Sold For $1,000


From top: Sean Ross Abbey, Roscrea, County Tipperary; Catherine Sheehy (right) with Kevin whom she named William; Kevin Battle today in Portland, Maine, USA

Kevin Battle was a baby when church officials raided his family home in Ireland and plucked him from the arms of his mother, an unmarried 24-year-old who had run away from the convent where she and hundreds of other Irish girls were sent to give birth to secret children.

After raising the boy she named William for more than a year, his mother [Catherine Sheehy] couldn’t bear to give him up, so she grabbed her chubby-cheeked boy and escaped home to her family in County Limerick.

But the nuns had plans for the boy, so they tracked down the mother and child and forcefully reclaimed him.

Within weeks of seizing the baby, the Catholic Church sold him to an Irish couple in New York grieving the death of their own infant.

The price? A $1,000 donation to the church. Records show that the convent, Sean Ross Abbey, secretly exported 438 children like Battle to America.

Yet Battle, a retired South Portland police officer who works as a harbor master and state legislator, grew up knowing none of this.

He’d always known he was adopted. He’d searched for his mother, following the paper trail to Ireland in 1978, but the nuns there told him she was dead…[more at link below]

Maine man learns truth of his past: Nuns stole him as a baby from his mother in Ireland (Penelope Overton, The Portland Press Herald)

Previously: ‘They Wouldn’t Have Been Believed’

Pics via Portland Press Herald

Thanks realPolithicks

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71 thoughts on “Sold For $1,000

  1. mildred st. meadowlark

    My god.

    That’s abominable. There are no words to describe how awful that is. I’m so ashamed of our history.

  2. Daisy Chainsaw

    A scaldy fupping pox on the catholic church. They’re just a bunch of pimps.

    1. Alors

      That’s actually what they are. Pimps. Exactly. And they dare to lecture others about poverty and inequality and how they should love each other.

    2. realPolithicks

      And yet they’ll try to lecture the rest of us about how we should live our lives. Fupp them!

  3. Shayna

    You would have thought you’d heard it all, now this? If Jesus were a real person, he would have wept.

  4. Paul


    Should be cutting the Church adrift (charitable status, land holding, positions in public bodies etc) and let it rot away on its own.

    1. mildred st. meadowlark

      And I’m sure they put that money right back into caring for all the other little ‘unfortunates’.

      The church are scum and a pox on our country. The have destroyed lives and they do the bare minimum to atone. They are unrepentant scum.

      1. Ron Dolan

        Remember, the likes of David ”Rich Catholics only need apply” Quinn of the Iona Buttplug institute or Cora ”extremely elementary Watson” Sherlock pine for the days when you could make a few bob with the Churches illegal child trafficking business ‘kids for quids”.

        I think this is one of the reasons why they are so agin legalised abortion in this country, if they even manage to get Ireland back into the clutches of the O’Taliban, they will need a pool of kids to be selling, much like the actual Taliban did to Yazidi children in Iraq.

        1. mildred st. meadowlark

          The Catholic Church make me angrier than just about anything in this country. They destroyed the lives of two of my immediate family members, both of whom still feel the effects of their abuse to this day.

          They should be purged from our society. They have proven time and again and then some more that they cannot be trusted with the welfare of the vulnerable and needy, and they have done this the world over. They are a scourge.

          1. Cian

            I tend to agree, but they provide a lot of services that the state doesn’t.
            Half the hospitals belong to the Church. Eighty-something percent of the schools.

            So the State needs to address those issues first, before kicking them out.

          2. SOQ

            That is a chicken / egg situation mind. The church based organisations have hardly been keen to hand over control. You just need to look at what has happened with the new maternity hospital to see that it is a very ingrained culture.

          3. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            My sister in law is a nurse. She used to work for nuns. She says they were total hoor-bags but they ran an incredibly tight ship and the hospital was top notch. No waste, spotless, excellent care. Life under the HSE is entirely different.

          4. SOQ

            Agreed but that care came with strings. And I doubt if it is comparing like with like anyways because nearly all cleaning is contracted out now. Despite the hot air, very few spreadsheets factor in quality control.

          5. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            Ah yeah. I know. I haven’t a clue about healthcare: I’m not advocating returning to NunCare but I guess what I’m saying is despite that a lot could be learned from their methods. Just not their belief system and hoorbagedness.

    2. The Old Boy

      For most of the 50s a pound got you $2.80 – so while it’s still egregious, your sums are a bit out. With inflation, the “going rate” was about £6,986 Stg per child, giving £3,060,055 or c. €3,500,000 in total.

  5. SOQ

    Newjustin, when I mentioned this sort of thing in an abortion debate a few weeks ago after stating that Ireland was a theocracy, you said it never happened?

    It did, and worse.

    1. newsjustin

      “Kevin Battle was a baby when church officials raided his family home in Ireland..”

      Yeah, I’m gonna say that never happened. I don’t believe church officials ever raided his family home.

      As usual with these stories, we’re expected to believe that the family (and the state) here had no role in delivering the expectant mother into an institution. They presumably fought pitched battles against these “church officials” to keep the mother and child in their family home.

      I’m sorry. I don’t believe that. Families handed expectant mothers over to institutions for them to be dealt with. It’s shameful, but it’s true.

      1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

        “For them to be dealt with” … flogging the kids for a grand then telling them lies when they tried to find their birth mothers. Nice. Of course families were complicit but they were in thrall to a Mother Church who didn’t give a crap about them.

        1. newsjustin

          I used that phrase deliberately as it was exactly the mentality at the time. Single mothers were a problem to be dealt with.

          1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            Because they were taught that by the Church. It’s a vicious circle.

      2. SOQ

        And Tuam never happened either yeah? In a way, if a family handed over a girl to those sadistic biatches, that is even worse. It shows how the church’s tyrannical influence pemutated all aspects of Irish society.

        I had an aunt who was a ‘guest’ of Golden Bridges btw so I know first hand the abuse and suffering those poor children endured. I also see the damage it has done to the next generation and that is something rarely spoken about.

        1. newsjustin

          Of course Tuam happened – it was a mother and baby home where children died and were badly treated in life and death.

          I suspect you’d like me to somehow defend it. Sorry to disappoint.

      3. Brian

        Do you also believe that they didn’t sell him 437 kids to America for profit and that the nuns didn’t tell him his mother was dead?

        1. newsjustin

          I’m not sure about the “for profit” bit. But he was obviously adopted and a fee was paid. I can certainly believe he was told his mother was dead.

      4. realPolithicks

        Newsjustin, why do you always defend the catholic church no matter what the story is about. Is it not possible for you to say that these were a bunch of nasty people who did disgusting things to vulnerable women and children because they could and also to make money from them.

  6. Ron Dolan

    Any sign of the usual suspects to decry this as an attack on their faith?

    I’m looking for a bit of humour via the théâtre de l’absurde that is Catholic victimhood?

    Still, at least it was a happy-ish kind of ending, at least he got to have life even if it was not the one he was supposed to.

    Still, lets all sit around and sing hymns to the famous non believer (abusive) ”Mother Theresa”.

    1. Ron Dolan

      The people who say Love Both are some of the worst people in this country because they fupping hate children and women.

  7. Junkface

    Catholicism has a Monstrous history in Ireland and we should remove as much of the church as possible. Sell off their empty churches, their valuable properties, and pay the victims of child rape from randy paedophile priests.

    1. Lilly

      They are the ultimate snake oil salesmen, peddling a fantasy of the hereafter to people who are too immature to deal with reality.

      1. wellness

        @ Lilly
        There are plenty of people who do not identity with any particular Religion, who believe that there is something else, who yearn for something more. The world would be a pretty tedious place to live in , if nobody ever questioned the mystery of existence and grappled only with reality.

        1. Lilly

          “Reality is unbearable because it’s inadequate to deal with whatever the spirit of man is looking for. I’m trying to look for a better reality, which caters for this lostness, this longing that is within us.” – Tom Murphy

  8. Donal

    The state (thru the Taoiseach speaking in the Dail) apologised for enabling this behaviour in the past.
    The church apologised (somewhat) and then made sure they did their utmost to pay as little as possible of the redress costs.
    The loudest voices on the NO side of the current referendum campaign are intertwined deeply with the church in a variety of ways. Intertwined at levels that are responsible for the decisions to avoid paying. They are scum, they are religious ideologues for whom the collective good outweighs any individual right, and they wish to enforce this collective good on all. They loved the Ireland of the past, they have fought tooth and nail against every progressive change over 30 years and I hope they struggle to sleep at night every time they see a gay couple kiss or a divorcee get remarried.
    Diatribes against communist regimes are common from them, they don’t realise that they are as totalitarian in their thinking as any other bunch of ideologues, their ideology being the good ideology.
    **** them, **** them right and good, and may they lose and lose and lose influence in our society

  9. missred

    I could burst into tears with rage, anger and sadness at this utter wretched mess. This is every level of appalling.

    1. Sheila

      Yes. I rarely use the C word in public, but here I am saying it out loud… in my head, cos I am in work :(

  10. Rob_G

    Jesus – I had known that stuff like this happened, but not until so recently – your man isn’t old at all :(

    I hope he manages to get some degree of comfort from his relationship with his siblings now, delayed as it was.

  11. newsjustin

    I have no doubt Mr Battle and his family were treated terribly by a state and a church that should have been at the forefront of acknowledging and defending their rights.

    Since the abortion referendum has been brought into this issue by many commentators above, I’ll only say that it shows remarkable cognitive dissonance to (rightly) condemn how Mr Battle was treated, while at the same time campaigning to facilitate more abortions on more Irish babies.

    It is right to ask where was everyone when Mr Battle’s and his mother’s rights were being shredded. Equally, it is correct to ask who will stand up for the human right to life of the unborn human being in 2018 when that is being threatened.

    1. Cian

      Ahem, the ‘cognitive dissonance’ is with a church that sells children, rejects sex education, contraception, women’s rights, tampons, studying in TCD, homosexuals, divorce, and yet it’s core teaching is supposed to by “love one another”.

      1. newsjustin

        It’s interesting that “the church” must be wheeled into this discussion in order to bolster a case for abortion. As I said, it is odd to (rightly) revile Mr Battle’s mistreatment and yet defend the removal of basic human life from other humans.

        1. Donal

          You have to accept the agree to disagree part here

          You believe this is about the human right of the foetus
          Others believe it is about the human right of the mother

          Everybody agrees that the treatment of Mr Battle and his mother was abhorrent
          Everybody knows that the church were involved in their mistreatment
          Everybody knows which side of the current argument the church are on
          They should not be given a free pass if they are going to involve themselves, if they don’t like scrutiny they should stay out of the discussion

        2. Listrade

          Umm yeah, love both.

          Is there any indication that his mother wanted an abortion? She was forced either physically or through shame inflicted by society to sign away her child to the nuns. And when she decided she wanted to keep her child they forced it away from here based on a contract signed under duress and sold him.

          We had no constitutional protection of the foetus until 1983 and in that time unmarried mothers, rape and incest victims were forced to give up their children to the church and state. They sold them. Pretended they were dead and sold them.

          Having no constitutional protection doesn’t mean forcing women to have abortions. It doesn’t mean shaming unmarried women or anyone into an abortion. It means letting them have a choice and if they chose not to have an abortion supporting them.

          There’s no cognitive dissonance, just empathy and choice and specious arguments from you.

    2. Donal

      Mr Battles mother was denied the freedom of choice in her circumstances, due to a desire for societal control and a need to punish those who broke the rules to ensure others wouldn’t be as quick to disobey.
      The NO campaign wish to continue to deny freedom of choice to women.

      Freedom of choice, the sort of thing that one must be down with to be a true holy catholic

      1. newsjustin

        It’s odd that people revile mistreatment of children in life and death at Tuam, and oppression by state and church like Mr Battle’s case, yet they are happy to strip constitutional human rights from a whole cohort of human beings.

        1. Cian

          It’s not odd.
          Selling children is odious. Lying to children by saying their mother is dead is odious.

          People that think a foetus is a human being and deserves the right to life will vote NO.
          People that think a foetus is not a human being/does not deserve the right to life/thinks the mothers rights are greater than the foetus’s will vote YES

        2. Donal

          It’s odd that people who profess to love both and be full of compassion aren’t demanding that the church bend over backwards to atone for failing to protect children in the past.
          Don’t they care that children under church care died of malnutrition, were physically and sexually abused?
          Why don’t they form a pressure group to convince the bishops to open the purse strings and pay redress to everyone who suffered?

    3. Brian

      “it shows remarkable cognitive dissonance to (rightly) condemn how Mr Battle was treated, while at the same time campaigning to facilitate more abortions on more Irish babies. “

      Abortion is a medical procedure done for the benefit of a woman which is accepted the world over and acknowledged as a necessity by the vast majority of the medical community. The above story is a case of human trafficking, done for profit.

      Commentators here are bringing up the abortion referendum in relation to this story because the same organisation that sold Mr Battle & other children for profit (and, lest we forget, concealed the widespread sexual abuse of children by their members on an International scale) is claiming that people should listen to and follow their viewpoint because they are moral arbitrators.

  12. myownself

    Scummy roman catholic church, being the usual, perverse, money grabbing leech-selves.

  13. Shayna

    I think there may well be a jumping on the band-wagon scenario against the nuns. My great aunt, Sister Bonaventure was Mother Superior at Stillorgan Convent School For The Deaf in Dublin. (Daughters Of The Cross Order). I was born there. Long story, but all the nuns were great. Doubtless, terrible stories will be uncovered, but, not all orders were complicit in this horrible business.

  14. SOQ

    Something has just occurred to me about this referendum. The whole emphasis is on the potential confusion after the 8th has been repealed. What the new legislation will or will not allow etc. but, nobody is mentioning the confusion at present.

    What has become apparent during these debates is that both doctors and lawyers disagree on a common interpretation of the 8th. Some doctors have stated that they terminate pregnancies under specific circumstances while others say they would not. If they can’t agree among themselves then what hope is there for the rest of us? And that’s not even considering those who would have strong religious views and potentially could use it as an excuse.

    Now if that’s not Russian roulette for a sick woman then I don’t know what is.

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