Man who says he was abused by monks wins record £1.4million from Christian sect

The victim, identified only as AB, said he was sexually abused by the monks as a teenager while attending school in bedrooms pupils reported hearing screams from

Kelly, left, and Farrell, abused boys at St Ninian's in the 70s and 80s
Kelly, left, and Farrell, abused boys at St Ninian’s in the 70s and 80s

A man who says he was sexually abused by monks as a child has been awarded more than £1 million in damages.

The victim, identified only as AB, claimed he was repeatedly assaulted by Brothers Ryan, Farrell and Kelly while attending St Ninian’s School in Falkland, Fife, about 40 years ago.

He also claimed his older brother also suffered at their hands at around the same time.

The Christian Brothers, the religious sect which ran the school, tried to have the legal case thrown out.

But in a written judgement, a sheriff dismissed the attempt and ordered them to pay just short of £1.4 million in damages to AB.

Speaking after the ruling, AB said: “Finally, after nearly 40 years, I’ve been acknowledged and those responsible can be exposed.”

He was sent to St Ninian’s in February 1980 when he was 12 years old and stayed there until April 1981.

In July 2016 Brother John Farrell (pictured) was convicted of four abuse charges



During that period, he said he was raped, sexually assaulted and beaten by all three monks, most of which happened in their bedrooms.

He revealed Kelly, Farrell and Ryan often targeted children from a dormitory they sinisterly referred to as “the favorite boys room” from which he said pupils would often hear screams.

AB admitted he kept his past secret from his wife and daughter until he opened up for the first time in November 2013 when he spoke to police.

He described the moment when he first spoke to officers: “I just broke down in tears. Until then I’d been living in my head for 30 years.”

So, when I finally spoke to the police, there was a strange duality to everything.

“It was terrifying but empowering. Exhausting but freeing. Painful but therapeutic.”

The civil case heard AB has suffered mentally and physically as a result of the alleged abuse.

Dr Wild, Clinical Psychologist, Department of Psychology at Stobhill Hospital, said the victim described “symptoms consistent with social anxiety, and acute periods of panic”.

In July 2016, at the High Court in Glasgow, Brother Farrell was convicted of four abuse charges and Brother Kelly was convicted of six charges.

Both charges involved children aged between 11 and 15 years old.

They were both jailed in August 2016 – Farrell for five years and Kelly for 10 years.

Brother Ryan died in July 2013 before he could be investigated.

AB’s evidence did not play a part in the convictions but, this month, sheriff Christopher Dickson ruled there was enough proof the Christian Brothers sect is liable to pay damages.

This included compensation (£95,000), interest on compensation offered during and after abuse (£73,990), past wage loss and interest on past wage loss due to AB’s difficulty in maintaining a job (£1,008,937), future wage loss (£190,043) , pension loss (£23,100) and future cost of treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy (£2,200) – at total of £1,393,270.

The Christian Brothers sect, which accepted that Brother Ryan was a predatory paedophile, tried to have the civil action thrown out as the death of the monk meant they could not investigate AB’s allegations.

Kim Leslie, Partner at Digby Brown, said she is not aware of any higher sums ever being awarded to a victim and described the settlement as a “landmark” case.

She said: “No amount of compensation or redress can alter the past but it can help improve a person’s future but, just as importantly, cases like these hold those responsible to account which in turn improves access to justice for others.

According to evidence in the written judgment from Detective Constable Andrew Gilmore, police investigations identified 35 victims of abuse linked to St Ninian’s.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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