Victims of a disgraced former academic branded a “master manipulator” who sexually abused students while employed at two Scottish universities have received five-figure compensation payouts.
Kevin O’Gorman used his position of privilege to carry out the campaign of abuse towards eight young men at the Heriot Watt and Strathclyde institutions between 2006 and 2014.
Several of those involved have now been granted financial settlements set to exceed half a million pounds in the aftermath of his conviction in 2019.
O’Gorman was sentenced to 240 hours of unpaid work and was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years, despite maintaining his innocence.
He claimed he that he didn’t abuse the students and was instead following a “mindfulness technique” similar to the one used by Adam Smith, the 18th century economist.
However one of his victims, Fraser Blevins, described him as “a monster” adding an independent report commissioned by Strathclyde University was tantamount to “turning a blind eye” to the abuse.
Waiving his right to anonymity, he added: “For many years I blamed myself. It took others coming forward for me to take courage in that and tell my story. Thankfully, I also had the support of my wife and she gave me strength to pursue this.
“I still believe the so-called ‘impartial report’ Strathclyde commissioned was quite frankly a disgrace and a sham – it claims to be an institution aiming to mould future leaders of the world yet the university failed to demonstrate the key characteristics of honesty, integrity and trust.
“They had an opportunity to right the wrongs of O’Gorman yet shirked their responsibility. The university never reached out to me personally at any point, and put me through many sleepless nights having to relive the damage done. I don’t think I can forgive them for their betrayal but I certainly hope to now move on with my life.”
O’Gorman was employed at Strathclyde’s school of management from 2005 until 2012 when he left to join Heriot-Watt as a professor of management.
He later became head of international in the school of social sciences, but was relieved of the role in 2017 following a complaint of sexual misconduct.
It later emerged the institution was aware of allegations against O’Gorman in a report produced by Lord Sandison QC.
A spokesperson for Heriot-Watt university said the institution was “deeply saddened at the distress inflicted on student victims by Dr O’Gorman”.
A spokesperson for the University of Strathclyde said: “Lord Sandison QC conducted a thorough and detailed independent examination of our systems, processes and actions.
“All of the enquiry’s recommendations were taken on in full by the university. The health, safety and well-being of our students and staff are always our first priority and the independent report helped the university to enhance our procedures to safeguard members of our university community.”