Police failed to tell congregation of paedophile inquiry
The judge leading Scotland’s child abuse inquiry has criticised police after they failed to inform a religious order of an investigation into one of its former employees.
Brian Dailey was jailed for ten years in July after being found guilty of physical and sexual offences against children in the 1970s and 80s, including at the now-closed Ladymary residential school in Colinton, Edinburgh.
Lady Smith, who is leading the inquiry examining the abuse of children in care, expressed concern that officers investigating Dailey failed to make contact with the Good Shepherd Sisters, which previously ran the school where he was employed from 1974.
The inquiry heard from Police Scotland’s lawyer that a detective constable with 20 years’ experience had been given the task of tracing records relating to Dailey but had failed to make contact with the congregation.
Lady Smith said the police had gone down “blind alleys” attempting to trace the records when it was possible to find contact details for the congregation on the internet in a matter of seconds.
She added: “One would have thought there would be a recognition on the part of the police that the responsible organisation [the Good Shepherd Sisters] would want to know [about the inquiry].”
Earlier this year, Lady Smith expressed her surprise that the congregation continued to deny historical abuse even after Dailey’s conviction. It followed evidence given to the inquiry by Sister Rosemary Kean, leader of the congregation in Britain, who said she had no knowledge of abuse.
Yesterday, the nuns’ lawyer, David Anderson, said Sister Kean had spoken from a position of “complete ignorance”, having been unaware of Dailey’s case. He said the sisters were “appalled and dismayed” at the abuse and “strongly refuted” any suggestion they had attempted to conceal it.
The national inquiry, which has cost nearly £10 million to date, is looking into the historical abuse of children in care and is due to report in 2019.
Yesterday it also heard from Professor Angus Skinner, Scotland’s most senior social worker in the early 1990s, who said he had “greatly underestimated” the abuse of children in care. Prof Skinner, who carried out a review of residential care for the Scottish Office in 1992, said: “I readily admit that I greatly underestimated its existence at that time. At the coal face, there were some people doing fantastic jobs with a great deal of care and attention … but they were more the exception than the rule.”