In 2013, a former child care worker for a Church of Scotland children’s home, Ian Samson, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for sexually abusing children from the 1970s to the 1990s in the various jobs he held. After his horrific abuse of children was brought to light, three siblings who stayed in the church-run home for kids in the 1970s, the Lord and Lady Polwarth Children’s House, in Edinburgh, Scotland, filed a lawsuit in 2018.
Their legal action eventually prompted a legal settlement from the Church of Scotland where the siblings split £1 million in damages. The sister and her two brothers, who cannot be named for legal reasons, released a statement that gave a glimpse of the nightmare they went through. “… raising a civil action in the courts was the only way we could get any sort of acknowledgement from the Church of Scotland. It’s a shame that an organisation which promotes ‘goodness and morals’ can’t do the right thing themselves and hold their hands up and apologise rather than force victims to go endure further legal proceedings. We nearly gave up so many times in getting the Kirk [i.e. church] to accept responsibility so we’re delighted this is now over and have the justice and closure we need to get on with life as best we can…”
They’re correct. Righting one’s wrongs is something that Christ taught his disciples to do in a spirit of humility. He even gave an example of that from a legal proceedings standpoint when he stated this in Matthew 5:25-26:
Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
The Church of Scotland, which has been in a spiritually backslidden state for awhile now, chose not to heed this basic principle of love from the Lord and has truly “paid the uttermost farthing” for their lack of humility or love when they could have made peace out of court. The sister will now get £500,000 for her troubles while her two brothers will split £250,000 each for theirs.
Sources: Ilona Amos, Siblings who suffered sexual abuse in Church of Scotland children’s home win £1 million payout, The Scotsman, April 30, 2019.
Andy McLaren, Abused siblings win £1m in damages from Church of Scotland, STV News, April 30, 2019.