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Tuesday, 05 June 2018

Nun tells abuse inquiry orphanage children were 'mistreated while in my care'

Written by Conor Riordan

A nun has admitted to an inquiry that she mistreated children at two orphanages and described another sister's alleged actions as "cruel".

The 77-year-old, who cannot be identified, said youngsters at Nazareth House in Aberdeen would be smacked or hit with a hairbrush while she was there between 1963 and 1973.

She said at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry that her care for a number of children at the home and Nazareth House in Lasswade, Midlothian, amounted to them being "mistreated".

Parts of a second statement submitted by the nun on Friday were read out by Colin MacAulay QC, senior counsel to the inquiry.

It said she acknowledged some children "were mistreated when they were in my care" at Nazareth House in Aberdeen and Nazareth House in Lasswade.

Mr MacAulay also asked her how those being naughty would be punished.

The witness said: "They might get a smack. Probably on the legs or the bottom."

She said she and the children were frightened of another nun, who she said would use a hairbrush to hit the youngsters with.

The witness added it was this other nun who was in charge of dealing with children who wet the bed.

She said: "The children used to say they put the sheets on them but I never saw that.

"If it was one of sister's punishments, I never intervened.

"It was nasty, I thought it wasn't nice."

Mr MacAulay then asked her if she would describe the treatment as cruel.

She said: "I would now."

Sister Bridget Cunningham also spoke at the inquiry and said the children at Nazareth House in Aberdeen were not "the type that would want you to be hugging (them).

"They were quite aloof and they had their own problems."

The 76-year-old was at the orphanage between 1963 and 1964.

She said she would have reported any humiliation or beatings for wetting the bed to the Mother Superior, if she had witnessed any such treatment.

She added: "I never seen anything like that."

The inquiry before Lady Smith in Edinburgh continues.

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