Details of abuse given to inquiry, says victim

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The Irish Times

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

GERRY MORIARTY, Northern Editor

A VICTIM of late paedophile priest Brendan Smyth has stated he gave information to a Catholic Church inquiry team that included Fr Seán Brady – now Cardinal Brady – about how Smyth had abused other children.

Brendan Boland (51), from Co Louth, said this information was not passed on to the parents of these children, two of whom continued to be abused by the serial child sex abuser.

Smyth continued to abuse one particular Belfast boy a year after Mr Boland had given information about this abuse to a church inquiry, it was claimed last night. Three priests, including canonical lawyer Fr Brady – now the Catholic primate, Cardinal Brady – conducted that 1975 inquiry.

Details of this abuse and how such details were not passed on to the children’s parents or to gardaí are contained in a BBC’s This World documentary, The Shame of the Catholic Church, broadcast last night on BBC Northern Ireland. It is to be rebroadcast tonight on BBC 2.

Mr Boland recounted to programme reporter Darragh McIntyre how, as a 12-year-old, he was sexually abused by Smyth. He had reported this to a local priest, who informed the church authorities and Mr Boland’s parents.

This in turn led to the 1975 canonical inquiry, in which Mr Boland was questioned alone by the three priests while his father remained outside the interview room. After making his allegations, Mr Boland said he was asked to swear on a Bible that what he said was true and that he would “speak to no one about this meeting, only to authorised priests”. He agreed to this.

The abuse Smyth perpetrated took place during car trips the priest brought the young Mr Boland and other children on. Mr Boland said he had told the priests about the abuse and about five other children Smyth had taken with him on these car trips.

He said: “I’d given them the names of the other children that were with me on the trips. There was a boy from Belfast – I gave them his name and address. There was a girl from Belfast – I gave them her name and address. There was a girl from Cavan – I gave them her name and address. And there was another boy from Cavan – I gave them his name and address. And there was another boy that was his friend.”

Mr Boland told the inquiry he knew at least two of the boys were being abused by Smyth – the Belfast boy and a boy from Cavan.

McIntyre said he had spoken to all the children identified by Mr Boland to the inquiry. He discovered four of them had been abused by Smyth and two continued to be abused after the inquiry. “They all say that, to the best of their knowledge, their families were not warned in any way about Smyth,” said McIntyre.

Furthermore, according to the programme, Smyth later abused the sister of the Belfast boy for seven years, and abused four of his first cousins for a period up to 1988.

The Belfast victim, now middle-aged, spoke to the programme. His name was not disclosed and his face was shielded. “Nobody came to our house,” he said. “They should have came to our house and warned our family, or my parents, and said, ‘Look, this is what’s happening, this man is involved in this. We would strictly advise you to keep him away from the house,’” he added.

After the 1975 inquiry, a report was presented to the late bishop of Kilmore, Francis Mac Kiernan. Smyth, a member of the Norbertine Order in Cavan, was later forbidden to hear confession and barred from certain duties. Police were told nothing and Smyth continued to abuse.

Smyth was jailed, first in 1994 in Northern Ireland, and later in the Republic, for his crimes of sex abuse of children over 40 years. He died in prison in 1997.

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