cath fox Dave Sharp – This is My Truth

Dave Sharp – This is My Truth

Dave Sharp asked if I wanted to hear his story of child abuse. I did and here it is.

It is a fascinating and story of how one person has been empowered to act and how those actions have reaped rewards. It shows that each person can take a stand and be counted and be effective. It shows that one person, each and every person can make a difference.

It is a familiar tale of abuse by those in authority in the church abusing their power and authority- this time the Catholic Church, the notorious Christian Brothers  see also posts on  Christian Brothers v Child Abuse Inquiry and others 2004 Jan 27 High Court Eire [9]and Survivors v Christian Brothers and others 2010 Oct 26 Court of Appeal [10]

Is is also a story about how other authorities, in place to help, failed him and failed in their job – the Police and Scottish Government. How long do we have to put up with this. In my view the most important thing is not about justice, certainly not in the way the Crown delivers it, it is not about compensation, it is about telling your truth.

Dave has been through “justice”, he has obtained compensation – importantly without succumbing to a non disclosure agreement, but still wants to tell his truth.

It needs no authority to believe you, it needs no authority to approve of your story, it needs no authorities lengthy and unjust legal process to go through to tell your truth… The more people that do tell their truth, the more we can piece together the horrific picture of what has happened so that it does not happen again.

We need more researchers, we need more bloggers, we need more survivors asking for their records as a subject access request, we need more people asking Freedom of Information questions about records and reports that the authorities have, we need more people pressurising MP’s, authorities and institutions. We need more people collecting links, we need more people archiving links. There are so many tasks to do. We have the numbers – we need to mobilise them. Can you help?

We need more people to just tell their truth – this is the most effective way, in my opinion,  that a survivor can not only empower themselves and begin healing, but make a difference for others as well. It is the best way to get the collective truth.

Do not be put off by how much Dave has achieved and think I can never do that. Take one step at a time. Each person’s story is valuable, anything on top is a bonus and you might surprise yourself.

Dave has started S.A.F.E to help survivors, more details here S.A.F.E. Booklet [2] S.A.F.E. is a group of historical child abuse survivors who have come together with their own money and their own experiences to take to the streets of Scotland to find other survivors who don’t know where to turn. Contact Also see the SAFE booklet for details of WellbeingScotland.

Here now is Dave’s Truth

My name is Dave Sharp and I am a survivor and a campaigner of historical child abuse. Just after I was born my mother died and I was put into the care of the Catholic church where I spent the first 16 years of my life. I was moved about a lot from home to home and even to this day I cannot seem to get hold of my records to finally be able to know where I actually was.

What I do know is that I was in Nazareth House, Kilmarnock and also Nazareth House in Bonnyrigg. At the age of 10 or 11 I ended up in St Ninian’s in Fife which was run by the Catholic order, the Irish Christian Brothers.

Almost from the day I arrived I started being abused. Most of the other boys had families and I was an orphan which meant I was an easy target for the bullies but more important I was a prime target for the predatory priests and brothers.

During the day I would get picked on by the young bucks who were out to impress the gang leaders and my nickname became the orphan. Very quickly I learned that trying to avoid them was impossible and I just had to learn to live with the beatings. When it came to bed time that is when the real horrors started. Most nights you would hear screaming or shouting coming from outside your room as the priests and Christian Brothers would run around dragging young boys out of their beds.

Every night I would pray that the wee boy in the bed next to me called Joe Daly would get picked instead of me and sometimes my prayer were answered and sometimes they weren’t. One day Joe suddenly disappeared of the face of the earth and I started asking everyone where he was. A couple of days later I was taken down to the shower rooms by one of the Christian Brothers and I was blindfolded and had my arms tied behind my back and I had a noose tied around my neck and I was hung from the shower. The Christian Brother said to me that if I did not do what he told me I would be murdered just like Joe and he then beat and raped me.

Over the next six years I was taken out of the home and I was trafficked all over Scotlandwhere I would be taken to houses in and around the Glasgow area with priests in them where I would be taken into a back garden and placed in a coffin with the lid put on and stones would be thrown onto the lid to simulate burial. I would be left in these coffins for long periods of time screaming then taken out and raped. I was also taken over to Ireland on several occasions where I was taken to a house along with other boys where there were Satanic sex parties going on where I was drugged and pelted with tomatoes and strawberries and had red wine poured all over me and raped by multiple men.

Just before my 16th birthday I was taken in a room and told that I was going to live with my father. I was too young to ask at the time why I had never seen him before but when I did meet him he told me that he had been told by the nuns that I had been adopted out to a family that had a farm with horses and my father had decided that he would not look for me.

When I was released from St Ninian’s within weeks my father started hitting me and telling me to go and look for work but I had no idea what he meant. On one occasion he picked up a brush and smashed it against my face and broke my nose. I found myself staying out on the streets more and more and I very quickly found something that could block out all the bad memories, Drugs. My life very quickly spiralled downwards and one morning before dawn I packed a bag and I fled to England.

I managed to find out where one of my brothers lived in Northampton and I stayed with him for a short time but I also found the place to be if I wanted drugs was the big city, London. Within weeks I had the equivalent of a £100 a day drug habit and I spent the next 25 years living a life of chaos and confusion running away from the horrors of my youth. I lived rough on the streets of London and many other places and when I was not sleeping rough I would find a bedsit or a squat or a homeless shelter and try and fit into my surroundings but found it impossible.

I tried to connect with my family and in particular my brother Thomas who lived in Northampton but relationships were impossible. I know now that I was running away from my childhood and the lifelong threat made to my by this evil man. I truly believed that any person I got close to that managed to get out of me what I knew then I would have been murdered. I was also in and out of prison and mental institutions and I suffered from many physical and mental health problems brought on by my ever increasing drug and alcohol use.

During this time I met and saw many children as young as 11/12 who had run away from home or had been kicked out of their home and they would end up on the streets of London. Lots of these children would disappear very quickly and a lot of the ones who stayed around would end up as prostitutes or rent boys. Thankfully I never did anything like that.

All these children would end up in London with just a rucksack to their name and every single one of them had the same things in their rucksack. A change of clothes and photographs of their families.

I will never ever forget the first time a small boy said to me as I was sitting by my campfire in some old derelict building, Dave will you watch my bag? I have a punter and I will be back in an hour.

After an hour he never came back and after two then three then four hours he still hadn’t come back. I couldn’t move because he was the only friend I had in the whole world and I was the only friend he had in the whole world. I waited all the next day and the day after that and after three days I suddenly realised that my friend was not coming back.

I cant remember how many rucksacks I ended up throwing away?

Sometimes I would wake up in some derelict building not remembering how I got there and when the light started to filter into the room I could see lots of abandoned rucksacks all over the floor.

Homelessness was tough. Many times I would manage to get myself into a bedsit or hostel somewhere but I had no social skills and I could not trust anyone. This was my life for the best part of 25 years. During this time I was stabbed three times and I once woke up in hospital with an axe in my head.

Then in 1997 I met Alice. My first real girlfriend. I had been with women before but they were all drug related. Alice was different. Alice didn’t do drugs. One day she told me she had some news for me and was teasing me all day and she finally told me she was pregnant and I just collapsed on the floor in disbelief. I did the honourable thing and I married her on the 20th of April. On the night of the 2nd of June exactly 5 weeks after we were married we went out for a meal and we were just like any other newly married couple. Holding each others hand while we ambled down loves highway. Alice was now 4 months pregnant.

When we got home we both went to bed and in the morning I woke to find Alice was lying on top of me and she was very cold and stiff. I got out of bed and I put the light on and to my horror she was many colours of blue. She was clearly dead. The doctor was called and the police were called and I was given some medication and taken straight into a mental hospital. I stayed for some time and was released for the funeral then taken straight back and eventually released. I later found out through the inquest that Alice had died of natural causes and the baby had also died. Alice was 23 years of age.

I found somewhere to live and I registered with a new doctor and I would turn up every week to collect my medication and things were going smoothly until suddenly all the child abuse started resurfacing. Suddenly I found I could not leave my room and I ended up taking amphetamines and vodka in mass dosages. One day the police turned up at the place I was staying and they found a rope around the light fitting and across the room in the other light fitting the ceiling was all torn down. It was clear I had once again tried to kill myself. The doctor eventually put me back into the mental hospital but this time things were different.

The doctors told me they knew a long time ago that I had been abused as a child but they could not get me to talk about it and many times I had in fact signed myself out of the hospital. They pulled out my medical records that showed at least five attempted suicides. One time I had jumped of a bridge at a train station and landed and broke both my legs and someone heard my screams and I was taken to hospital.

Another time I was up on the top of a multi storey car park where I had tied a rope around my neck and the police shut down most of the town centre and I was eventually encouraged down. I overdosed on drugs I don’t know how many times and when I think back at these times I actually struggle to which ones were genuine attempts of suicide and which ones were a cry for help.

The good thing is that I survived and I was now in a position to actually face up to what had happened to me. This time I was prepared to talk about it but I did not talk about the murder. This was buried deep in my mind and I could not talk about that. At this point I was very frightened and angry and I kept myself myself to myself. The doctors also told me that after all the things that had happened in my life I would be staying in the hospital for a long time.

That night when I was lying in my bed I did something I had never done before. I started to pray. I said God if you are there ,if you really exist then please help me. I cried myself to sleep not realising what was about to happen.

When I woke up and before I even opened my eyes all I could see in my head was a clear blue sky. I felt very peaceful and when I breathed in I felt that my chest was not as painful as it was when I fell asleep. My asthma seemed to have gone. The pain I had in my stomach from years of pain with stomach ulcers had eased.

I got out of my bed and I walked outside my room and I approached one of the doctors and I told him something had happened to me during the night and I explained how I felt and he told me I had been born again. He told me he was a Christian and was very happy for me. He told me that from this day forward my life would never be the same. I said to him that was interesting because during the night I had heard a voice tell me. If you do things my way you will have everything you ever needed. I went outside to have a cigarette and when I put it in my mouth it tasted horrible and I threw it away and I never touched another cigarette.

Over the next couple of weeks I couldn’t stop this urge to help people. I volunteered to make tea for everyone and within weeks I was released from the hospital. I was advised to contact the police and in that is what I did.

The police officer I spoke to laughed at me and told me that there had been lots of men who had been abused and come forward and that nothing had and nothing will be done about it. I did not expect the reaction I got and I started thinking a lot about all the people I met on the streets and in the homeless centres over the years who were Scottish, who had told me that they had reported their abuse to the police and to their local MPs and how nothing was done and this started to play largely on my mind. Something inside me stirred and I knew then that I was not going to let this drop.

As soon as I left the hospital I applied for a psychology course at the local college. Whenever I got the chance I would tell people about what had happened to me and how my life had changed. What I didn’t do was to stop and listen to God and what he wanted me to do. I ran around like a headless chicken and I didn’t listen to my heart. I tried to pick up my bible and read it but I was so hyper I never took anything in.

One day I was sitting long enough for God to speak to me and he told me that he wanted me to go and learn about the word of God. He told me he wanted me to get to know his son Jesus Christ. He told me he wanted me to go to Theology college and listen and learn.

I applied and got accepted into the Highland Theological college in the highlands of Scotland where I took an access course. In the evenings I would go out with volunteer church groups in the Inverness area who looked after homeless people and I started to find that I could connect with these people in a way that made them open up more. I found I could quickly identify with people who had been abused in childhood and my interest started to turn into something bigger.

I wanted to tell my story more and more and I focused more on the abuse I had suffered and how many people had been through the same experiences as me. I found myself running around in my own world and never finding the time to stop and take in what I was being taught at the college and I dropped out.

I managed to stay at the same church and one day I was asked if I would like to go to Brazil to be part of a team that was setting up a commune for homeless people in Sao Paolo and I was just overjoyed. I was also told that while I was over there they wanted me to give my testimony. Even when I was being told these things I knew something big was going to happen on this trip and I heard God speaking to me. Trust me he said. Trust me.

When I first arrived in Brazil and went on the streets of Sao Paolo I found a poverty that impacted me greatly . I also found people who had been abused in childhood and I was taken underneath the city where adults and young children live in desperate surroundings and where children of all ages are sold for sex. I also saw how people with nothing in their lives loved and depended so much on God and they showed me a love that I have carried with me my whole life since.

After just a couple of days I was asked to give my testimony on a radio show that had an audience of 5 million people. I did through an interpreter and I knew that this was the start of an incredible plan that God had for my life.

I found out that there was going to be a huge march against child abuse in the Catholic church in the city of Sao Paolo and I knew I had to be there and when we went there there were over 30 thousand people at this rally and it went on for miles. What stuck out for me was that I noticed there were lots of Scottish flags. I really believe and I still do that something was happening to me and this was a sign from God that I was going to be involved in working with survivors of historical child abuse in Scotland.

A few days later I was told that we would all be going on an all night prayer vigil right in the Amazon jungle. As soon as I was told this I knew that something big was about to happen. Even before I left for Brazil I know something big was going to happen. God spoke to me clearly and told me to prepare for something big and to trust him.

I remember we all got on a bus and we travelled for hours and the bus was full with lots of people standing and everyone was so happy and singing and clapping. The journey took hours and eventually we arrived at the edge of the Amazon jungle.

As soon as I got off the bus I fell to the ground and I felt a great fear come over me. All of a sudden I felt a great big demon inside of my body. This demon was a huge dragon like figure and he was chained to two big pillars. He was very angry and he was spitting hails of fire.

A pastor and an old lady came over and picked me and looked at me like they knew what had just happened and what was about to happen. We then started to walk into the Amazon jungle and an almighty battle started inside of me. This demon got louder and I heard God speak to me and praying over me. I started to hear bagpipes playing and the battle commenced. We walked and walked and I stayed on my feet while all this was going on.

All the way through the jungle I could hear the voices of many people from other churches who had joined us and there was much singing and wailing and screaming.

Eventually we got to a clearing and everyone stopped. Everyone started praying and many people fell to the floor wailing. I fell to my knees and I gave myself completely over to God. My eyes remained closed and I felt like I was on fire.

Suddenly a Pastor called my name and he asked me to look at his hands. On his palms he had a leaf from the ground which was glowing in a golden colour. He asked me to look at the ground and I was astonished to find the ground was covered in small gold stars. He looked at me and he said. The presence of God is all around. I was speechless. My whole body was burning up and I still had this massive war going on inside my body.

The same Pastor then got a group of woman together and he put them in a circle and he then went round and using his fingers he shut their eyes. He then stood in the middle of the circle and whichever woman he pointed to they fell to the ground.

He then asked a group of men to form a circle and he asked me to join it. He then walked around the circle and when he got to me he pointed his finger straight in my face and he asked. Dave. How are you feeling? I told him I was having this incredible battle going on in my body and he asked me how long I had felt like this and I told him. My whole life.

Suddenly he ushered everyone to gather around me and to lay hands on me.

The whole of my body was burning and the demon inside was trying so hard to release itself from the chains attached to the pillar and everyone was praying and suddenly there came a great big wind inside my body. I felt like I was being thrown around and the wind got heavier and and heavier and after some time a huge big gust of wind went through my body and I could feel this great bust of wind and then WOOOSH and in one movement the demon left my body and I fell crashing to the floor.

When I was on the floor I was out cold and for the next thirty minutes or so I saw the whole of the bible. I saw everything that God had wanted me to see and at the very end he showed me a light that was a whiteness that I cannot describe. I believe this was heaven.

When I woke up I never spoke a word to anyone and when we got back on the bus I sat in silence all the way back to where we were living and when we arrived I went straight to my bed and I stayed there for two days. During this time I was so filled with the anointing of the holy spirit. I had to get up out of my bed because sometimes it was too much to take in. Every so often someone would come in and give me food and water and it suddenly hit me that these people do this kind of thing all the time.

A pastor came in to speak to me and I told him what had happened when I fell to the ground and he told me he had heard of this happening to people. I told him that I now understood why God had chosen me to come here. I now knew how people who give their whole hearts to God will have their rewards in Heaven.

I also know why he sent his son Jesus Christ to show me the way the truth and the light. I knew why Jesus had allowed his body to be slashed and smashed in order that my sins be forgiven. I understood then that mans problem is the devil. Is sin.

Yes I had had a terrible start in life and all the paths I could have taken had been blocked and destroyed by devil men but through his blood on that cross Jesus told me and he is telling you that Calvary would and will defeat every power of darkness. Before I came to Christ every curse known to man and every curse given by man through satan was thrown at me but when I came to Jesus every curse was broken,every curse was stopped.

Whether you are a victim of child abuse or a lost child of this world let me tell you this. The devil does not have power over you. God has all the power and through his son Jesus Christ you too can find the way the truth and the life. Every bloodwashed spirit filled child of God in this world,the devil is scared to death of you. Because he that is within you is greater than he that is in this world.

Any sense or hope of love had been taken away from as a child. That is what happens to child abuse victims when you place your life in the hands of someone you believe will love you back. The Catholic church took that hope of love away from me and for the rest of my life I was not able to let anyone into my heart. Jesus Christ had the power through his blood to save me from that hopelessness.

Over the next couple of weeks I was invited to speak at various events. Some had huge crowds and eventually I had to prepare myself for going home. That trip to Brazil taught me a lot. All my life I had been the victim and here I was among people who didn’t even have a pair of shoes to their name and they put all their faith in one man. Jesus Christ.

When I got back home I felt God was telling me to prepare for hard work and to find somewhere to rest and be ready. I moved back down to Northampton and over the next few years I started doing more work with homeless people around Northampton and London and I kept on meeting people who had been abused in Scotland.

I started taking a bigger interest in Scottish politics and finding out what exactly was happening in Scotland as far as historical child abuse was concerned and I found myself having a lot of doors shut in my face and a lot of people who had been let down by various organisations and people in positions of power.

What kept me interested is that I was going round a lot of churches all over the UK giving my testimony and always finding Scottish people who all had the same story as me that they had tried to report their abuse but nothing had happened.

It was now 2002/2003 and the internet was now a huge source of information.

I soon realised that if you wanted information or facts on child abuse there were many countries who readily had this information available but when you try to get such information form any department in Scotland there was nothing. I also tried to make contact with the Catholic church but they ran me round in circles with false promises and hopes and I was often left feeling devastated.

I started going around the country and turning up at child abuse campaigns and demos and I met a lot of people who had the same passion as me and I waited to see what the Lord’s plan was for my life.

In 2010 everything changed for me and many survivors of historical child abuse. By this time I was in contact with many child abuse organisations and survivors who had been abused by the Catholic church in Scotland.

When the Pope made his visit to these shores his visit changed everything. I along with many survivors from Scotland felt so angry that he only apologised to the Irish Catholics on Irish soil and he did not admit to systematic cover ups and there was no apology to all the victims and survivors in Scotland. The anger and abandonment I felt at that time that run through my body was overwhelming. No sooner had he left the country I was on the phone to Cardinal Keith O’Brien the then head of the Scottish Catholics. I was invited to meet with him and then I was told that someone from the Christian Brothers would be coming over from Ireland instead to meet with me and when this Christian Brother came over in early 2011 he met with me and he looked me in the face and he told me that I was wasting my time trying to get any money from them or trying to get them to admit to any abuse.

I looked this man in the eyes and I said to him. You have something belonging to me and I want it back? What is that he said and I replied. My childhood and my heart. I told him that all my life I had walked around with the a concrete slab in my heart and that concrete slab was the hold that the Catholic church had on my life. I told this man that I wanted my life back. The meeting last just over 15 minutes and the man just got up and walked out.

When I got home I prayed to God for guidance and wisdom wherever this journey took me. I really believed at that point that these abusers need to be known to the world and I had to do everything I could to make sure they can never hurt another child.

By late 2012 I had met a number of men who claimed to have been abused in the same St Ninian’s as me and I decided I wanted to go to the police again and get them to investigate. When I called them I was shocked when someone at the end of the phone told me that no other men had come forward to report abuse at this home? I knew this was not the truth.

The police sent someone to my home in Northampton and they took a statement from me and I waited to hear back from them but after weeks and then months nothing happened.. I contacted other guys who had also made statements and they had not had any reply either.

At the same time I contacted Brother Edmond Garvey the Province leader of the Christian Brothers in Ireland and I told him that I had gone to the police and I was coming after them and that I wanted justice. I also contacted Cardinal Keith O’Brien again and I told him that I had gone to the police and I was seeking justice. Over the next 12 months I tried very hard to get anything constructive from the police and the Christian Brothers but their attitude was to just ignore me and hope I would go away. The Christian Brothers started sending me a lot of cryptic messages about the validity of my allegations and even invited me to come over to Ireland to “sort this mess out” but I refused.

I told them that I had a lot of information about myself and other boys being taken over to Ireland and this was now in the hands of the police.

I also tried contacting Cardinal Keith O’Brien but my calls were ignored or I would be told that someone would get back to but they never did. So many times I tried to get answers from the church the Christian Brothers and the police and I was getting no where.

By now I was starting to feel quite depressed and isolated and life became really hard. I was in the middle of a battle with the Roman Catholic church, The Scottish Government and the Scottish Police and I was getting the run around from all 3 of them. I prayed and I prayed and I didn’t give up and I became desperate for help and tried calling many child abuse agencies and finally I got through to Wellbeing Scotland. Shortly after I contacted them I was called one day to my total surprise by a woman called Christine who told me she was from Wellbeing Scotland. She told me she wanted to help me and I told her of what I had been through and we quickly developed a very trusting bond.

She also gave me the number of her colleague Sandra who she said I could also call if Christine was unavailable and over the next few months these two ladies were able to keep me at ground level and they both showed an amazing professionalism that has amazed me to this day. I started to find strength again with the help of these ladies who were able to help me to find answers to all the questions I had.

Christine managed to get the police to start giving me updates and I soon found my feet again to continue my campaign.

One day I called Christine and I told her I had something to tell her that I had never told anyone not even the police when I gave my original statement. I told her that I believed there had been a murder in St Ninian’s and I told her the story about the boy in the next bed to me. Christine told me she would contact the police and they then sent officers to my house to take another statement.

By early 2014 I had heard nothing back form the police. I was becoming very agitated at how I was being treated and the messages I was picking up about other people trying to come forward and so I decided that I was ready to go public and contact the press and see what would happen. I contacted the Scottish Daily Record and they splashed my story all over the front page of their paper. Traumatised Scot tells of horrific abuse as a child at the hands of priests at residential school [8]

A couple days later the reporter called me to say that they had received lots of calls from people who had made the same allegations as me and got nowhere and other people called wanting to speak to me and I said it was okay for them to give my number out. A couple of day later the same paper covered the same story with lots of other men who had come forward making the same claims that I was.

One day a man called me and he said to me my name is so and so do you remember me? I told him that I did not remember a lot from my time in that place. We spoke about St Ninian’s and I told him about the murder and he said to me. Dave. You have got it all wrong about the boy in the next bed to you Joe Daly. I asked him what he meant and he told me that Joe Daly had in fact committed suicide on home leave when he was 12 years old. He had been trying to get his family to believe that he was being abused but they had insisted that he go back and instead he hung himself. I put the phone down and I cried like I had never cried before. This is the boy that used to play table tennis every day with me and the only real friend I had and ever will have my whole life. This was also the boy that I had prayed would be picked instead me. I called the police again and I told them I had to know what had happened to this boy and the police got back to me and confirmed that Joe had committed suicide.

As soon as the police officer put the phone down I fell to the floor and cried my eyes out. I cried out to God. What do I do? What do I do with this. All my life had been a lie. I started asking God how could someone be so cruel as to do something like that to a child? How could this man tell such a lie and how could all those men do such wicked things in the name of the Catholic church that had such an affect on the lives of so many children? That night I cried out to God in anger. Why me? Why have I had such a terrible life? Why have all these bad things happened to me? What do I do now. I heard a voice calling back to me saying? What would Jesus do. So many times I heard God speaking to me and asking me this question when I felt like giving up. What would Jesus do? FORGIVE. A few days later I wrote this poem.


Pointed long tail blood curling red, with cow like horns that grow from his head.

He’s the master of hell with huge burning fires,where chained screaming souls who dared live with desires,

Were given to torture to scream and to yell. No let up from pain in the fires of hell.

And more souls arrive with each toll of the bell,for a lifetime of torture in St Ninian’s hell.

Years later in Heaven at the gates made of gold, he turns up in his tunic with his cross, standing bold.

In his moment of judgment hes expecting the nod, being assessed and soul searched this so called man of God.

Will he be accepted or will he be damned, to the door that’s marked HELL so loudly its slammed.

One minute says St Peter your dress is religious, but you cannot get in without Dave Sharp’s forgiveness.

So God calls me up and he speaks to my heart, which has been through hell and has been torn apart.

My dear son he says in order to live, you must open your heart and you must learn to forgive.

For in order to have the good life you have craved, show mercy and forgiveness and you will be saved.

Show courage and strength and be as brave as a lion. Together we will forgive Brother Ryan.

Now I walk in the sunlight barefoot and free. No devils dressed as priests to harm or haunt me.

I live in the moment with no fear of death .Rejoicing each heartbeat in the warmth of my breath.

Yes I walk in the sunlight knowing in decease. Brother Ryan and I walk with God in peace.

I sat down and I wrote an email to the leaders of the Christian Brothers and the Catholic Church and also to the leading politicians of Scotland and I told them that I was going to get justice for what had happened to me and all the survivors of historical child abuse in Scotland and I was not going to give up until there was a full public inquiry into historical child abuse in Scotland for all the children who had suffered like me. I also told the Catholic Church that they need to be seen to be a part of the healing process for all those men and woman who were drowning in a sea of neglect and abandonment.

I sat and thought about all the other stories I had heard from other survivors and how all the survivors in Scotland were clearly being treated wrong.

A few days later I had a banner made up which said “We the survivors will not go away we want a public inquiry“. I travelled up to Scotland and I stayed outside parliament for 4 days. Not one politician came out and spoke to me during the four days.

I never received one reply from any politician and I made a very determined promise to myself that I was going to get justice. I started to find out about various conferences and forums that were being organised by the government and other agencies in Scotland and got myself invited. I very quickly picked up that a lot of what the politicians were saying were not what they were delivering and I quickly divorced myself from these meetings. I quickly realised that a lot of the messages that were being sent out through these meeting were very very negative and it became quite clear to me that this was a tactic to stop people coming forward.

Shortly after I was called by Christine who told me that she had heard that there was something going on with my case. She told me that many other men had come forward and Operation Winterton was the name of the case. I started to get very excited that my own case was finally being taken serious and something was happening. At the same time I was part of a growing movement to have a full public inquiry in Scotland and I travelled up to Scotland and stood outside Holyrood at least two more times and started putting lots of pressure on all the politicians.

I was contacted by Brother Edmond Garvey of the Christian Brothers who said he wanted to meet with me and that he had found my records which I had been asking for many times and a meeting was arranged to be held at a hotel outside Manchester Airport. I really believed that all my campaigning had paid off and they were going to help me get my life back on track. I met him and he handed me a sheet of paper with one reference to a table tennis competition that I had been involved with. That was the sum total of my records. This man told me that if I wanted to get anything from them I would have to go through a lawyer and that I would have great difficulty getting a lawyer because of the time bar. This meeting was a sick way of trying to put me off my fight for justice. These people wined and dined me and were overly nice but it was all false and I just got up and walked out without saying a word.

Weeks later I switched on my tv one day and I was horrified to hear that Cardinal Keith O’Brien had been exposed as a sexual predator who had been praying on young priests.

This was the man who I had been in contact with for over three years. This was the man I believed had all the power to help all the survivors and he turned out to be a sex abuser. This was another blow to my campaign but I wasn’t giving up.

The Church might be more powerful than the government of this country but I had a story that had to be told and I had the truth on my side and I knew of many other people, men and woman who were suffering just like I had for many years.

This man was a law unto himself. His behaviour and his subsequent treatment was another example where the code of the Canon law was abused . Put simply the Canon law is how the church organises and governs itself. The word Canon basically means rule.

The churches laws have changed much in the 2000 year history. Even in the New Testament we see procedures for replacing an Apostle in Acts 1:15-26.

Judas betrayed Jesus and he allowed Satan to take over his life. At that moment Judas no longer had the guidance of God. He allowed profit and power to rule his heart and he paid the price for it.

For hundreds of years and even to this day we see example after example of Catholic priests and Bishops committing heinous crimes against children and they are somehow allowed to be covered by their own law.

This is why I fear for the Catholic church. This is why I believe God has called me into this ministry. I truly believe that Christianity must demand and help the Catholic church to turn its head towards Heaven and seek the guidance of God in order to find its path to Heaven and I truly believe that the only way it is going to do that is through the children abused in its care.

The church is trapped in a history of sin and is overwhelmed by its own power and wealth.

Proverbs 28:6 Better is the poor that walks in his integrity than he who is crooked though he be rich.

Proverbs 28 also says:1. The wicked flee when no one is pursuing but the righteous are bold as a lion.

We the children who were abused don’t want these people to flee all the way to hell. We want them to join us in Heaven at the feet of our almighty God.

Shortly after I decided to hold a vigil outside the Scottish parliament and we invited survivors to join us. We held a vigil to remember all the children whose lives had been taken or lost because of child abuse and we made sure all the politicians knew we were there.

A short time later I was contacted by a law firm in Scotland who said they wanted to represent me and help me in my fight with the Scottish government to receive a criminal injuries payout and not long after I was awarded a five figure sum of money.

I knew that I had been offered this money to shut me up but it just had the opposite affect. I felt really angry that they felt that this was all about money. I knew in my heart that this Ministry was not for sale. Praise God. I started asking questions as to how I was awarded this sum when my abuser was dead and he had been dead for many years and more importantly he had never been charged with any offence of child abuse and I also had lots of information about other boys who had also been abused by him and others and also why were the police so determined to not pursue my accusations of boys being taken over to Ireland? I knew then just as I know now that something wasn’t right and I knew more than I should and I was not going to stop because they had given me this money.

I used the money to my advantage and I kept up my campaigning. I kept the pressure on the politicians and I knew that there were now lots of people doing the same all over the country. I started meeting lots of other survivors and together we kept up the pressure. In 2013/2014 I stood outside parliament three times and I kept up the pressure on the Catholic church to help me get justice from the Catholic order the Christian Brothers by organising vigils and standing outside churches of prominence all over the UK demanding the Catholic church do more to help survivors abused in institutions. I found out where the Irish Christian Brothers administration offices and headquarters were in the UK and I would stand outside with a huge banner that said. Christian Brothers pay for your sins. I managed to get meetings with lots of people and I knew that what we were doing was starting to have an impact. By this time I had the full support of Janine Rennie the CEO of Wellbeing Scotland and it felt like there was a real movement throughout the country.

Eventually I found out that a date had been set for the trial of the men accused of abusing boys in the home I was in but the police called me and told me that I was not needed to go to court as the men who were in the dock were not there at the time I was there. This was shattering news for me. For over two years the police had taken me on this journey and led me to believe that I was very much involved in the case by calling me and asking me questions. Again I was so confused at the fact that I had been awarded criminal injuries but no one had been charged with any crime. To this day no one can tell me how that works.

In 2014 when the Scottish referendum was in full flow I stood outside the Scottish parliament for 10 days with a huge banner that said “FORGET THE REFERENDUM LOOK AFTER YOUR CHILDREN FIRST”. During this time I gave out over 1000 leaflets and almost 100 people came forward to tell me they had been abused as children in Scotland.

I also organised an all day vigil that was held outside St Andrews Cathedral in Glasgow the headquarters of the Scottish Catholic church where over thirty people turned up who were abused and we had a piper play Highland Cathedral in a minutes silence to remember all the children whose lives had been taken or lost because of child abuse in Scotland.

Later that year the court case started and the case took 8 weeks and two men were found guilty. The day the verdict came was a great relief for me and many other men who had been in St Ninian’s. It turned out that almost 70 men had come forward and gave statements to the police to report that they had also been abused in St Ninian’s which didn’t surprise me.

At the same time that this was happening the Scottish government announced that they were at last going to have a full public inquiry into institutional abuse. I was overjoyed. We had done it.

Straight after the case was finished I decided I had to keep up my fight for justice against the Christian Brothers and the Catholic church. When the leader of the Catholic church Archbishop Tagliatari came out in early 2015 and made a full apology to everyone who had been abused by the catholic church I immediately contacted him and demanded a meeting which I was granted.

At the meeting with Archbishop Tagliatari I went not as a representative but as a victim and I took with me all my medical records and I told him that I was not going to give up. I told him I wanted three things from him.

1. I wanted him to arrange a meeting between me and the Christian Brothers

2. I wanted him to help me get Christian counseling and to show all the survivors of historical child abuse at the hands of the Catholic church evidence that they could come forward and receive counseling

3. I wanted him to invite me to a service that was being conducted by him so that I could go in and feel that I could make my peace with the church and find some sort of closure so that I could move on with my life

I told him I wanted proof within six weeks that he was doing this and I never got a single response from him.

 See Daily Record Archbishop Tartaglia hears of abuse hell first-hand after victim given two-hour audience with Scotland’s senior Catholic cleric [6] 

I prayed very hard to ask God to guide me as to what I could next. I waited for a sign from God and one day I heard God saying to me. I want you to go and stand outside the headquarters of the Scottish Catholic church in Glasgow. St Andrews Cathedral. At first I laughed but it kept coming back and eventually I knew this what what God wanted me to do. I knew that I had to do something to show the Catholic church that I will not be ignored any more and that they cannot go on ignoring survivors. I decided that I was going to chain myself to a cross and stand outside St Andrew’s Cathedral for 10 days.

In the autumn of 2016 I arrived in Glasgow. I made a huge eight foot cross and I bought a chain and on the Sunday I walked down to the church before the service started and I stood outside the main door and I handed out a leaflet to every person walking into the church which said..

My name is Dave Sharp. I am a survivor of historical child abuse at the hands of the Catholic church. I spent the first sixteen years of my life in various Catholic run homes and at the age of 10 I ended up at St Ninian’s run by the Catholic order of the Irish Christian Brothers. During this time I was hung from a rope with my hands tied behind my back, blindfolded and raped. I was also taken out of the home and trafficked all over Scotland and Ireland where I was raped by many men. I have met the leaders of both the Scottish Catholic church and the Irish Christian brothers and they have both ignored my cries for help. Starting tomorrow and over the next 10 days I shall be standing outside the Cathedral chained to a cross as a statement of the hold the Catholic church has on my life.

The next morning I arrived along with my friend Sandra and I put up my cross and I chained myself to it. I set up my banner that said “Survivors of historical child abuse. Abandoned by the Catholic Church“. I stood there all day and many people stopped to ask what I was doing.

What surprised me the most was that people started coming from the church and telling me that they were happy at what I was doing and they wanted the subject of Historical child abuse to come out in the open. Many of these Catholics stood with me and asked me questions and even encouraged and wished me well. I knew at that point that I was going to be okay. I was fully committed to doing the full 10 days and it felt good that I was actually getting the support from the very people I thought I would upset.

Over the next couple of days many people came and spoke to me and the campaign got a lot of media attention. I waited to see if someone from the offices or from the priesthood would come out and speak to me but they chose to ignore me and so the stand off began.

By day 8/9 Sandra and myself had spoken to over 60 people who had came forward and told us they had been abused in childhood. Almost all of them at the hands of the Catholic church.

It became clear that the church was not going to yield and on day 9 I sent a message to the church to say that I had made a decision. I told the person to tell the leaders of the church that I was going to stay for 40 days.

On day 12 I received an email from Edmond Garvey who said he wanted to talk to me and I decided I had done enough to make these people stop and listen to me. The next day on the train home and I wrote this poem.

A Hard Reality is Gonna Fall.

Where have you been my God fairing son? Where have you been my loyal young one?

I went back to Scotland to spread your good word, but what I discovered was sick and disturbed.

I’ve been on the front line screaming your name. To get through to those people who are living in shame.

I’ve been in top voice to keep your truth alive. Praising and singing Psalm 20 v5.

I’ve been to a place where the sanctimonious and the pious ignore abused children the Glasgow Archdiocese.

And it was hard. Yes it was hard, for 12 long days but I didn’t fall.

And what did you see my God fairing son? What did you see my loyal young one?

I saw sad and scared Catholics who pleaded with me, to flood the hell fires and help set them free.

I saw through the sadness and fear in their eyes. Too guilty to look up to you in the skies.

I saw that they too had been abused and threatened. A people that knew that their end had been reckoned.

I saw through blacked windows those men in long robes, who siphon your word into disgraceful codes.

And it was hard. Yes it was hard for 12 long days to break down that wall.

And what will you do now my God fairing son? What will you do now my loyal young one?

I’ll stand strong against falsehood and if they knock me to the floor. I’ll bounce right back up singing Psalm 60 v4.

I will walk through the fires and aim for their hearts, and pray that their greed and their power departs.

I will kneel at their feet and I will read out your word, and I will stay there until I know it is heard.

And when they have heard it they will join me as proof. That your word is final and your word is truth.

And it will be hard. Yes it will be hard, but I know Gods word conquers all.

Your loving son.

Dave Sharp.

In May of 2017 I met the insurers of the Christian Brothers in Manchester. I told the lawyer representing me that I was not interested in signing any confidentially clause and after a meeting that lasted over 6 hours of the most disgusting destruction of my life and my family I was finally awarded a payment by the Christian Brothers.

As soon as I received the money I contacted Janine and Sandra from Wellbeing Scotland and I thanked them from the bottom of my heart for everything that they had done for me over the last 4/5 years but I also said that our work has only just begun. I told them about this idea I had about starting a new campaign group called S.A.F.E. and both Janine and Sandra said to me. We are right beside you Dave every step of the way.

I got in touch with one of the biggest law firms in Glasgow who I knew had a good record and history of dealing with child abuse cases. I spoke to one of the partners Pat McGuire. I asked him if he would like to join our campaign to provide legal advice going all over Scotland along with professional counsellers from Wellbeing Scotland going on the streets to look for and encourage survivors of historical child abuse to come forward and have their voices heard and the right to seek justice.

Pat McGuire saw how genuine and how sincere I was in my belief to make this work and he agreed right away to be part of our team.

Within days we had come up with our own brochure and on May 31st 2017 on the day the public inquiry into historical child abuse in institutions started in Scotland we all stood outside and we held a vigil to remember all the children whose lives had been taken or lost because of child abuse and we announced our new campaign.

The following day we turned up at George Square in Glasgow unannounced and over the next two days we spoke to hundreds of people and over 70 people came forward to say that they had been abused in childhood.

Over the following six months we took to the streets of Greenock where over 30 people came forward and we were allowed to set up a stall in the Gay pride weekend event in Glasgow Green where over 50 people came forward, and we were also asked to set up a stall at the Walk for Suicide day in Strathclyde park where over 30 people came forward.

We also went back to George Square and this time I invited survivor groups from Northern Ireland and England and Wales to join us and over 30 people came forward. Evening Times Child sex abuse survivors hold Glasgow rally to highlight atrocities they endured [7]

Just before Christmas I contacted one of the partners from Thompsons a lady called Lindsay Bruce and she told me that since we started working together over 200 people have been in touch with them.

Just after Christmas I sent an email to various people telling them that we had actually got more than 450 people to come forward and I received a phone call from Janine who said to me. Dave. You have got the figures wrong. I have been talking to Pat from Thompsons and the real figure is nearer 600. Praise God.

I have since started speaking again in public speaking where I can about what is happening in Scotland and trying to get people to help us get justice for all these poor souls who have just been abandoned.

Our next destination is going to be Dundee and I am praying with all of my heart that we can reach out to lots of people. [date]

This time I want to connect with the local churches and hopefully we can get the use of a church hall and on one of the evenings we can invite as many people as possible from the local churches, the homeless centres, the drug and alcohol units, the local child abuse agencies and lots of people from the local area to come and hear our testimonies and we can also have people talking about the public inquiry and Wellbeing Scotland and Thompsons and some local agencies.

Over the next six months to a year we shall be covering every corner of Scotland. We are hoping to connect with various organisations throughout the country and we will not stop.

My intention when I set up S.A.F.E. was that in order to get as many people to come forward and in order not to miss anyone I had to make sure that S.A.F.E. was non political and non religious and at the same time get my testimony of what Jesus Christ has done in my life out to as many people as possible. For more information on S.A.F.E see booklet [2]  Over the last couple of years I have found it more difficult to ignore the mood of the people on the streets of Scotland and to realise that the fight is with the political and the religious establishment of this country.

An American Catholic whistleblower said recently that Scotland is one of the few countries left where the Catholic church is actually more powerful than the Government and I fully believe this to be true.

No one can understand why the Catholic church has been allowed to continually turn its back on survivors and quite openly be able to shut anyone up who dares to come forward with a voice. What I experienced with my meeting with them was pure evil nothing more nothing less and I also believe they were in the pockets of Slater and Gordon solicitors in Manchester, who totally ignored my instructions for a counsellor to be at that meeting and also that I would not accept anything less than a six figure sum. The figure in the end was well short of this and even when I tried to raise a complaint I was just ignored.

The reason I speak about the money is because of two reasons.

1. I know I was and am a high profile survivor and campaigner and they knew I was not going to accept any kind of non disclosure signing and whatever I received I was going to go public with it because I was so high profile and everyone knew that in the last 20 years of campaigning it has never been just about me.

2. I knew and still do know of many men and woman in Scotland that have been given really small figures of money and warned and forced to sign these disclosures and the lawyer in Manchester even told me he has dealt in such dealings.

The reason so many survivors have gone down to England to seek any kind of justice is because the government in Scotland stubbornly refuse to create the conditions so that people feel safe to come forward and they will be taken seriously and that is why S.A.F.E. has had almost twice as many people come forward that the Scottish independent public inquiry which has cost the public purse over £10 million so far??

People on the streets are telling us that they are fully aware of what is going on but when you ask them to help then they just turn their back because people just don’t like talking about child abuse.

I fully believe that every single person in this country has a Christian and moral duty to look for all the thousands of survivors of historical child abuse, but the whole political system in Scotland is doing everything in its power to stop this happening and why do I say that? Because everyone knows that if all the survivors came forward it would cost in excess of £200 million which would have a huge impact on the economy as well as the police services and also the local authorities but because this issue has never been dealt with and if it had been dealt with 5/10/15/20 years ago then the prisons and the homeless centres and the bedsits and the drug and alcohol units would not be so full.

The government and the church cannot and must not be allowed to ignore this issue any longer. Institutional abuse only covers a small percentage of the total amount of people who have suffered historical child abuse in Scotland. Some say it could be anything between 5/10 thousand and our message to all these people in 2018 and the message we are taking up to Dundee is.


Please help us find these poor souls.

For references Google search Dave Sharp Abuse [18] Google search Dave Sharp Glasgow Evening Times [19] and see links at end.

Many blessings

Dave Sharp

Child abuse survivor and campaigner.



For more information on see  S.A.F.E. Booklet [2]

Media Timeline – mostly of Dave Sharp’s Actions

2004 Jan 27 High Court Eire  Christian Brothers v Child Abuse Inquiry and others 2004 Jan 27 High Court Eire [9] 

2010 Oct 26 Court of Appeal Survivors v Christian Brothers and others 2010 Oct 26 Court of Appeal [10] 

2014 May 16 Daily Record Traumatised Scot tells of horrific abuse as a child at the hands of priests at residential school [8] 

2014 May 17 Daily Record Catholic school sex abuse victim tells how churchman dismissed his suffering and warned he would never win justice [4]

2014 May 21 Daily Record Six men charged over alleged child abuse at school run by notorious Christian Brothers order [5] 

2014 May 22 Daily Record Ex-pupil of Catholic school at centre of sex abuse probe tells how paedo clerics would prowl dormitories at night looking for victims [3] 

2015 Aug 27 Daily Record Archbishop Tartaglia hears of abuse hell first-hand after victim given two-hour audience with Scotland’s senior Catholic cleric [6]

2016 Apr 13 BBC Five men deny abuse at St Ninian’s School in Fife [12] 

2016 Apr 25 Courier Fife Christian Brothers trial: Detective reveals previous investigation [14] 

2016 May 2 Ted Team Website Court cases Fife Christian Brothers Trial Various articles [13]

2016 Jul 23 Daily Record Dave Sharp’s bravery was finally rewarded as ‘Christian’ abusers were finally punished [1] 


2017 Jan 5 cathy fox blog Christian Brothers v Child Abuse Inquiry and others 2004 Jan 27 High Court Eire [9] 

2017 Jan 5 Cathy fox blog Survivors v Christian Brothers and others 2010 Oct 26 Court of Appeal [10] 

2017 Aug 24 Daily Record ‘I was raped, beaten and hung by the neck’ Christian Brothers abuse survivor wins five-figure payout after 40-year fight for justice [15] 

2017 Nov 7 Evening Times Child sex abuse survivors hold Glasgow rally to highlight atrocities they endured [7] 

2017 Dec 1 Holyrood Child abuse survivor in vigil outside parliament while Kezia Dugdale remains in jungle [17] 

2018 Mar 19 Google search Dave Sharp Abuse [18]

2018 Mar 19 Google search Dave Sharp Glasgow Evening Times [19]

  • The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.
  • National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups.
  • One in Four [C]
  • Havoca [D].
  • Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.
  • Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.
  • Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma  [J]
  • Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
  • Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area
  • A Prescription for me blog Various emotional support links [M]
  • Fresh Start Foundation Scottish not for profit group, helping child sexual abuse victims & survivors  [N]


[1] 2016 Jul 23 Daily Record Dave Sharp’s bravery was finally rewarded as ‘Christian’ abusers were finally punished

[2]  S.A.F.E. Booklet  12 pages

[3] 2014 May 22 Daily Record Ex-pupil of Catholic school at centre of sex abuse probe tells how paedo clerics would prowl dormitories at night looking for victims

[4] 2014 May 17 Daily Record Catholic school sex abuse victim tells how churchman dismissed his suffering and warned he would never win justice

[5] 2014 May 21 Daily Record Six men charged over alleged child abuse at school run by notorious Christian Brothers order

[6] 2015 Aug 27 Daily Record Archbishop Tartaglia hears of abuse hell first-hand after victim given two-hour audience with Scotland’s senior Catholic cleric

[7] 2017 Nov 7 Evening Times Child sex abuse survivors hold Glasgow rally to highlight atrocities they endured

[8] 2014 May 16 Daily Record Traumatised Scot tells of horrific abuse as a child at the hands of priests at residential school

[9] 2017 Jan 5 cathy fox blog Christian Brothers v Child Abuse Inquiry and others 2004 Jan 27 High Court Eire

[10] 2017 Jan 5 Cathy fox blog Survivors v Christian Brothers and others 2010 Oct 26 Court of Appeal

[11] 2016 Aug 20 Herald Man to stage ‘crucifixion’ to highlight abuse

[12] 2016 Apr 13 BBC Five men deny abuse at St Ninian’s School in Fife

[13] 2016 May 2 Ted Team Website Court cases Fife Christian Brothers Trial articles

[14] 2016 Apr 25 Courier Fife Christian Brothers trial: Detective reveals previous investigation

[15] 2017 Aug 24 Daily Record ‘I was raped, beaten and hung by the neck’ Christian Brothers abuse survivor wins five-figure payout after 40-year fight for justice


[17] 2017 Dec 1 Holyrood Child abuse survivor in vigil outside parliament while Kezia Dugdale remains in jungle

[18] 2018 Mar 19 Google search Dave Sharp Abuse

[19] 2018 Mar 19 Google search Dave Sharp Glasgow Evening Times

Let justice be done though the heavens fall – Fiat justitia ruat cælum

About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free…

This entry was posted in #CSASurvivorsStoriescathy fox blogChild AbuseChild sexual abuseChild trafficki

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