Salmond alleged to have sexually assaulted staff members in Bute House
The former Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, pictured left, has described sexual misconduct allegations against him as “patently ridiculous” and has promised to give an interview later today to BBC Scotland. The claims date back to December 2013, when Mr Salmond was still in office, according to the Daily Record.
In a statement, Mr Salmond said he was taking the Scottish government to court to challenge the complaints procedure which had been activated against him. The Scottish government said it would “defend its position vigorously”. And it said it was vital that any allegations of harassment were treated seriously and investigated thoroughly, regardless of who was said to have been involved.
The Daily Record said Mr Salmond was reported to police over allegations he sexually assaulted two staff members at the first minister’s official residence at Bute House in Edinburgh in December 2013. A Police Scotland spokesman said the force was “not going to comment on whether an inquiry is ongoing.”
Mr Salmond, who had two spells as leader of the pro-independence SNP, led the devolved Scottish government as first minister from 2007. He quit in the aftermath of the independence referendum in 2014, when Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom.In his statement, Mr Salmond says he refutes all of the allegations against him. He did not say what the claims were, but described some of them as being “patently ridiculous”. He also said that “on the advice of Senior Counsel” he had been complaining to the Scottish government’s permanent secretary, Leslie Evans, that the complaints procedure was “unjust” and “unlawful”.
Tonight Tom Gordon, political editor of The Herald, reported that the Scottish Government’s top civil servant had hit back at Alex Salmond, accusing him of “significant inaccuracies” in his statement on sexual misconduct. Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans also revealed the former First Minister had attempted to gag her from publicising two complaints against him. She said she informed the former SNP leader of her decision to go public on Wednesday, and that he had instigated legal proceedings the following day, causing a delay.
However, Mr Salmond later dropped the proceedings, allowing her to speak out.
Mr Salmond has strongly denied wrongdoing, claiming some of the allegations “ridiculous”. He maintained he had never been involved in any “criminality”. He has also announced a judicial review of the Scottish Government’s handling of the complaints process, singling out Ms Evans for criticism. In a lengthy response issued by the Scottish Government, Ms Evans said she had received two complaints against Mr Salmond in January and informed him in March.
Nuns arrested and charged with abuse at children’s home
Twelve people, some of them nuns, have been arrested over claims of abuse at a former children’s home in Lanarkshire, according to reports from BBC Scotland.
Police said 11 women and one man – all aged between 62 and 85 – had been charged in connection with the abuse of children at Smyllum Park in Lanarkshire
The home, which closed in 1981, was run by a Catholic order known as Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.
Police said a further four people were due to be reported to the Crown Office in connection with their investigation.
Smyllum Park, pictured left, took in more than 11,600 children over the course of its existence from 1864 to 1981. It has been hit by claims of sexual and physical abuse and is being investigated as part of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI). Police Scotland said the allegations related to non-recent abuse of children. It is not known how many of those arrested are nuns. A spokeswoman said: “Twelve people, eleven women and one man, ages ranging from 62 to 85 years, have been arrested and charged in connection with the non-recent abuse of children.
“All are subject of reports to Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal. A further four individuals will be reported today. Inquiries are continuing.”
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, which is investigating allegations of abuse against children in care across Scotland, has heard from former residents at the home, who described suffering beatings, abuse and mistreatment.
The inquiry is being heard before High Court judge, Lady Smith. She is due to publish her report into the allegations surrounding Smyllum Park in the coming weeks.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said it had instructed police to investigate the allegations of abuse at care institutions across Scotland.
A spokesman added: “As a result of those investigations, COPFS received information from Police Scotland which was considered by our expert team, in consultation with Police Scotland, and it was determined that further investigation was required into allegations against a number of individuals relating to the Daughters of Charity.
“It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”