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Quarrier's sex abuse trial hears evidence from staff

Greenock Telegraph, 17/03/2004

THE former superintendent of Quarrier's Homes agreed at a child sex abuse trial yesterday that the name of the charity had been "tarnished" in recent years.

Joseph Mortimer (72) was asked if he had ever heard "that terrible things" went on in the home.

He replied: "Personally, no."

Mr Mortimer, who retired in 1991, was giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow.

Alexander Wilson (61), a former plumber and house father at Quarrier's, denies sexually abusing eight children over a 19-year period beginning in the mid 1960s.

Mr Mortimer said the only time he had reason to discipline Wilson was once when he was smelling of drink.

Mr Mortimer, who lives in Quarrier's Village, said he had given evidence in two other cases against former house fathers.

The jury earlier heard eight women claim they were regularly sexually molested by Wilson.

Prosecutor John Martin told Mr Mortimer: "We've been told that the girls would sit round and decide themselves whose turn it was to go upstairs and be captured and abused by Wilson in his room."

Mr Mortimer said he had not heard this allegation before.

Margaret Nicholson (59), Quarrier's child care officer from 1966 to 1975, said Wilson's cottage, where 14 children lived, was "happy and relaxed compared to some others where the house parents were more strict."

Mrs Nicholson, of Kiltality village, Inverness-shire, who worked as a policewoman before joining Quarrier's, said she was not aware of anything happening that had caused her concern for the girls.

Wilson, of 8 Carsemeadow, Quarrier's Village, denies 16 charges of sexually abusing eight girls between the ages of four and 15. The Crown dropped charges of rape. The trial continues.

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