Solicitor horrified by deluge of abuse tales

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corkman.ie

08 September 2011


It is understood that at least 500 former students at Coláiste Chroí Naofa boarding school in Carraig na bhFear will be contacted over abuse allegations that have triggered three major investigations.

By MARIA HERLIHY MHERLIHY@CORKMAN.IE

Thursday September 08 2011

A CHARLEVILLE based solicitor, who is representing a deluge of clients who are claiming to have suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse while children in residential institutions, said he has been left “horrified” by the stories his clients have told him.

Declan Duggan told The Corkman that listening to the very sensitive stories is something that he finds “difficult to get used to”. “You are, in essence, never ready for it. “I am quite often the first person that a victim has spoken to, and that person can be worried that their families will look at them differently. These emotions and fears are shared by the victims highlighted in the recent Cloyne report,” he said.

In the last two years, Mr Duggan has handled, and is presently handling, cases for past pupils of residential institutions who are now living in Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, China as well as Ireland and the UK.

However, he warned this week that there’s a legal deadline of September 16 looming fast for those who can seek redress.

“Many people have held off from claiming as they are unaware of the Redress Board because of medical difficulties, illiteracy, isolation or addiction. In addition, a person may assume that Redress claims only apply to a person who was sexually abused. “That is not so. “Their claims cover all other forms of abuse, including beatings and other punishments – such as lack of food, clothing, education as well as emotional abuse,” he said. This week, one victim told The Corkman: “The man who raped me even took me on the train to visit her [a female relative].

“He warned me on the way down that if I opened my mouth, then I knew exactly what I would get. There were four sick bastards because that is exactly what they were who used to rape boys in the orphanage.” GARDAÍ and the Health Service Executive (HSE) are conducting separate probes into allegations of abuse including sexual at the former Coláiste Chroí Naofa boarding school in Carraig na bhFear.

It is understood that at least 500 former students at the boarding school will be contacted over abuse allegations that have triggered three major investigations. Abuse allegations by five individuals have come to light over the past five weeks.

The new fresh complaints were lodged since Senator Mark Daly used Seanad privilege in July to disclose how the order had failed to properly supervise Fr Donnacha MacCarthaigh, former principal of the Sacred Heart College in Carrignavar. Fr MacCarthaigh was on restricted ministry after seven complaints of abuse were lodged against him between 1986 and 2008.

The religious order than once ran the school, the Order the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (OMSH) is also being looked at by the church’s own watchdog body. The National Board for the Safeguarding of Children (NBSC) is auditing how it handled complaints lodged over the years.

The school stopped taking boarders in 1995 and is now under new management, totally separate from OMSH.

In the last number of weeks since Senator Daly’s allegations, garda sources have outlined that stations nationwide have been contacted by former pupils with concerns about past abuse.

Gordon Jeyes, the HSE’s director of children and family services has said he is to investigate child welfare at the former boarding school. On Wednesday, August 31, principal of the school, Eamon Ó Donnabhain wrote a letter to parents of children of the now co-educational day school.

“As we approach the beginning of the new school year let me assure you of our continued commitment to provide the best education and pastoral care for your children,” he said.

Former principal at the school, Fr MacCarthaigh has denied the allegations. He stepped aside from his principal duties to work as a career guidance teacher and he was placed on restricted ministry in the 1990s.

A second former Carraig na bhFear teacher, Fr Tadhg Daly was convicted of ten sample counts of indecent assault of a 12-yearold former pupil in 1999 and sentenced to three years in prison.

The HSE launched a freephone number 1800 742 8000 for victims and those affected by child sex abuse.

– MARIA HERLIHY MHERLIHY@CORKMAN.IE

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‘ You daren’t get out of that bed as you would feel a hand on you’

An abuse victim tells Maria Herlihy about how his childhood was ‘robbed’ in an oprhanage where rape was rampant


“I consider myself 100 per cent Irish, but I will never go back to that place [Ireland]. I want to past to be just that – the past,” said Jack. 

 corkman.ie

Thursday September 08 2011

AT night time ten-year-old *Jack would lie awake in an orphanage with 12 other boys of similar age and they would make a pledge to not fall asleep. But no matter how hard they tried, sooner or later one by one they began to drift off. It was later in the night when sleep had engulfed them that one child would feel a hand on his shoulder and he would be beckoned out of the bed by a Christian Brother.

Jack this week told The Corkman that his “childhood” was robbed from him by two Christian brothers. He along with his three biological brothers were sent to the orphanage and it brought them nothing but endless nightmares.

“I remember the first time that I received an unmerciful beating from *Brother X as I refused to go down on him when he was aroused. I will never forget that beating. He physically attacked me and then he raped me. I didn’t really know what was happening to me as I was just a little boy, and I found blood coming from my rectum,” said Jack.

He then found himself separated from his biological brothers and felt very much alone. He had a family member “on the outside world,” but he could not alert her to what was happening to him as all letters were read and there were no visitors to the orphanage. In six years, he got to visit his female relative once and when she sat him down and began to ask him about life in the orphanage, he shut up like a clam.

“I couldn’t let any emotion out. The man who raped me even took me on the train to visit her. He warned me on the way down that if I opened my mouth, then I knew exactly what I would get. There were four sick bastards, because that is exactly what they were, who used to rape boys in the orphanage. You used to lie in the bed and even when you really wanted to go to the toilet you daren’t get out of that bed as you would feel a hand on you,” said Jack.

He said he can recall a boy going to the toilet on his toes so as not to make any noise, however, the little boy was soon ensnared just before he got to the toilet. The same happened to Jack on more than one occasion.

“I found myself bleeding from my rectum after him. And one time I was taken to hospital as they believed my kidney had ruptured. But it wasn’t that it was from being kicked into the kidney by that evil bastard. He also used a buckle. That is the only word which I can use to describe him as being an evil bastard,” said Jack.

When Jack learned he was soon to be discharged from hospital in an attempt to stay there, he cut his arm. However, he soon found himself back in the very place which had stripped him of his childhood.

He said during the summer months, he would be put to work from 5am until 7pm on the farm. “I was no better than a slave, at least a slave has some chance of freedom. I was so tired of it all. I had no childhood, it was a dreadful dreadful time,” he said.

There were teachers at the orphanage who according to Jack were very much aware of the physical beatings as well as the sexual abuse. “But even they did nothing, they were totally intimidated by the abusers,” he said.

At 16-years-old he left the orphanage a damaged child who was emotionally shut down. He found himself moving to England in the late 1970s and finding menial works as he had little to no education. He said he once recalled telling a priest in confession when he left the orphanage what had happened to him.

“I got a sharp swift belt across the face and was told that I was lucky to have got an education. But what education did I get. I didn’t get anything. I was put to work on a farm until all hours,” said Jack.

During many years in England, Jack described himself “as a loner” and he didn’t have trust in many people at all. Thankfully, the only slice of happiness he found in life was meeting and marrying his wife.

“There has been no closure for me. I had to sit down and tell my wife and adult children. That was not easy. They were so angry, particularly my sons. It was very tough,” said Jack.

He has been back to Ireland once since he left in the late 1970s. For legal reasons The Corkman cannot disclose his case.

“I consider myself 100 per cent Irish, but I will never go back to that place [Ireland]. I want to past to be just that – the past,” said Jack.

* Names changed to protect victim’s identity

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