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New sex abuse and cruelty allegations are linked to notorious charity village

Ten face charges after children's home probe

By Patricia Kane, Sunday Mail 21/03/2004

FRESH sex abuse and cruelty prosecutions are to be brought against ten people linked with Scotland's most notorious children's home.

A second police probe has led to seven ex-houseparents aged between 65 and 85, and three former child residents of Quarriers Village, in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, facing court.

Operation Orbona - named after the mythical god of children and orphans - follows previous convictions of ex-employees who seriously abused their position while in charge of youngsters.

The inquiry is now so extensive that officers are consulting the Home Office Major Enquiry System (HOMES), used only for Britain's largest investigations.

The ten have been reported to the procurator fiscal and four appeared at Greenock Sheriff Court last week on sex charges.

A harrowing experience

Ex-residents Robert and, Thomas Dalrymple, now aged 40 and 38, from Ayrshire, andtheir sister, Roberta Cooper, now 42, from Livingston, West Lothian, have been accused of lewd and libidinous acts The brothers also face charges of attempted rape.

Ex-houseparent Ruth Wallace, 69, from Bridge of Weir, is accused of cruelty, from allegedly putting children in cold baths to locking them in cupboards. She also faces a charge of procuring children for abuse.

At its peak in the 1920s and 1930s, Quarriers - several dozen cottages in a village created by committed Christian William Quarrier in the late 1800s - housed more than 1,500 children.

Many who were orphans or born illegitimately benefited enormously from living in the small homes which were headed by two responsible houseparents.

But by the late 1950s, according to witness testimonies, many childhoods were being destroyed by a culture of child abuse.

The Orbona inquiry has taken officers all over the UK and even reached North America, where one male complainer now lives.

The probe began two years ago after police received a letter from a person alleging to have been the victim of sexual assault at Quarriers.

It is believed the complaint followed publicity over 75-year-old Samuel McBrearty, who was jailed for 12 years in 2001 for raping two girls and indecently assaulting a third during the 1960s.

His abuse lasted seven years and began when the girls were aged eight, ten and 11. Another former houseparent, Joseph Nicholson, was jailed for two years for abusing a 13-year-old girl at Quarriers during the late 1960s.

Three others have been convicted, including Alexander Wilson, 61, found guilty last week of sexually molesting eight girls over a 19-year period from the, mid-1960s.

Last night, a police source said: "What has been uncovered in Orbona has been a harrowing experience for the officers involved in the inquiry."

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