A report by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) has found Benedictine monks at two Catholic schools sexually, physically, and emotionally abused children.
Findings by Inquiry chair Lady Smith were published on Wednesday, following evidence heard of child abuse at both Fort Augustus Abbey School, Invernesshire and Carlekemp Priory School in North Berwick.
After hearing evidence from 43 witnesses, the Inquiry found that "children were sexually abused at both schools" by a number of monks who were "serial sexual predators" moving between schools to target victims.
"Children were cruelly beaten by sadistic monks at both schools, and some beatings had sexual overtones. Children were humiliated and punished inappropriately and excessively", Smith stated in her report.
The systems, policies, and procedures in place at the two institutions were also examined along with how these were applied, to determine whether systemic failures enabled abuse to happen.
The study found that when some children spoke up about being abused to monks in positions of responsibility they received either "non-existent or inadequate responses."
"Knowing that they would not be believed, other children refrained from complaining about abuse. Complaints made to devout-Catholic parents were rejected because they would not accept it was possible that Catholic monks would abuse children," Smith said.
These findings are the second in a series of three sets of case study findings in relation to the provision of residential care for children by male religious orders in Scotland.
Lady Smith said a lack of training meant the monks didn't have the "capacity and ability to look after children on a residential basis" and concluded that "the notion that untrained monks could care for school-aged children was seriously flawed."
An imminent final report and recommendation will take into account all the evidence gathered by the Inquiry.