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Catholic leadership's great betrayal over shocking sex abuse of children

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IN 1976 in North Ayrshire the destinies of two children briefly kissed one afternoon and then spun off into different universes. A little clutch of infants from a Dreghorn nursery had been taken out to marvel at the huge papier mache shark displayed in a shop window to mark the arrival of Jaws at the local cinema. One of them would become the most powerful person in Scotland; the other would encounter a childhood and youth of unimaginable physical and sexual abuse by priests of the Catholic Church.

Andi Lavery remembers his little classmate Nicola Sturgeon well. She would always politely say hello as they passed each other in the street. At some point, though, the young Andi stopped responding to these greetings and became sullen, for by then his abuse at the hands of Fr Paul Moore had begun. He was five years old. He wonders how his life might have been if, like Nicola Sturgeon, he had gone up to Dreghorn Primary School and not St Mark’s where this predatory priest lay in wait.

At the High Court in Glasgow last month 82-year-old Fr Moore was convicted of sexually abusing three children and a student priest in crimes that spanned more than two decades. He has now appealed his nine-year sentence thus prolonging the agony of his victims. Andi Lavery was the main witness in the trial and the youngest of those victims. The sexual abuse he suffered both as a child in Ayrshire and as a teenager at Fort Augustus Abbey outside of Inverness is of the most appallingly brutal kind, including violent rape. Fort Augustus, it seems, was long known among the highest........

© Herald Scotland