Some arrived weeping after being torn from their mothers and sought comfort from Harley. Instead, they were sexually abused, Valerie Stacey, prosecuting, told the High Court in Glasgow. The children were too terrified to tell anyone, and did not think they would be believed anyway, she said. Some fled but were brought back by Harley, 50, to the local-authority Merkland Children's Home, Moffat, Dumfriesshire.
Mrs Stacey said that years later, some of the victims, now married with families, still had nightmares and could not form proper relationships.
The offences came to light when one boy told his girlfriend and social workers and the police were called in. Harley, of 560B Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, admitted seventeen charges involving 16 boys. The offences of shameless indecency included having sex with some of them. Lord Weir deferred sentenced for background reports until 9 April at the High Court in Edinburgh.