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Leading private school sued for return of fees over whale stick abuse allegations

St Aloysius crest
St Aloysius crest

A former pupil at a top private school is suing for repayment of his fees, claiming he considered suicide after being whipped with a whalebone stick until his hands bled.

The man, who attended St Aloysius’ College in Glasgow in the late-1970s, says he was traumatised after events at the school, which also included witnessing a priest commit a sexual act in a confession box.

The former pupil, now 56 and whom we are calling John, has launched a legal action against the Jesuit order that ran St Aloysius, which has been at the centre of historical allegations over the past two years, and says he wants his £5,000 fees paid back and an apology.

He attended the school from 1976 to 1980 and said: “The school had a system whereby you could be belted with a ferula, a stick made from whalebone and leather, for the most minor offence, such as your tie not being straight.

“Some priests were more sadistic in its use than others. One would make space and take a run at you. I remember an instance, aged 13, where I was belted so much my hands burst and I was covered in blood.

“I was given a bill, as it was known, for six ferula on the last day of corporal punishment in Scotland after being caught smoking. I couldn’t cope with the thought of being the last person in the country to get the belt and went to a bridge over the motorway and stood there considering taking my life.

“A group of girls approached and began speaking to me, quite randomly, and probably saved me.”

Daniel Canning of Thompsons Solicitors said: “John has shown remarkable courage in coming forward and disclosing the terrible abuse he suffered at St Aloysius as a child.

“I would appeal to those currently in charge of the school to meet with myself and John as soon as possible to bring these matters to a close.”

St Aloysius said it was “unaware of the allegations as they relate to a time when the school was run by the Jesuit order”.

The Jesuits said they were “unable to comment on an ongoing case”.