Children’s charity boss admits parents of 10 young boys who were molested by paedophile housefather were not told of ‘sadistic’ sex abuse in the 1960s

  • Chief executive of Aberlour Child Care Trust admitted parents were not told 
  • Sally Ann Kelly also confessed the right support was not always given to victims
  • Parents of children abused in care were outraged at Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry
Sally Ann Kelly, chief executive of the Aberlour Child Care Trust (pictured) said it had failed to offer enough support to victims of a prolific sex offender who had been employed as a housefather

Sally Ann Kelly, chief executive of the Aberlour Child Care Trust (pictured) said it had failed to offer enough support to victims of a prolific sex offender who had been employed as a housefather

The boss of a children’s charity yesterday admitted that parents of youngsters molested in its care were not told about their ‘horrendous’ sex abuse ordeal.

Sally Ann Kelly, chief executive of the Aberlour Child Care Trust, also said it had failed to offer enough support to victims of a prolific sex offender who had been employed as a housefather.

In addition, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) heard that strict rules on corporal punishment were broken and children were publicly humiliated by a former boss of the Aberlour Orphanage in Moray.

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Mrs Kelly was confronted about the trust’s ‘appalling omission’ over informing parents at an SCAI hearing in Edinburgh.

It was told the aim of the trust had been to provide ‘something akin to a normal family home’ for vulnerable children.

Mrs Kelly was asked about a housefather in the 1960s, Eric Lee, who had subjected ten boys to ‘sadistic’ sexual abuse.

The inquiry had previously heard claims from a former staff member that Aberlour bosses had been ‘hell-bent’ on keeping the scandal quiet.

Mrs Kelly – who has been in post since 2014 – was questioned about alleged organisational failings yesterday.

James Peoples, QC, senior counsel to the inquiry, said boys at the orphanage in the care of the paedophile housefather must have lived in a ‘dreadful atmosphere’.

Mrs Kelly said: ‘Yes, absolutely, it must have been a horrendous situation for those boys.’

Mr Peoples said records of the incidents, which led to Lee being convicted in 1963 of sex offences against children aged eight to 12 and jailed for six years, had been scant and Press coverage had been limited.

Mrs Kelly argued that by the standards of the time the home had conformed to best practice by alerting the police, something which may not have happened in other homes.

But she admitted there was no record of a special meeting to discuss the sex abuse controversy, which Mr Peoples said was ‘one of the darkest periods in Aberlour’s history’.

Pictured: Aberlour Orphanage in Moray where several cases of abuse allegedly took place 

Pictured: Aberlour Orphanage in Moray where several cases of abuse allegedly took place

The QC said the inquiry had heard parents of some of those abused had not been told about their ordeals, which he suggested was an ‘appalling omission’ and ‘indefensible’. Mrs Kelly said: ‘Absolutely.’

Lee’s abuse was discovered only when a staff member overheard boys discussing being targeted.

The inquiry has heard evidence from a former Aberlour worker, using the name Catherine, who blew the whistle on Lee.

She claimed managers were determined to prevent governors finding out what had happened.

The inquiry, before Lady Smith, continues.

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry hears parents of victims in care not told about sex abuse

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