Tag Archives: Child Sexual Abuse

Judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill

This afternoon.

A judge has concluded that the State has misinterpreted a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and in doing so has denied victims of child sexual abuse access to a redress scheme to which they are entitled.

In a decision that will be welcomed by survivors, Judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill has ruled that the State’s interpretation represents:”a fundamental unfairness to applicants” and involves “an inherent inversion of logic”, because of its insistence that survivors of sex abuse in primary schools need to prove that there was a complaint made to authorities about their abuser before their abuse took place.

….Figures revealed by RTÉ News earlier this year showed that out of 50 applicants to the scheme no applicant has been successful, and that all of the cases refused have been declined on the grounds of a failure to show evidence of a prior complaint….

Judge rules State misinterpreted ECHR abuse ruling (RTÉ)

Pic via Juris Resolutions

The location of the hostel in Eccles Street, Dublin 1. It was demolished when the Mater Hospital was built

The Irish Mirror yesterday revealed that Gardai believe they’ve uncovered a paedophile ring run by clerics while investigating a hostel for boys which operated in the 1960s and 1970s

The half-way house – which opened under the name “The Boys Club” in Eccles Street, Dublin 1 – is the subject of an investigation by the Sexual Crime Management Unit.

Via The Irish Mirror:

More than 700 vulnerable teenage boys passed through the hostel over the space of a decade and it’s feared most were preyed on by clerics….

…A man who was was born in a mother and baby home and was sent to the hostel from an industrial school where he was raped from a young age.

He said: “The abuse that took place in the hostel was an extension of the abuse I suffered in the industrial school but it was far more intense and pressurised.”

He added priests used the home as a “hunting ground” and “passed boys around like pieces of meat” bribing them with cigarettes and money to keep quiet.

The man claims he was also warned on several occasions to “keep his mouth shut” or he would “end up in the lunatic asylum in Dundrum”.

A typical ploy used by senior clerics was to send their car and chauffeur to the hostel to collect a particular boy who would then be driven to a nearby location and abused.

The victim, who is now 65, said: “A priest or seminarian tended to come with somebody who knew the hostel… they might depart with a boy.

“The seminarians would chat me up. If there was a disco going on I would dance with them and I would be groped. This happened even in the toilet.

“In hindsight there was a selection process. There were a lot of B&Bs in the area, it was close to Gardiner Street and nobody would dare stop a priest.

There seemed to be a constant stream of priests and student priests coming in, this was normal to me.

“I get it now – it’s beginning to hit me. I denied it for years.”

The Mirror adds that several of the priests who are implicated “are still alive and are expected to be interviewed by gardai”.

Gardai probe claims of clerical sex abuse at Dublin hostel of horrors (Sylvia Pownell, The Irish Mirror)

Pic via The Irish Mirror

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

The Archbishop of Westminster was focused on protecting the church’s reputation over the welfare of children, an inquiry into child sexual abuse has found.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols is the current leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales and was archbishop of Birmingham between 2000 and 2009.

More than 130 allegations of child sex abuse have been made against 78 people associated with the archdiocese since the mid-1930s, but the true scale of offending is likely to be far higher, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) concluded.

The panel found the church had “repeatedly failed” to alert police to allegations, and said the consequences of those failings “cannot be overstated“.

The Roman Catholic Church Case Study: Archdiocese of Birmingham Investigation Report

Archbishop of Westminster put church’s reputation before children, says abuse inquiry (Sky News)

Pic: Sky



This morning/afternoon.

Ireland’s European Commissioner Phil Hogan meets Pope Francis at the Vatican.


Annie Lafferty (above), who waived her right to anonymity during the prosecution of her father Maurice Lafferty (top). He was jailed yesterday after pleading guilty to raping his teenage daughter on dates between 1 November 2010 and 30 June 2011

Concerned writes:

It really makes me so mad that the Irish Times used a giant photo of the rape victim rather than the rapist. She took the brave decision to waive her anonymity so that her father could be named, shamed and identified as a potential threat to children in the future. Not so that she would be pictured and her image as a victim used. There should be a code of honour amongst journalists that they don’t use the victim’s photo but the rapists in these cases.

‘My cry for help was ignored,’ says woman as her father gets 11 years for regularly raping her (Breakingnews)

Pics: Rollingnews/Collins

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