Findings of investigation into Scottish Catholic Church abuse allegations to be revealed

18/08/2015
CommonWeal

Findings into Scottish Catholic Church’s handling of abuse allegations to be published

THE FINDINGS of an external investigation led by former moderator of the Church of Scotland General Assembly and past chief inspector of prisons Rev Andrew McLellan are due to be published.

The McLellan Commission sought to scrutinise the Scottish Catholic Church’s procedures set in place to protect the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children and adults.

The key findings of the report are due to be unveiled at a press conference in Edinburgh.

McLellan was quoted in the Catholic Herald : “This is the greatest challenge facing the whole Catholic Church in Scotland. Change will come when the whole membership of the Church own this desire for change and embrace the agenda set out in our report.

“If the Catholic Church in Scotland grabs this opportunity, then the Church will be a safer place for all.”

The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland established the McLellan Commission in November 2013. Its initiation was triggered by a series of public scandals, such as the resignation of disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

O’Brien resigned from the archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh in February 2013, following allegations of inappropriate behaviour from several priests.

Members of the commission include Kathleen Marshall, former Commissioner for Children and Young People, Malcolm Graham, Assistant Chief Constable of Police Scotland, and Ranald Mair, chief executive of Scottish Care.

Although the remit of the commission did not extend to investigate historic allegations, it heard from several victims of abuse.

Part of the review involved the publication of reported incidents to diocesan and safeguarding audits between 2006 and 2012.

Throughout this period, 46 allegations of abuse were made in total. Of this, 55 per cent were related to sexual abuse, 19 per cent were physical abuse, 15 per cent were linked to emotional abuse and 11 per cent were allegations of verbal abuse.

39 per cent of cases reported have thus far resulted in prosecution.

Picture courtest of Dave Wilson