Head of Prince Charles’ former boarding school asks ex-pupils to come forward if they suffered abuse

The principal of Prince Charles’ former boarding school has called on ex-pupils to come forward if they suffered abuse as children.

Gordonstoun have contacted more than 3000 old students and urged them to speak out if they were ever victims.

Senior staff took the action after allegations of abuse surfaced at the junior school two years ago.

The £33,000-a-year boarding school near Elgin, Moray, was one of several Scottish private schools named by judge Lady Smith, who is heading the national inquiry into historical child abuse.

Prince Charles hated his time at the school so much that he dubbed it “Colditz in kilts”.

Daily Record

Fresh sex abuse claims hit Scots military school

There were fresh calls last night to widen the Scottish government’s child abuse inquiry after a former pupil of a military boarding school in Dunblane claimed he was abused by a teacher.

It has emerged police launched an investigation after a victim broke decades of silence to reveal his abuse at the hands of a housemaster at Queen Victoria School (QVS) in the 1970s.

The Times

Scotland: Emotional abuse and child neglect to be criminalised in new law

THE Scottish Government is to bring forward a new law to criminalise the emotional abuse and neglect of children.

Childcare and early years minister Mark McDonald announced the move in response to the publication of two reports on child protection.

Mr McDonald told MSPs at Holyrood that the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937 would be updated to recognise the impact of emotional abuse and neglect, as well as physical harm.

It follows the findings of a review of the child protection system led by independent chair Catherine Dyer and the publication of the Government’s child protection improvement programme report.

Mr McDonald said: “This Government is determined to ensure more of Scotland’s children get the best possible start in life. This means protecting the most vulnerable in our communities from harm, abuse and neglect.

The Scotsman

Scottish Government

Famous Scottish boarding schools named in child abuse inquiry

More coverage of the Scottish boarding schools sex abuse investigations:

Some of Scotland’s most prestigious private schools, including the alma maters of the Prince of Wales and Tony Blair, are to be investigated as part of a national child abuse inquiry.

Gordonstoun near Elgin, attended by Prince Charles, and Fettes College in Edinburgh, where Mr Blair was a pupil, are among 100 locations where historical abuse is alleged to have taken place.

The Telegraph

Two top public schools attended by Prince Charles and Tony Blair are being investigated by a major national inquiry into child abuse.

Gordonstoun, the alma mater of the heir to the throne, and Fettes College – where the former Labour Prime Minister was a pupil – both feature in the statutory probe.

Other private schools under investigation include Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, Loretto School in Musselburgh and Morrison’s Academy in Crieff.

The boarding schools are being probed as part of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry into more than 60 residential care establishments which have been identified as sites of alleged child abuse or neglect.

Daily Mail

Scottish child abuse inquiry investigates top boarding schools

More than 60 institutions, including several top boarding schools, are being investigated by the Scottish child abuse inquiry, it has been confirmed.

The new chairwoman of the inquiry, Lady Smith, said they were among 100 locations where abuse is alleged to have taken place.

She said several boarding schools, including Fettes College and Gordonstoun, were being investigated.

The inquiry will look in detail at historical abuse of children in care.

Lady Smith replaces the original chairwoman who resigned in July 2016. Susan O’Brien stood down complaining of government interference.

Speaking at the start of the inquiry at the Court of Session building in Edinburgh, Lady Smith insisted the investigation would be fully independent.

She confirmed that several boarding schools were being investigated by inquiry staff.

Other institutions being investigated include those run by faith-based organisations and major care providers like Quarriers and Barnardo’s.

Institutions under investigation
Boarding schools

  • Fettes College
  • Gordonstoun
  • The former Keil School
  • Loretto School
  • Merchiston Castle School
  • Morrison’s Academy (when it was a boarding school)

BBC News

The Scotsman

The Guardian

Scotsman: More on William Bain’s sexual abuse at Scottish boarding school

A former teacher at a boarding school has been jailed for six and a half years for sexually abusing boys.

William Bain attacked the five children who were pupils at a private school in Dunbartonshire where the 62-year-old worked at the time.

One boy was attacked after going to Bain for help because he was being bullied.

Bain went on to secure a post at Glenalmond College in Perth and Kinross. He was caught last year when one victim discovered he was still teaching and called police.

He returned to the High Court in Glasgow yesterday after pleading guilty to five charges of using lewd and libidinous practices while employed as a teacher.

Judge Lady Scott told him the crimes were “persistent” sexual abuse and that he appeared to have no “contrition” for what he had done.

She said the jail term had been cut from eight and a half years because of his guilty pleas. Bain showed no emotion as he was led handcuffed to the cells.

The abuse took place between 1989 and 1995. Bain was a teacher at the time at a fee-paying school in Dunbartonshire. The victims were all pupils there.

The attacks took place either in an empty classroom, a photography dark-room or at Bain’s private flat at the school.

The first boy was aged 11 when the abuse started. The next victim was 12 when Bain began molesting him several times a week. Around the same time, Bain repeatedly preyed on a third boy, who was also 11. The fourth pupil was the same age as he was abused a total of 50 times.

Prosecutor Ross McFarlane said the final victim – aged 12 – had spoken to Bain to seek help as he was being bullied at the school. But, instead, Bain inappropriately touched the child.

Bain left the school in 2000 and moved to Glenalmond College. The abuse remained unknown to bosses at Glenalmond until 2015.

His first victim had discovered Bain remained employed as a teacher. This led him to report the ordeal he had suffered more then 20 years ago. An investigation resulted in the other four who were abused being traced.

After a hearing last month, a spokesperson for Glenalmond said Bain had been “immediately suspended” when the accusations first arose.

BBC News

Monk jailed for abusing pupils at Scottish boarding school

A Catholic monk who carried out a catalogue of abuse on pupils at an East Lothian residential school during “a regime of fear” has been jailed for seven years.

Michael Murphy, 82, was known as Brother Benedict at St Joseph’s List D School in Tranent.

He was sentenced on Friday following a hearing before Lord Uist at the High Court in Edinburgh.

He denied a string of charges against but was found guilty on Thursday.

A jury convicted him of 15 charges of assault and indecent assault involving eight boys over the decade up to 1981.

BBC News

Group for survivors of child abuse slams sheriff’s “disgusting” decision on indecent exposure case for boarding school teacher

A group which campaigns for victims of child abuse have attacked a Scottish sheriff’s decision to give a teacher guilty of indecent exposure an absolute discharge.

Helen Holland of the In Care Abuse Survivors Scotland (INCAS) said it was “disgusting” that Gordon Cruden was not adequately punished for the offences at the elite Merchiston Castle school in Edinburgh.

Sheriff Kevin Drummond – usually known by his initials TAK Drummond – opted for an absolute discharge in December after finding Cruden guilty of three counts of indecent exposure in the 1980s.

The disposal means the 62 year old French teacher was not convicted of the offences, or placed on the sex offenders register, and so he continues to teach at another private school south of the border.

Holland, who is the INCAS chairperson, said the wrong decision had been made: “I think this decision is absolutely disgusting. It beggars belief.

“If it was my children who were at this school in England, I would be deeply concerned. This was a teacher who was in a position of trust and authority.”

INCAS is a self-help group of volunteers who help survivors of abuse meet and discuss their experiences.

Holland believes only members of the judiciary with detailed knowledge of abuse issues should hear these cases: “I think there should be specialist judges for this sort of offence.”

Graeme Pearson, the Scottish Labour justice spokesperson who was also a former senior police officer and Director General of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, also expressed surprised at the outcome.

“Having dealt with survivors over the last five years at the Scottish Parliament, an absolute discharge in this case sends out the wrong message and is a curious outcome,” he said.

“It’s also unhelpful that this individual can continue teaching in such circumstances. Parents will not be happy.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said: “Of course the courts had the full possession of the facts when deciding on this verdict. But the experience will have been deeply damaging to the victims, and it will no doubt be of concern to them that he is still teaching.

“The public will also be keen to know the new school is fully aware of the details of this case.”

The Herald

Teacher found guilty of indecent exposure at top boarding school in Edinburgh is still in classroom

A teacher found guilty of sexual offences at a top boarding school in Edinburgh is still working in classrooms with children at another school in England.

Gordon Cruden, who taught at the exclusive Merchiston Castle, exposed himself in front of teenage boys at the school but escaped any punishment in December after a trial despite being found guilty.

He was given an absolute discharge by the sheriff and continues to work as a French teacher at Bloxham school in North Oxfordshire.

Police Scotland confirmed last year that officers had launched a probe into claims of historical abuse of pupils at Merchiston Castle.

It is the only all-boys independent boarding school in Scotland – serving 7 to 18 year olds – and is based in the Colinton area of Edinburgh.

Fees can reach nearly £29,000 a year, which puts the Merchiston Castle at the high end of the market.

Two former male staff members, both in their 60s, were charged as a result of the police investigation.

The Sunday Herald can reveal that one of the men, Cruden, stood trial at Edinburgh sheriff court and was found guilty in December of three charges of indecent exposure at the school covering a period between 1980 and 1985.

The languages teacher, now 62, had been accused of knowingly wearing a pair of trousers with a large hole in the crotch and sitting with his legs wide open and exposing his genitals. The incidents were witnessed by three teenage boys.

He was not fined or given a jail sentence, but instead received an absolute discharge by Sheriff Kevin Drummond.

This means no penalty was imposed and no conviction is recorded. He is not on the Sex Offenders Register.

The Herald