The following is the first in a number of articles that investigate an international paedophile who worked with Ulster’s vulnerable children and who was protected because of his links to powerful groups who helped him live a charmed life. Northern Ireland’s foremost child phycologist formulated the policy of infamous paedophile lobby group PIE with links to British establishment figures and was allowed to continue working as a doctor while establishing a children’s charity.
As the dusk of the 1960s gave way to the dawn of the 1970s, the hope and excitement that normally ushered in a new decade were replaced by an ever increasing sense of desperation and despair. Northern Ireland as a society had been violently cleaved in two. With an ever increasing dismembered society, the populace was to find only fear as their comforter. The greatest effects of this ruptured population were felt most acutely in the children whose lives lay in pieces. The jigsaw of emotion and feelings turned many from happy children into stunted and emotionally broken entities, whose lives were stalked by the shadow of fear.
The cliché “cometh the hour, cometh the man” could easily be fulfilled in the persona of Dr Morrison Fraser. He was originally from Inverness and had come to Northern Ireland to pursue studies in the field of medicine. He was to focus on psychiatry and chose Queens University, Belfast, as his alma mater. In 1965, he graduated with B.Ch but decided to continue with postgrad studies gaining a MB. He would win a research fund and go on to gain a Ph.D. Fraser seemed sophisticated and selfless; his spare time was spent working as a cathedral organist and a volunteer in his local Youth Club, he would also help set up a Scout troop. He lived with his parents, who had relocated for Scotland to reside with him, in the prestigious Whitehouse Park, Newtownabbey, overlooking the shoreline of Belfast Lough.
He would by August 1971, be employed as a senior consultant at Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in the psychiatry department. This gave him access to a growing number of children, who had suffered from issues like PTSD. His work would see him becoming a celebrity of sorts, with interviews and documentaries focusing on his research. He was to become one of the most ardent proponents of integrated education, claiming that it would help bring about change in the fractured and segregated society that was Northern Ireland. He was taken on lecture tours and the Security Services were taking an interest in his work.
By 1972 he and his work had been the subject of a US television documentary by NBC, it was aptly titled Suffer The Little Children. A book deal quickly followed and more lecture tours. His book, Children in Conflict, was to become a standard textbook for the next twenty years, for those studying the effects of strife on the developing mind. Fraser would pen the following concerning fear and the young mind:
“There are all too many children now who have known nothing but violence. …In scarred ghettos the world over, children are increasingly at risk – children who grow daily more terrified or more aggressive, children whose bogeymen are no longer fantasies but are all too real.”
These words became all the more poignant concerning some of Fraser’s child patients, because behind the façade of care and respectability lay a man obsessed with sexual deviancy and perversion. Dr Fraser, the self-sacrificing career, was in reality, a predatory paedophile, who would spend most of his life preying on psychologically vulnerable children for his own twisted sexual gratification.
His focus study group would deal with a large number of children from West Belfast, looking into the effects psychological stress on the young body. He was to pay particular attention to those who exhibited blackouts, “with no recollections”, and hallucinogenic incidents as a way to deal with trauma. Some of those were termed “educationally subnormal”. Fraser looked at triggers that facilitated these episodes. He termed it a “defence” that “altered the degree of contact” with the subject’s initial “intra-psychic conflicts”. This “switching off” was a defence used by children who could not cope with the stress. He also observed that the family unit was abnormal stating, “No child was ‘disturbed’ in isolation; each problem, on examination, proved to be that of a disturbed family”. In fact, a lot of those treated by him came from broken homes, ensuring that the children were part of a vulnerable family unit. His work concluded a “well-adjusted” child from a “stable family is unlikely to develop persistent symptoms”.
Fraser would say it was “most important” to identify “children at risk” He would conclude that “Children between the ages of eight and twelve” and those who had “a previous history of physical or emotional illness”, coupled with “unstable homes” that are “economically deprived” are at “particular risk”. He would make, the now chilling, recommendation that “In the acute stage, physical closeness to a trusted adult is essential”. He would further expand this research which led him to conclude in his later work, Perspectives on Paedophilia, that “children who suffer stress” and from “homes where they were emotionally rejected” were susceptible to abuse. A home that, in which, “fathers were frequently absent” and mothers prone to some form of “illness” resulted in the children actively seeking out “substitute relationships”. This would, he said, make the child a “willing victim”. The duality of these “elements in vulnerability apply particularly to sexual encounters between children and adults”. His work was to add considerably to the paedophile canon and lays out a strategy for targeting the vulnerable child. Fraser’s work with children suffering PTDs and phobic anxiety state would enable him to hone his work as predatory paedophile. It also opened doors. It would set him up as the educational psychiatrist for Northern Ireland, giving him access to unprecedented numbers of vulnerable children. It would also see him placed at the heart of paediatric care with a new post at the Royal Victoria’s Hospital for Sick Children.
Morris Fraser pictures at the time when he was abusing Belfast’s children.
Just a year after Fraser found employment with Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, he approached the mother of one of his patients – a thirteen-year-old boy. He informed her, that for her son’s treatment to progress, the boy would need a respite from the day to day violence occurring in Belfast. He would state in his work that “for these children” there existed “a strong case for removing” them, on the short time, from the area. In August 1971, Fraser requested that the boy accompany him to London on a trip that would be beneficial for the boy. The boy’s mother agreed and between 27th and 30th August the boy stayed at an exclusive address in London SW1. During a three-day stay, Fraser sexually victimised his thirteen-year-old patient.
On May 17th, 1972, Fraser stood trial at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court on charges related to three day trip with the thirteen-year-old; a boy who belonged to Fraser’s Scout Troop and was receiving treatment, supposedly for drug abuse. Belfast in 1971 was not noted for having a drug problem, even among its adult population, so who and where the child’s supply of narcotics originated is puzzling. He would plead guilty to “indecent assault” but the case was absent from any reporting in the local Belfast media outlets. As a result, Fraser was left free to carry on with his experimental work with the children of Northern Ireland. Despite this conviction for paedophile activity, Fraser continued to work with disturbed children and retained his post at the Royal Victoria Hospital. He would also continue his involvement in the Scout movement claiming that it gave the children relief from the “smoke and darkness of the New Lodge Road.” He would say that “Even for a very sick society, powerful medicines may exist” further elaborating “All of Ulster’s city children are at risk”. The sickness that put Ulster’s children at risk in the persona of Dr. Fraser did not need medicine; Ulster’s vulnerable children needed protection, something they would not yet be afforded.
Fraser would study the “chain of cause and effect” of what he termed the “most dangerous of fauna”: the “child guerrilla”. This assessment, one of dangerous animals acting out the role of juvenile insurgents was to bring him, to be of a lasting usefulness to the Security Services. They had a major interest in the developing psy-ops and how this might be used in the Northern Ireland conflict.
In 1973, Colin Wallace, the British Army’s, Chief psychological warfare specialist, prepared a briefing document on the infamous quasi-terrorist group – Tara. He states that even after 40 years this document is still “highly significant” because it focuses on some of the abusers linked to establishment and international paedophile networks. The document links unionist grandee and former British Prime Minister, Harold McMillan’s private sectary, to the abusers in Kincora In a disturbing insight the name of Northern Ireland’s chief child psychiatrist was added . Wallace said this week that “Fraser didn’t really feature on that briefing” but that he did “remember his calling with us at Thiepval”. Which resulted in him “being told almost immediately to not look to offer him any more assistance.” He would go on “Someone had thought it important enough to add his name” saying that “even at that early stage” Fraser was on the “radar” of “higher up” and as a result “we were not to give him any more co-operation after that first visit.”
Wallace would relay that Captain Ken Harding, in his own hand, would make an amendment to the briefing document. Under the paragraph linking Sir Knox Cunningham to Kincora, Harding wrote “Dr Morris Fraser RVH?” This leads to another perturbing question: were the Security Services aware of a link between a predatory paedophile with international links, Fraser, and Kincora? The inference seems to that this is the case.
Despite Wallace being warned about Fraser, once he was forced from his post at army Intel’s HQ, Fraser would gain access to most secret facility in Northern Ireland. He would be given access to military documentation and personnel, helping him formulate a long-term response to the civil conflict. This right of entry to Theipval Barrack’s had Fraser working with Military Intel and MI5. Brain Gemmell, a captain with Intelligence Corps, remembered Fraser on his visits to Army HQ. On, at least, one occasion, he was accompanied by a strange individual, who spoke with a Scandinavian accent and had a Nordic appearance. It is understood that Fraser gave regular briefings to MI5 on the progress of his work. It must also be noted that this took place after Fraser was convicted of paedophile activity.
As elements in the military were secretly warning the media about unfolding events in Kincora, others were meeting with the paedophile psychiatrist but events, in the USA, would thrust Fraser into the scrutiny of the public. On the 4th May 1973, local papers reported that the “eminent child psychiatrist” had been charge, along with others, of “19 counts of sodomy” and “seven of indecent assault”. The charges related to events in upstate New York between “January 1970 and December 1971” involving “some children under eleven years of age”. As a result of the publicity, Fraser was suspended from his post at Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.
The following day Fraser would use the pages of the local Belfast Telegraph to protest his innocence. The headline boldly proclaimed “I am innocent” and in the article he stated that the affair was a “nightmare”. Fraser relayed that he had been offering professional help to a number individuals with their sexual deviancy, saying “I would meet a wealthy business man” who he agreed to help. Fraser had travelled a number times to these gatherings. At one of the gatherings Fraser said “I was aware that an act involving two of the boys was taking place”, He would go on “it looks very bad” but “I only wanted to help these people” after all “it was his duty”. He would end by saying that he was “being suspended until an inquiry was carried out”. It is the makeup and outcome of the instituted enquiry that would bring calls for Northern Ireland to be included into a national inquiry into the extent of child abuse in the devolved region.
In Part Two, the failure of the GMC to properly deal with Morris Fraser will be looked at.