Category Archives: Christian Brother Paul Kelly

‘Screaming was pointless,’ survivors tell of school abuse by Christian Brothers

‘Screaming was pointless,’ survivors tell of school abuse by Christian Brothers

ITV Report

By Peter Smith, Scotland Correspondent
22 July 2016 at 12:27pm

From the Link:

John Farrell (left) and Paul Kelly outside court

John Farrell (left) and Paul Kelly outside court

The Christian Brothers were meant to be men of God – a religious order within the Catholic Church.

At their St Ninian’s school in Fife, though, two of the Brothers were men of unspeakable cruelty who stole innocence from children and left the deepest scars.

John Farrell and Paul Kelly were today convicted of 11 counts of sexual and physical abuse against six children in their care. Children as young as 11. The pair were doing it with impunity through the 1970s and 80s.

Survivors of their crimes told me how they did it.

“There was a strategy of ‘good cop, bad cop,” says one man who doesn’t want to be identified. “Kelly would go out of his way to be horrible to me – scare me, punish me. We were children in care so we were alone – just scared wee boys.

“Then Farrell would step in. He’d put an arm round you and and act like your best pal. He’d invite you to go into his room to help him with a chore and then he’d tell you to spend the night with him. That’s how he got me in. Then he started touching me.”

There was no point in shouting or screaming because nobody would hear you.

And if they did hear you they’d know what was going on, so screaming was pointless.


Until now Farrell and Kelly have been free men, walking the streets with a clean record. Those they abused, however, told me they have been prisoners of their torment for more than three decades.

Some have suffered mental health problems, others alcoholism.

Another former St Ninian’s pupil explained to me how he still suffers. “This has an affect on your whole life,” he says. “It’s affected every single relationship I’ve had as an adult. There are nightmares, flashbacks. It never leaves you.”

The Christian Brotherhood has a particularly grim record of child abuse. They’ve paid out millions of pounds to victims after thousands of allegations emerged in Ireland, America, Canada, and Australia.

This, however, is the first conviction of Christian Brothers in Scotland. As yet there has been no apology from the Brotherhood for these crimes.

While Farrell and Kelly face prison time when they are sentenced, there are others who say they were abused at St Ninian’s by men who have never been prosecuted.

David Sharp told me he was taken to Ireland to be passed around for abuse at parties.

I am still campaigning for justice. This only scratches the surface.

Until these people, the perpetrators, are caught, justice is done, and the Christian Brothers and the Catholic Church come out and show a meaningful apology then I can’t get on with my life.


Farrell and Kelly used to brag to their victims that no one would listen to them against men of God. Today, after more than three decades, the survivors of the St Ninian’s abuse were at last heard.



Boys abused under residential school’s brutal regime

Boys abused under residential school’s brutal regime

From the Link:

Two former teachers have been convicted of sexually and physically abusing boys at a residential school in Fife in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Paul Kelly, 64, of Plymouth, was convicted of seven charges and acquitted of 22, while John Farrell, 73, of Motherwell, was found guilty of four and acquitted of 18 charges.

Paul Kelly and John Farrell were supposed to care for the pupils at St Ninian’s.

Instead, when they taught at the school in the late 1970s and early 1980s, they sexually and physically abused six boys between the ages of 11 and 15.

St Ninian’s, which was located in the Fife village of Falkland, was a “List G” state school for troubled children, run by the Christian Brothers organisation.

Most of its pupils came from Glasgow, Dundee and Perth and many were from broken and abusive homes, and had been in some kind of trouble themselves.

St Ninian’s was supposed to give them a chance at life.

But for the boys preyed on by Kelly and Farrell, they were denied that chance.

As well as being indecently assaulted, boys also suffered under a brutal regime of corporal punishment.

They were repeatedly punched, kicked and hit with belts.

In one case, a boy’s head was slammed off a sink.

After St Ninian’s closed in 1983, Farrell, from Motherwell, and Kelly, who latterly lived in Plymouth, seemingly went on to lead normal lives.

Past crimes

Farrell, who joined the Christian Brothers at the age of 18 and was eventually appointed head teacher at St Ninian’s, became a priest, while Kelly continued to teach.

But their past crimes came to light in 2012 after some former pupils independently came forward to talk about their ordeal.

However, there were challenges.

Ch Insp Nicola Shepherd, of Police Scotland, said: “Detectives turning up at someone’s door after 40 years and asking about something traumatic – and in many cases something they’d chosen to forget – we are very aware that these victims needed a lot of support, which they received, and we are aware it’s been a difficult time for them.

“I don’t think there are words to describe how horrific and systematic this abuse by Farrell and Kelly of these boys quite was.”

After an investigation lasting several years, the pair were charged and went on trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

As the trial got under way, the former pupils – now in middle age – relived the horror of what happened at St Ninian’s, as they recounted their stories in the hope that their abusers would face justice.

Following their conviction, Farrell and Kelly face lengthy jail terms.

For the former pupils who suffered at the hands of the pair, they may feel justice has been served.

But the horrific memories of what happened to them at St Ninian’s will probably never fade.