Police investigation launched into Pluscarden abuse claims

Andi Lavery - formed abuse victims support group
Andi Lavery – formed abuse victims support group

A POLICE INVESTIGATION has been launched into historical child abuse at Pluscarden Abbey dating back to the 1960s and 1980s.

Officers from Police Scotland say that they have begun investigations into what they describe as “non-recent abuse” at the 13th-century Abbey.

The accusations stemmed from Andi Lavery, who has claimed he himself was abused at the former Roman Catholic boarding school at Fort Augustus. Mr Lavery founded the White Flowers Alba support group with Chris Daly, who had claimed he was abused at Nazereth House in Aberdeen.

Last night Mr Lavery told STV: “What happened is I was approached by several men who I had built trust with and they told me quite horrific stories about how as young children they were abused at Pluscarden.

“This horrified me – it did not matter where it took place it was the actual content that they had to tell me, it was really awful, dark upsetting stuff. I know for a fact that the church has known for a long time about abuse at this site and have done nothing at all.

“From what I know I would have no child near that site any more – and I don’t care if that upsets people, I would rather have people upset than have children harmed.”

Pluscarden is the only medieval monastery in Scotland that is still in use for its original purpose and is a popular retreat for Christians. In a statement on Friday Brother Michael De Klerk stressed that the allegations were historical, saying: “We will fully cooperate with police in all their investigations.”

Confirming that investigations were under way, a spokesman for Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland will investigate all forms of child abuse regardless of when the incidents have occurred and ensure that reports of child abuse are investigated thoroughly.

“Anyone who has been a victim of abuse can come forward in confidence, knowing that we will listen and we will investigate.”

Last night Moray’s MP Angus Robertson said that the claims were “extremely worrying”, adding: “I would encourage anyone with any relevant information to get in touch with the police.”