The Sisters of Nazareth, the Roman Catholic order of nuns which operated dozens of orphanages across Britain, recently apologised to children who suffered in their institutions in Northern Ireland.
That apology came at the start of a public inquiry in the Province, the largest of its kind in UK history, yet the Scottish Government has consistently ignored demands to set up a similar judge-led investigation here.
Last night, Mrs Peacher and her husband Andrew said they hoped that by coming forward with their story they could help put pressure on Holyrood ministers to start taking the issue seriously.
They reported both incidents to the police in 2002 but were eventually told there was not enough evidence to proceed. Last night, Police Scotland confirmed that a new inquiry was now underway.
Mrs Peacher was placed into the imposing, red-brick orphanage in Cardonald, Glasgow, by social services because her mother had drug addiction problems and couldn’t cope.
She said: “When I first got to Nazareth House I thought it was actually OK, the sisters were mostly nice and my sister used to be allowed to come and visit me. That all changed afterwards.
“I was sexually abused by one of the care staff. I was lying in bed with German measles and not allowed out for two weeks. I had also broken my leg so I was in a right state.
“She came in with a broom handle and a surgical mask over her face and she abused me with the stick. She never explained why and I never told anybody about it for a long time. Eventually I told my husband and we got the police involved but they couldn’t do anything.”
The 45 year old – who had learning difficulties as a child – has been left with enduring mental health problems which have scarred her life
Mrs Peacher added: “I was too scared to say anything to them about what happened and nobody knew about it, only me and her.
“After she did that to me one of her close friends told me she was sorry but to keep my mouth shut.”
However, within weeks of that horrific experience in the summer of 1978 – when she was just nine years old – Mrs Peacher claims that she and her two female room-mates were raped by a priest.
She said: “It was night time and I was in bed, he put the light on and jumped on top.”
“He was a young man and he did it to two other girls as well. Me and these two girls shared a bedroom. We talked about what happened but we never reported it because we were too scared.
“I knew he was a priest because he had the collar on. The abuse happened on separate nights. He did it to one girl once, another girl two times and he did it to me once.
“After this I wanted to get out of Nazareth House and they thought I might be missing my sister, so they moved me to another care home in Easterhouse where she was. I never saw either of my abusers again.”
However, the 45 year old – who had learning difficulties as a child even before the alleged attacks took place – has been left with enduring mental health problems which have scarred her life.
Now living in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, Mrs Peacher’s two children have been taken into care as a result of her personality disorder – although the couple are allowed regular contact with them.
Mr Peacher met his wife in 1987 and they were married in 1992, but it was several years later before she was finally able to tell him about the attacks.
“Because of this we have lost our children and it all links back to what happened at Nazareth House. If she hadn’t been in care then she could have had a normal life.”
The abuse was reported to the former Strathclyde Police in 2001 while the couple were living in Wishaw, Lanarkshire. However, three years later the procurator fiscal in Glasgow told them there was not enough evidence to proceed.
Mrs Peacher, who is still terrified by the thought of the woman in the surgical mask “coming back to get me”, said she was “really upset” and they decided not to pursue the case any further.
Now, however, they have decided to make another attempt at getting some kind of justice. Mr Peacher, 47, said: “It seems like the only way to expose what has been going on.”
A spokesman for the Sisters of Nazareth said they would help the police with their inquiry and would also launch their own internal investigation into the claims.
He added: “While we can’t comment specifically on this case, we deplore any abuse or mistreatment of children. We would advise Mrs Peacher to go back to the police again and also to speak to the Archdiocese of Glasgow Safeguarding Office.
“If she also reports the matter directly to the Sisters of Nazareth it will be dealt with appropriately and sympathetically.”
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that a complaint has been made and inquiries are ongoing.”
from Blogger http://holliegreigjustice.blogspot.com/2016/11/i-was-raped-by-priest-in-orphanage.html