Inquiry hears from woman raped by priest with help of nun at orphanage
A former resident at a Catholic-run orphanage has told an inquiry she was raped by a priest and repeatedly abused by a nun.
Helen Holland, who has waived her right to anonymity, described years of “sadistic” treatment at the Nazareth House home in Kilmarnock while resident there in the 1960s and 1970s.
Speaking at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry on Wednesday, the 59-year-old told how the sexual abuse began when she was eight years old.
She said a nun at the home had told her the “the devil was inside” of her.
She said: “She took me into her cell and told me to take my clothes off.”
Ms Holland (pictured) said she was then assaulted with a “hand brush”.
She said: “She took the hand brush … and asked if I could feel the devil. That was the start.”
Ms Holland said she told a priest in confession what had happened and that she “had to get the devil out”.
The inquiry heard he then “marched” her back to the orphanage, describing her as the “most wicked child he had ever met”.
She said the nun joined them and they went into a room.
Ms Holland said: “He told her what I’d said. They looked at each other, the way people do when they have got an understanding but without language.
“I ended up over what looks like a boardroom table with (the priest) raping me.
“She was holding my hands across the table. I was told I was a brazen hussy and I must learn to keep my mouth shut.”
The inquiry heard the witness was sexually abused over a four-year period and that she was raped by several men.
She said she knew at least one of them was a priest.
The inquiry heard children were subjected to vicious attacks by the nun, who punched, kicked and used a bamboo cane known as a “switch” because of the noise it made.
The inquiry heard she reported the hand brush attack to social services when she was a child, but nothing was done.
As an adult, she said she went to the procurator fiscal but was told the case would not be pursued because the nun was “too old and too infirm”, which the witness said she had challenged.
Ms Holland is now chairwoman of In-Care Abuse Survivors group, which campaigns for justice for those affected by such issues.
The witness, who took her therapy dogs Pippa and Willow with her to the inquiry, called for the care system to be “stripped back” and for the Scottish Government to take note of the inquiry’s advice.
The inquiry before Lady Smith in Edinburgh continues on Thursday.
Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Conor Riordan / PA Wire.