked with examining historical allegations of the abuse of children in care and began taking statements from witnesses in the spring of 2016.

Its current stage is hearing from representatives and former residents of establishments run by providers Quarriers, Aberlour and Barnardo’s.

Quarriers has apologised to residents who were abused while in its care.

The inquiry before Lady Smith continues on Tuesday.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Future Pathways.