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Child rapist jailed for 12 years

BBC News Scotland, 28/09/2001

A former childcare assistant who raped and sexually assaulted girls in his care has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Samuel McBrearty, now 70, carried out the attacks when he worked at the Quarriers children's home in Renfrewshire in the 1960s.

Passing sentence at the High Court in Glasgow, the judge Lord Reed said McBrearty had committed "appalling offences against vulnerable children in his care".

He said: "No matter how long ago the offences were committed they have to be treated as the most serious of crimes. They can cause long-term psychological damage and can devastate lives."

McBrearty was found guilty on eight charges of raping and sexually assaulting three girls at the children's home between 1961 and 1968.

Defence QC Edgar Prais said that since the 1960s McBrearty had "only done good for society at large" and was being supported by his family, colleagues and community.

McBrearty's family issued a typewritten statement to waiting journalists saying they were distraught at the outcome of the trial and that they still believed in his innocence.

His treatment of the children went undetected for almost four decades and he rose to be a respected senior social worker in Aberdeen until he retired in 1995.

House father

During a three-week trial, which ended earlier this month, the High Court in Glasgow heard how McBrearty would go into the beds of girls living under his care.

He was a house father at Quarriers Homes, Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, where he and his wife Joan were in charge of a home for orphans and abandoned children.

The jury heard that McBrearty, dressed in his pyjamas, would creep into the girls' room and abuse them.

Giving evidence from behind a screen one of the rape victims told the court "this is the nightmare I have been carrying for 40 years".

Charges of indecency

All three victims, now mothers, in their late 40s and early 50s, had spoken of what they said were "commonplace" beatings in McBrearty's house.

Charges of indecency against two other victims who shared the same room as the other three were earlier withdrawn.

The abuse began in 1961 when the victims were aged eight, 10 and 11 respectively.

The court heard that the victims were amongst 16 children housed in one of the 30 detached villas which made up the Quarriers Village.

They had their own school, hospital, church, playing facilities, including a swimming pool and boating pond, and the village ran the various youth organisations like cubs, guides and scouts.

In his defence, McBrearty had claimed he was "astounded" by the allegations.

His defence counsel had suggested the women, two of whom are suing the charity which ran the home, had conspired against him.

The father-of-three worked his way up to become a senior social worker in Aberdeen after having originally been a joiner.

The abuse emerged three years ago when one of the rape victims, now 51, went to her lawyer about another matter and mentioned what had happened to her. She was advised to go to the police.

As a result, police contacted all the girls who had been in the same room and after making separate statements McBrearty was called in to be interviewed.

Asked by police on tape why he thought the girls should have come forward after this time, he said: "I cannot explain it. I totally deny it ever happened."

Quarriers Children's Home is now no more. Following a change in national policy for the care of children from large institutions to foster care it ceased to exist for its 500 children in 1968.

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