Tag Archives: Child Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis leads the opening session of the meeting on the protection of minors in the church at the Vatican on February 21

Notes from the Vatican summit on clerical child abuse…

Priest and canon lawyer Tom Doyle writes:

The so-called “summit” on the clergy sex abuse crisis was not a total failure. The process and the outcome of the Feb. 21-24 meeting of bishops at the Vatican were clearly a serious disappointment to the victim-survivors, their families and countless others who hoped for something concrete to happen.

The accomplishments can only be understood in the context of the totality of the event: the speeches, especially those of the three women, the bishops’ deliberations, the media reaction, and the presence and participation of the victims-survivors from at least 20 countries.

I have been directly involved in this nightmare since 1984, when the reality of sexual violation of the innocent by clerics, and the systemic lying and cover-up by the hierarchy (from the papacy on down) emerged from layers of ecclesiastical secrecy into the open.

By 1985, Pope John Paul II and several high-ranking Vatican clerics possessed detailed information about what was quickly turning into the church’s worst crisis since the Dark Ages.

From that time onward, bishops on various levels of church bureaucracy have been engaged in almost nonstop rhetoric about the issue that has been a mixture of denial, blame-shifting, minimization, explanations (the most bizarre, that it’s the work of the devil), apologies, expressions of regret, promises of change.

The rhetoric has been accompanied by procedures, policies, protocols and a few changes in canon law. The gathering in February was no exception.

There were no revelations, statements, speeches or promises from anyone involved in the meetings that were new…Everything that was said has already been proclaimed publicly by someone from within the church’s system, from among the victims and survivors or from their supporters.

The other element that fits right in with the bishops’ pattern of response over the past 35 years is that they made promises but did nothing.

People have been begging the bishops for years to stop talking about it. Stop the endless flow of empty platitudes and empty promises and do something.

Unfortunately, the hierarchy’s long-held belief that their words are sufficient to change reality has been completely useless…(more at link below)

Abuse summit achieved something, but not what Pope or bishops expected (National Catholic Reporter)

Pic: CNS/Vatican Media

From top: Brother John Gibson in the 1970s; Gibson in today’s Irish Mirror; A tweet last night from Saoirse McGarrigle, who first reported about Gibson in The Wexford Echo

Christian Brother John Gibson was convicted yesterday of sexually assaulting two children in the 1980s at a CBS school in Wexford.

Journalist Saoirse McGarrigle writes:

Last Tuesday Judge Elma Sheahan imposed a blanket ban on all reporting of the trial.

There was no reason given for this application for reporting restrictions on behalf of the DPP.

I called the Irish Mirror lawyer and argued the case for challenging these restrictions and he subsequently contacted lawyers for the Irish Times and Irish Independent.

They made a joint submission on Thursday and yesterday Judge Sheahan lifted the restrictions – meaning we could now name him and use photographs.

Last week we could not report that a trial was even taking place, let alone name the defendant!

The background to this case is that I interviewed a man (now deceased) while working for the Wexford Echo, who told me that he had been abused by Brother Gibson.

He then made a report to gardai and we ran the story that allegations had been made against “A Christian Brother” (no name) and detailed the nature of the claims (ie: that abuse happened after kids were asked to do odd jobs around the school and Gibson would insist on washing them.) The story resonated with others who contacted me and subsequently went to Gardai.

On Monday the trial began – based on three charges, two victims.

The significance of the reporting restrictions was that this story began with local investigative journalism.

At the culmination and conviction yesterday, it needed to be reported in national media. It was a story that needed to be told.

Getting the restrictions overturned yesterday was a huge win for press freedom and of course the victims who deserved publicity of the conviction after a long five year wait from time the story first broke and they made reports.

In fairness.

Christian Brother John Gibson found guilty of sexually abusing two children in Co Wexford (Saoirse McGarrigle, The Irish Mirror)

Previously: Christian Brothers Stories


Yesterday at Dublin District Court, former rugby coach John McClean was charged with more than 30 counts of assaulting schoolboys at Terenure College between 1973 and 1989.

Mr McClean, a former director of UCD’s rugby academy, is charged with indecent assault on nine boys over a 17-year period.

The charges were prompted by work from investigative journalist Gemma O’Doherty, who spoke to a number of Mr McClean’s alleged victims in Village magazine in the past year.

The reports claimed some gardai were aware of allegations against Mr McClean for decades.

Ms O’Doherty covered the matter last night on her Livestream with court correspondent Tom Tuite. Watch here.

Former rugby coach charged with more than 30 counts of assaulting schoolboys at Terenure College (Irish Independent)

Terror-nure (Gemma O’Doherty, Village)

Rugby’s Dirty Secret (Gemma O’Doherty, Village)

Pic via Village

Religious Sisters of Charity Ireland - Welcome Header Image Based on the RSC 2013 Redrawn Logo - Sans Serif

Pitifully little charity either.

A religious order that owes millions of euros in compensation for child abuse will retain ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital after it is built with more than €200 million of taxpayers’ money.

The new hospital will be built on the Elm Park site at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin. St Vincent’s Healthcare Group is run and owned by the Sisters of Charity, which has paid only €2 million of the €5 million it offered to contribute in reparations to abuse victims. Its most recent payment was in 2013.

The religious order will own the maternity hospital as well as a new independent company that has been established to guarantee corporate governance, but the HSE has said that its interests will be protected once construction is completed.

The HSE said the land at the St Vincent’s campus was being made available for the new hospital at no cost to the state and that “appropriate security arrangements” would be put in place to protect state interests.

Nuns who owe millions in abuse reparations given hospital (Ellen Coyne, The Times Ireland Edition)

Previously: ‘Based On The Findings Of The McAleese Report’



Kincora Boys’ Home, Belfast

A series of children’s homes run by church and charity in Northern Ireland were the scene of widespread abuse and mistreatment of young residents, the chair of the region’s historic abuse inquiry, Sir Anthony Hart, has said.

In one case a sex offender was found to have been moved from one home to another school. He said in one instance there was “systemic abuse, humiliation and sexual abuse“.

At the notorious Kincora boys’ home, where there were numerous allegation made of abuse, Sir Anthony said if an adequate RUC investigation had been carried out “those sexually abused after 1976 would have been spared their experience.”

The inquiry investigated persistent claims that intelligence agencies covered up the crimes committed by a paedophile ring in the home in the 1970s in order to blackmail some alleged high-profile abusers from within the British Establishment.

HIA sex abuse inquiry: Proper RUC Kincora investigation would have spared victims from abuse (Belfast Telegraph)

A “bleak, harsh and cruel” atmosphere was described by alleged victims at two properties in Belfast run by the Sisters of Nazareth.

Children were shipped off to Australia as migrants like “baby convicts”, witnesses said, and their names were changed once they arrived.

There were tales of violence perpetrated by members of religious orders.

But some of the gravest allegations involved sex attacks.

Police said sex abuse at Rubane Boy’s home in Co Down was rife.

And the inquiry heard that notorious paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth told a doctor he had sexually abused hundreds of children.

HIA inquiry evidence heard children treated like ‘baby convicts’ (Belfast Telegraph)

Previously: A Boys’ Home Story


Police said the calls from 350 people saying they had suffered abuse came in just six days, from 24 to 30 November, and related to all aspects of football, from grassroots up to professional.

The number continues to grow, police said, and victims may have to wait because of the “significant” volume of reported child sex abuse crimes in football that have been reported since the Guardian’s revelations.

In a statement the national police chiefs’ council lead for child protection, chief constable Simon Bailey, said:

“It is important to note that this is an indicative figure only, and that information is still being collated, numbers will, therefore, continue to change.”

Police and experts believe the sexual abuse of children is massively underreported in Britain.

The former Newcastle United striker David Eatock became the latest footballer to tell police he was sexually abused in the sport. He told the Guardian that he was sexually abused during his time at the club by George Ormond, a former club youth coach.

Police say 350 people have come forward to report child sex abuse in football (The Guardian)

Football child sex abuse: Ex-Newcastle player David Eatock latest to speak out (BBC)

Pic Yahoo


This morning.

Ex-footballer Andy Woodward discusses on ITV”s Good Morning Britain his abuse by a coach in the 1980s while he was at Crewe Alexandra between the ages of 11 and 15.

Mr Woodward is among a number of former players, including ex-England International Paul Stewart, to break their silence on sexual abuse within the professional game.

Eleven people contact Cheshire police amid claims of sexual abuse in football as victim Andy Woodward says it could be worse than Jimmy Saville (MailOnline)

Cheshire police expand football sexual abuse inquiry as more people come forward (The Guardian)

Andy Woodward claims football child abuse revelations ‘potentially worse’ than Jimmy Savile scandal (The Mirror)


For the past few months, Fin Dwyer, of the Irish History Podcast, and journalist Peter McGuire have been looking into child sexual abuse in the recent past and present.

They have been doing their investigations with the help of the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund.

Further to this…

Mark Malone writes:

Your readers might be interested in this podcast around sexual abuse published today by Irish History Podcast. It’s not easy listening, but in the context of what it explore and uncovers, it’s necessary listening.

It includes information on how conservative Catholic activists acted in the 1980s to shut down Department of Education research into the nature and scale of abuse experienced by school kids in the family home.

From 8.33min in… “In 1981, the Department of Education surveyed school children and the results revealed child sexual abuse to be a considerable problem. However, in January 1982, Christina Bhean Ui Chribin and Una Bhean Ui Mhathuna took court action to prevent the department conducting further surveys. These women, deeply conservative catholic activists, reflected a view held by many in Irish society that the safest place for children was in the traditional family home.”

Listen here

Haunted by our history: Ireland and Child Sexual Abuse (Irish History Podcast)

Related: ‘I was eight when my brother started coming into my room’ (Peter McGuire, Irish Times)

Thanks Mark


From top: former Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Kenneally; his cousin Billy Kenneally: former Garda Superintendant Sean Cashman;  victim Paul Walsh, human rights lawyer Darragh Mackin, victim Colin Power and victim Jason Clancy.

Further to an article in yesterday’s Sunday Independent by Damian Tiernan, RTÉ’s South East Correspondent, concerning a Former Waterford Fianna Fáil TD who was told his cousin abused boys but  did nothing…

Saoirse McGarrigle writes:

Victims of paedophile Bill Kenneally describe his sentencing as a “window dressing” to conceal the fact that the authorities were aware of the abuse three decades before he was jailed.

Six of his victims say they now believe that senior gardaí, members of Fianna Fáil, members of the Catholic Church and staff at the South Eastern Health Board were told about the abuse but failed to act.

They are now pushing for a Commission of Investigation into who knew about the abuse and “turned a blind eye”.

Belfast based human rights lawyer Darrgah Mackin, who is also working on the Mary Boyle case, is representing six of the victims.

In the past week Mr Mackin has written to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to bring the case to her attention.

Victim Jason Clancy said:

“I don’t know what’s more hurtful, the abuse or the fact that people in authority knew that I was being abused and did nothing.”

He continued:

“They could have taken me out of my misery at any stage, but they chose not to.”

Another victim, Colin Power said:

“I had a lot of guilt about it all. I used to think that if I had of told someone that it would have stopped and that the younger lads who were abused after me could have been saved. That really affected me for a very long time…it niggled at me.

“I was feeling bad that as a 14 year old boy that I didn’t do something, but now I know that adults in Waterford knew about it and turned a blind eye. It really baffles me. He got away with it because these high society people turned a blind eye.

Kenneally was convicted at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court on February 19 of this year when he pleaded guilty to ten sample counts of indecent assault. He is now serving a 14 year prison term, but he is appealing the severity of the sentence.

Barrister Darragh Mackin states that

the prosecutorial process merely examined one aspect of the circumstances that give rise to our clients concerns that there existed a clear policy and/or state practice to deliberately prevent the identification and punishment of Mr Kenneally at an earlier stage.”

Although the prosecution did not begin until 2013, Gardaí knew about the abuse as early as 1985, when one victim reported it to a garda at Waterford Garda Station on the same day that he collected his Inter Cert results.

Meanwhile, another victim Paul Walsh claims that when he was 14 two gardaí approached him and warned him to stay away from Bill Kenneally.

Mr Walsh recalled:

“Back in 1987 when a guard stopped me in the pub and told me that there was a file ‘as long as your arm’ in the station about him I actually thought fair play to him. At the time I was 14 and I naively thought that meant that it was all going to stop,”

Then on a separate occasion Bill Kenneally was questioned at Waterford Garda Station in 1987 on foot of a complaint from another boy’s father.

Despite Keneally admitting to handcuffing, blindfolding and abusing boys when interviewed by Superintendent Sean Cashman he was released without charge and continued to abuse.

Bill Kenneally, an accountant from the well-known Fianna Fail family in Waterford city, used money and alcohol to entice his victims.

Some, but not all, of his victims were basketball players that he coached. He was at one point a national basketball coach.

In November 2012 father-of-four Jason Clancy went to the gardaí and told them that he had been repeatedly sexually abused by Kenneally on a weekly basis for over three-and-a-half years in the mid-1980s.

He also gave gardaí a list of names of other men that were also abused in their teens.

Shortly after Mr Clancy made a statement, gardaí raided Kenneally’s house at Laragh, Summerville Avenue, Waterford, and during the search he admitted to abusing up to 20 boys.

Kenneally offered to give gardaí a list of the names of the boys he abused.

But Mr Clancy claims that five months passed by and gardaí attempted to contact a couple of the men on the list that Mr Clancy had given them but then stopped making enquiries.

They did not return to collect the list which Kenneally had volunteered to give them.

During the period from December 2013 until April 2014 Bill Kenneally remained a committee member of a basketball club which had a largely young male membership, even though he had admitted to gardaí that he had sexually abused 20 boys.

Mr Clancy says that he was forced to speak to a journalist in order to get his abuser removed from a youth basketball club.

He says that exposing the situation in the media was the only thing that pushed the authorities to act.

Jason Clancy says that when he first contacted Waterford Garda Station that he was told by a senior garda that Bill Kenneally had “never appeared on our radar.

Mr Clancy then gave a statement to two female gardaí who were trained in dealing with sexual assault cases.

He also gave gardaí a list of names of other men who were abused by Kenneally around the same time and asked gardaí to contact them.

One of the people that Jason Clancy asked gardaí to contact in mid December 2012 had not heard anything by mid February 2013, so this other victim began trying to contact Waterford Garda Station by phone himself in order to arrange to make a statement.

He lives abroad and wanted gardaí to request through Interpol that he be facilitated to give his statement at his local police station.

But gardaí took weeks to respond to him.

It was only when the story broke in the public domain that a requisition letter was sent to Interpol by Waterford gardaí to arrange for the statement to be given.

The date on the letter sent to Interpol is April 23, 2013, the same date that the story broke in the media.

All of the investigation activity logged in the Book of Evidence that was produced by the prosecution is dated after this date.

One of the main causes of concern is a number of questions left unanswered about a video tape that was discovered in the search of Bill Kenneally’s house.

Jason Clancy said:

“I was told by two separate gardaí that a paedophilia video was found in the search, but in the court case the detective said in her evidence that nothing of a paedophilia nature was found, just some pornography that was of a heterosexual nature”

Mr Clancy added:

“The two gardaí that I gave my statement to, however, told me that they found a video tape wrapped up in Sellotape and I even know who the victim was on that video and I know that he was a minor when Kenneally made that video of him.”

“As well as that gardaí noted to me that Bill Kenneally had a video recorder and a television in his bedroom, which was obviously used to make these disgusting sex tapes.”

He continued:

“I want to know why they withheld this from the DPP. And also about a month before the trial the gardaí told me there is a chance that this man, who abused and tortured me, could walk away from a jail sentence because there was no evidence to prove that he had continued abusing after 1987 when they let him go from the station but all that time they held the piece of evidence that proved he did.”

In an RTÉ Prime Time documentary aired in May of this year, now retired chief superintendent Sean Cashman told South East correspondent Damien Tiernan:

“And I know, I know people were talking about it, you know, it was a political family and it was a cover-up, well there was no cover-up at all. And the irony of the whole situation really is that the best help I got to try and put him where he should have been, before the court, was from his uncle.”

Bill Kenneally’s uncle was the late TD Billy Kenneally. He died in 2009, but in 1987 he was a serving TD when he became aware that his nephew was abusing boys.

His son Brendan Kenneally succeeded him, becoming a TD 1989. He retired from political life after losing his seat in the 2011 general election.

In 2002 Brendan Kenneally was told by a Waterford woman that Bill Kenneally, who is his first cousin, had abused her sons. At that time Brendan Kenneally was a Taoiseach’s nominee to the Seanad.

He did not report the mother’s claims to the gardaí. Instead, he spoke with his uncle on his mother’s side and local priest Monsignor John Shine about the abuse and arranged counselling for Bill Kenneally.

Saoirse McGarrigle is a broadcast Journalist with South East Radio.

Former TD ‘was told cousin abused boys but he said nothing’ (IDamian Tiernan, Sunday Independent)

Previously: ‘There Was No Cover Up At All’


St Clare’s unit, Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Dublin

Medium Sized c writes:

I was asked to share this around but given my limited social media footprint, I figured it might be better going to you guys

This is an an Irish Times story from earlier this month featuring an interview with a psychologist from Saint Clare’s unit in Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

That is a unit to provide expert interviewing services to form opinions on the veracity of claims of sexual abuse of children. They also provide therapy services to help children and families “pick up the pieces” as it were.

The article concerns an increasing trend of solicitors and barristers to try to obtain therapy notes from the service.

That is not reports and professional opinions but the notes taken in the process of therapy to help people recover from the trauma of sexual abuse.

You will understand that this is bad. If you have ever gone through the process of therapy you will understand that THIS IS VERY BAD AND DISTINCTIVELY NOT COOL.

People’s private thoughts shared in confidentiality are not evidence at the best of times, but in our ghoulish adversarial justice system where any and every little detail is turned over.

All of which is further complicated by the fact that we are taking about rape & sexual abuse here. Which means notes describing the victims feelings on an immensely traumatic event in their lives are made available to the DPP and by extension, the defence. Which sort of means the accused too.

Bear in mind that the vast majority of child sexual abuse cases are perpetrated by someone known to the family and know horror. It’s easy to miss, and I’m not sure what would be achieved by sharing, but it might raise some awareness in some way…

Pic: Temple Street Children’s Hospital