Five face trial over historic Falkland school abuse charges

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Five men will stand trial next year accused of abusing pupils at a school run by the Christian Brothers in Fife between 1970 and 1983.

The men, aged between 61 and 77. are accused of physically and sexually abusing boys at the former St Ninian’s School in Falkland.

The accused are John Farrell, 72, Paul Kelly, 63, Edward Egan, 77, Michael Murphy, 75, and William Don, 61, from Leven. They all deny the charges against them and have lodged pleas of not guilty.

On Wednesday at the High Court in Glasgow only Farrell was present when the trial date was set. The others were excused attendance.

Judge Lord Burns said: “The indictment runs to 23 pages and there are slightly less than 130 charges.’’

He fixed the trial for April 4 at the High Court in Glasgow. It is expected to last for a number of weeks as there are 127 charges involving more than 40 alleged victims.

The Roman Catholic school was run by the Christian Brothers organisation until St Ninian’s closed in the 1980s.

Prosecutors allege a number of sexual attacks took place against pupils there.

Among other claims is an accusation that Kelly left a young boy rolled up in a rug overnight.

He is also alleged to have hung another pupil upside down from a bridge.

Farrell faces a charge that in the early 1980s he indecently assaulted a boy at a monastery on the island of Iona.

He is further said to have attacked the same boy at a Catholic church in Motherwell in 1999.