Nuns, one as old as 93 years, arrested over allegations of abuse at orphanage

'Daughters of Charity' who used to run the Catholic institution until 1981 were compared to Nazi concentration camp commandants by former residents

                            Nuns, one as old as 93 years, arrested over allegations of abuse at orphanage
(Source:Getty Images)

A widening police investigation has been looking into abuse allegations at an infamous orphanage where nuns are alleged to have inflicted violent punishments and humiliations on children. Scotland Police probing abuse at Smyllum Park in Lanark, which was run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul and closed in 1981, arrested around 12 people including nuns. 

As reported by the DailyMail, the arrested include nuns who are between the ages of 71 and 93 years. Police shared that the 12 arrested consisted of 11 women and one man. A spokesman for the police shared, "A further four individuals will be reported today. Inquiries are continuing". It has been alleged that the orphanage was the site of brutal behavior against children and has come under the scrutiny of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI). 

The news of the arrests comes just as SCAI chairman, Lady Smith, prepares to publish a report on Smyllum within the next few days. In Care Abuse Survivors, Alan Draper shared, "The news today is a vindication of all those survivors who had the courage to come forward. We look forward to a successful prosecution of all those who committed crimes with impunity, in the knowledge that they would be protected by their superiors. Bishops and religious superiors will also have questions to answer for their failures". 

The institution has since been shut down and the people arrested include nuns and also former staff members. Former residents at the orphanage told SCAI during the hearings that the nuns would often beat them, force them to eat vomit, and also humiliate them bed-wetting. Another spoke of satanic abuse and also claimed that a child may have died after being left naked in the rain for around three hours as punishment. 

Another former resident compared the 'Daughters of Charity' who used to run the Catholic institution until 1981 to Nazi concentration camp commandants. A spokesperson for the Daughters of Charity shared, "During this period we have publicly urged anyone who believes they have been the victim of a crime to contact the police. We continue to offer our sincere and heartfelt apology to anyone who suffered any form of abuse while at our facilities". 

White Flowers abuse survivors’ group member Andi Lavery shared, "We welcome today’s news of Police Scotland’s arrests on behalf of the four families we represent from Smyllum Park orphanage". 

Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Taylor who is from the national child abuse investigation unit shared, "Investigating child abuse offenses is highly complex and every care is taken to ensure that enquiries are proportionate, appropriate and that victims’ needs are central to our investigations. If you or anyone you know has been a victim of abuse or wishes to report abuse you should feel confident in reporting to Police Scotland. We will listen and we will take action regardless of when or where the abuse occurred". 

Last year, the remains of around 400 children who lived at the orphanage were thought to have been located at the St.Mary's cemetery in Lanark. According to reports, Smyllum Park took in around 11,000 children between 1864 and 1981.