FORMER BBC presenter was frequently invited to Fort Augustus Abbey by Benedictine Order monks.
The Daily Record
07:42, 1 AUG 2013
Updated13:35, 1 AUG 2013
(Photo: Daily Record)
PREDATOR Jimmy Savile was a frequent guest of monks at the Catholic boarding school at the centre of a sex abuse scandal.
The serial sex attacker regularly drove to Fort Augustus Abbey at a time when ex-pupils claim they were being terrorised by some of the monks.
A BBC TV investigation, Sins of the Fathers, this week alleged that nine monks at the Benedictine Order school repeatedly beat, sexually assaulted and, in one case, raped boys in their care over several decades.
Victims of the abuse complained but their testimony was ignored and covered up. Police are now investigating.
Savile, who is known to have attacked scores of young girls and boys during decades of abuse, would park his Rolls-Royce, registered JS 247, at the school gates before swanning around the grounds.
The former BBC presenter, known to have abused children at schools on other occasions, was invited to Fort Augustus on several occasions, according to pupils there.
Disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien, a good friend of Savile’s, was also a regular visitor at the school.
The revelations of Savile’s visits to the school came as it emerged that many more pupils have stepped forward to claim they, too, were victims of monk teachers.
Savile spent much of his time in the Highlands even before buying a cottage in Glencoe in 1998, which was just over an hour’s drive from Fort Augustus.
He was photographed in the library of the school in 1970, looking at ease in a striped boating blazer.
A Metropolitan Police report into allegations of sexual assault by Savile found the presenter and DJ was a “prolific, predatory sex offender” who abused more than 200 people over a 60-year period.
He died aged 84 in October 2011.
Savile was a massive celebrity in the Highlands and was honorary chieftain of Lochaber Highland Games for nearly 40 years.
After buying his cottage, he entertained guests there, including Prince Charles.
After Savile’s huge catalogue of sexual crimes came to light following his death, his cottage was repeatedly attacked by vandals. It was sold in February this year for £203,000.
A converted Range Rover Savile may have used to abuse young girls failed to sell after a hate campaign.
The 1978 Carawagon estate – complete with double mattress in the back – was bought for £3000 in 1978 and was fitted with a bed, wash-hand basin and curtains.
Alan Draper, an academic and former adviser to the Catholic Church in Scotland on child protection issues, said he was not surprised at the new claims emerging.
He added: “I’m not sure I would wish to make any specific comment on Jimmy Savile’s connection. He was a well-known Catholic and he did a lot of charity work but it has also emerged that he was a sexual predator.
“It would be impossible without proper evidence to connect the two.
“However, I am not surprised that more victims have come forward. I thought the BBC documentary was quite sensitively done and moving and sometimes this treatment can encourage victims to come forward after many years.
“I would hope the police investigation would result in charges being brought against anyone who might still be alive who is accused of criminal behaviour.
“I also believe that any abbot or person involved in covering up such offences should be subject to criminal charges.”
The BBC documentary claims one priest was allowed to move from Fort Augustus to his native Australia, where church bosses were none the wiser about allegations made against him in Scotland.
He was suspended by the Australian church after the BBC tracked him down. More than a dozen former pupils at Fort Augustus and its feeder school Carlekemp, in East Lothian, have come forward to back up Monday’s heart-rending tales of abuse at the hands of several monks, some of whom are still alive.
Five men claimed on the Sins Of Our Fathers documentary that they were raped or sexually abused by Father Aidan Duggan, an Australian monk who taught at Carlekemp and Fort Augustus between 1953 and 1974.
Duggan died in 2004 but some abuse claims relate to men who are still alive.
Donald Macleod, who attended Fort Augustus from 1961, said he was raped by Duggan when he was 14 but was not believed.
The investigation also uncovered allegations that Fort Augustus was used as a “dumping ground” for problem clergy who had confessed to abusing children.
O’Brien, who was forced to leave Scotland earlier this year after being forced to admit to inappropriate sexual behaviour, was guest of honour at the school’s old boys’ dinner last year.
The cardinal, who resigned as archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh in February after the allegations of sexual misconduct, also appeared at several prestigious events at the school, where some of the monks who now stand accused were also in attendance.
After Savile’s crimes were known, O’Brien demanded the disgraced DJ be stripped of his papal knighthood – bestowed in 1990.
The pair met when O’Brien was priest at St Patrick’s Church in Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, in 1971.
Savile was a regular visitor because his mother Agnes was friends with O’Brien’s colleague, Fr Denis O’Connell.