Bishop of Aberdeen to apologise for child sex abuse at Fort Augustus Abbey School

BBC investigation heard accounts from former pupils of physical violence, rape and sexual assault

One of Scotland's most senior Catholic clergymen is to apologise for three decades of abuse at a boarding school.

Hugh Gilbert, Bishop of Aberdeen, will tell his parishioners of his "horror and shame" over the revelations that monks raped and sexually abused children at Fort Augustus Abbey School.

A BBC investigation, aired last Monday, heard accounts from former male pupils of physical violence, rape and sexual assault by monks over 30 years at the school.

The bishop will offer an apology on behalf of the Church, in the hope of repairing its reputation following a series of scandals.

Speaking to the Scotland on Sunday newspaper, Bishop Gilbert said the "sins and failures" of the Catholic Church in Scotland must be acknowledged before the damage can be repaired.

This will be the first time a senior cleric has spoken publicly about the crimes committed at the abbey school and its prep school in East Lothian.

The apology comes after the resignation of the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O'Brien in February in the wake of his admitting to inappropriate sexual conduct.

In order to further repair its damaged reputation, the Church is set to publish a series of audits, compiled by the National Office of Child Safety, dealing with allegations of sexual abuse against clergy across all of Scotland's diocese.

Bishop Gilbert will be celebrating mass at Fort Augustus parish church, which forms part of his northern Scottish diocese, and address the congregation about the historic crimes.

In addition to publication of official audits into abuse, the Church is preparing a more detailed report, to be published next year, dealing with all historical cases from across Scotland, many dating as far back as the 1950s.

The Benedictine order, which was responsible for running the schools, has already apologised.

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