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Children's care-home worker guilty of sex abuse.

Dan McDougall Crime Correspondent, The Scotsman, 09/11/2002.

A CHILDREN'S care-home worker was jailed for eight years at the High Court in Glasgow last night for sexually abusing two boys who were in his care three decades ago.

John Porteous, 69, a former house-father at the Quarrier's Village children's home in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, was convicted of sexually abusing the youngsters between 1969 and 1977.

The trial heard that during his time at the home, Porteous had earned the nickname "The Beast of the Bell Tower" because he lured his victims - aged 8 and 12 - into the 150ft tower which dominated the village.

He asked the boys to go up the tower to "wind up the mechanism".

Sentencing Porteous yesterday, Lord Hardie told the pensioner there could be no doubt he had presented a "face of respectability".

He said: "It is clear from the discerning verdict of the jury that between 1969 and 1977, you had a more sinister side to your character.

"You abused two boys entrusted to your care over a period of eight years on numerous occasions.

"Those boys were entrusted to your care because they had personal difficulties and the last thing that was expected or needed was for you to add to their difficulties by sexually abusing them.

"These were children who came to regard you as a father figure and it is impossible to determine what psychological damage you have caused them in later life and we have heard evidence from some of them about that."

During the trial, the court heard that after allegations were made against him by the police last year, Porteous's wife, Helen, contacted former colleagues and residents of Quarrier's to speak up on her husband's behalf.

However, her plan to rally support for her husband backfired after one of the boys informed her he had been abused by him and went to the police.

At the time Porteous worked at Quarrier's, the children, most of them orphans, were organised into houses, each of which contained about 14 youngsters.

House-mothers and fathers lived with the vulnerable youngsters, making their meals and giving them all the love and affection they lacked in the outside world.

Last year, another former Quarrier's carer, Samuel McBrearty, was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow of subjecting three girls to a seven-year campaign of abuse.

McBrearty was convicted of rape and indecency after a jury found him guilty of committing the offences against two seven-year-old girls at the Quarrier's home in the 1960s.

During the case, the court was told that he would slip out of the bed he shared with his wife and cross the corridor to the girls' room and attack them.

Following his arrest, he was asked by police, on tape, why he thought the victims had come forward after more than 30 years.

McBrearty replied: "These were very damaged children, abandoned by everyone except us. They could have been so damaged that we were the only people they remember."

During the hearing, one of his former victims, a 47-year-old woman from East Lothian, said she had never been able to have a sexual relationship with a man and had twice tried to kill herself.

Quarrier's Village was built in 1878, when William Quarrier, a philanthropic, Glaswegian shoe magnate, bought the land for the purpose of creating a children's village for poor and orphaned youngsters.

 

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