Northern Ireland news

Paedophile doctor referred kids to Kincora after 1972 conviction

Morris Fraser, a former Belfast psychiatric doctor and convicted paedophile
Brendan Hughes

A CONVICTED paedophile was allowed to work as a child psychiatrist at a Belfast hospital in the 1970s after a catalogue of failures and cover-ups, a new study claims.

Dr Morris Fraser was a senior psychiatric registrar at the Royal Victoria Hospital's child guidance clinic from 1971-73, and a published author on the impact of the Troubles on children.

In 1971 Fraser came to the attention of the RUC for sexually abusing a 13-year-old Belfast boy in London, and was convicted in London the following year.

But it has been claimed that the RUC and Metropolitan Police failed to inform the Hospitals Authority and he continued to work at the Royal.

Until 1973 Fraser allocated children to homes including Kincora in east Belfast where dozens of boys were abused.

Kincora abuse victim Richard Kerr has previously claimed he was abused by Fraser in his office.

However, Fraser's role has never been looked at in previous government reports into Kincora.

Alleged failings are examined in a new academic study by Dr Niall Meehan, head of the journalism and media communications faculty at Griffith College Dublin.

It alleges that the RUC, Metropolitan Police and General Medical Council withheld from the public important information about the child abuser.

On Thursday, Dr Meehan said he believes that some children could have been saved from abuse if Fraser's offences had been treated more seriously.

"Had he been suspended from his job when he was convicted then children who had been abused might have been saved from a life of abuse and exploitation," he said.

"The authorities in Northern Ireland have questions to answer, particularly the RUC, who appear to have failed to alert the hospital authorities that a prominent psychiatrist was guilty of abuse and allowed to remain in post."

Under his conviction in London, Fraser was bound over not to re-offend for three years.

However, in May 1973 he was arrested in New York and the following year was convicted of several child abuse offences.

From 1973 the General Medical Council (GMC) considered his fitness to practice following his London conviction.

But in 1975 it ruled that he could continue practising medicine without restrictions.

The GMC ignored Fraser's US offences and looked only at his British conviction. Fraser was accused by the GMC of engaging in a single act of abuse in London, but the study claims he had a co-accused who abused another Belfast boy at the same time and place as Fraser.

Fraser was jailed for a year in 1992 after being convicted of possessing child pornography.

He 'voluntarily' ceased to be a doctor in December 1995, and is thought to currently live in Amsterdam.

Kincora abuse claims are being examined as part of the north's Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

While three staff members were convicted in 1981, it has long been alleged that well-known figures in the British establishment – including senior politicians – were also involved.

But the British government has refused to allow Kincora to be investigated as part of the more powerful UK historical abuse inquiry headed by Justice Lowell Goddard.

Last year the PSNI refused to disclose through Freedom of Information laws whether it holds any details on Fraser, citing reasons including "national security".

Dr Meehan said the Goddard inquiry should examine Kincora, while the Northern Ireland inquiry must look at Fraser's role.

"Both inquiries will not be doing their jobs properly if they don't find the means to investigate abuse in both Northern Ireland and Britain," he said.

:: Child Abuse, Corruption and Collusion in Britain and Northern Ireland, by Dr Niall Meehan, is published on Friday by Spinwatch.

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