Explore the Ryan Report

Chapter 7 — Artane

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Sexual abuse


In conclusion: Br Gaillard was transferred within the Congregation, notwithstanding a history of abuse. His letter seeking dispensation could not be clearer in underlining the danger he posed to children. By being granted a dispensation from vows, he left the Congregation apparently in good standing. He was able to move into a teaching job immediately on leaving the Congregation. The Provincial, when asked directly for a reference, was not afraid to identify him as a danger to children, but there is no evidence that he took steps to notify other schools or the Department of Education. Despite the employment pattern of this man prior to 1960, there are no known complaints about his later career.


Br Fremont taught in Artane in the early 1950s, and was later found to have sexually abused boys in a Christian Brothers’ school in the Midlands. In the late 1950s, the mother of a boy in the School made a complaint about Br Fremont to the Superior of the School. From a report written by the Superior to the Provincial Council, it appears that Br Fremont got boys to expose their private parts and he also exposed himself to them. The Superior questioned him about these incidents, and he admitted that they were true.


The Superior referred the matter to the Provincial Council of St Mary’s Province. A member of the Provincial Council then interviewed Br Fremont. In the course of this interview, the Brother, when questioned about whether he had abused boys in Artane, admitted that he had once interfered with a boy in Artane, and that in another school where he had been teaching there had also been an incident. He further admitted that the sexual abuse in the Midlands school had taken place. This case was considered so bad that the unanimous decision of the Council was to dismiss him, but he was given the option of voluntarily seeking a dispensation from his vows, which he exercised. The dispensation was accordingly granted.


The Department of Education records indicate that he ceased teaching within the State system at that time.


Br Ricard, who taught in Artane in the mid-1950s, sexually abused boys in a Christian Brothers’ school in Waterford in the late 1950s. There is no documentary evidence of complaints about him during his time in Artane. His earlier abuse came to light when one of the boys abused in Waterford became a pupil at a private secondary school run by another Religious Community. Br Ricard wrote a ‘sordid and immoral letter’ to the boy which was intercepted by the Superior of the College, who informed a member of the Christian Brothers Provincial Council. The Brother’s personal card states that he ‘admitted accusations of having interfered immodestly with at least one 12 year old pupil’.


A meeting of the General Council was held, at which he admitted the charges. Both the Provincial and General Councils at the time considered his case to be the worst of its kind that they had ever come across and voted unanimously for his immediate dismissal. Nevertheless, he was given leave to apply for a dispensation from his vows, which he did. His departure was immediate and was obviously considered very serious, as he was put on a boat and sent to England.


A letter sent the following day to the Brother Procurator General, regarding the dispensation from perpetual vows of Br Ricard, reveals the anxiety felt by the Brothers about this case: This is one of the worst cases we have had in my experience. It is so bad that we have voted unanimously in both Provincial and General Councils that he be granted a dispensation ...


The letter discloses how the abuse was detected: For a whole year he had been “interfering” in a homosexual way with two or three very respectable pupils at [a private secondary college]. One of these came to [a college run by another Order] last August and it was through a letter censored by the [Superiors at that college] that the whole matter came to light. The Brother admitted everything the boy ... had stated.


The letter goes on to say: We fear that the evil ways into which he had fallen may be of some years duration. He leaves immediately for England (on leave of absence). Were he to remain in Ireland and were the parents of the boys to get to know of his behaviour at [the Christian Brothers College] there would be a great danger of a public prosecution. The case is, as I have stated, one of the worst we have had. Do everything you can to secure an immediate Dispensation and forward same as expeditiously as you can.


Br Ricard sought a reference, but was not provided with one as it was felt that ‘there is no knowing what use he might make of it’. According to a letter written by the Provincial Assistant to the Superior General, he was informed that he could not continue teaching and would not be given a reference. However, it appears from records furnished by the Department of Education and Science that the ex-Brother came back to Ireland less than a year later and took up a senior position in a school in Co Kildare and remained there for some years. He was then appointed an assistant teacher at a school in Dublin where he worked for a few years, before moving to a Dublin secondary school where he worked until the late 1980s.


The Congregation facilitated this man’s immediate departure for England so as to avoid a ‘great danger of a public prosecution’. The Brothers did not inform the parents about the abuse of the boy who had been abused. It is clear, by inference from the correspondence, that the boy’s College authorities behaved similarly towards the parents of their pupil. The man was able to return to Ireland and obtain a senior teaching position after a year’s absence. The Congregation put self-interest in avoiding adverse publicity before their duty to the boys in their care and to their parents.


Br Karel, who was removed from Artane following allegations of sexual abuse in the 1960s, spoke about the allegations, which he denied in full, and the events leading to his leaving Artane. Br Karel said that, in the early 1960s, he was approached by the Manager of the School, who told him that two boys had signed a joint statement in which they alleged that ‘I put my hand under the bedclothes and touched them in the genital area’. A third boy also made a similar allegation but he did not sign the joint statement. The boys made these written allegations after speaking with the chaplain, Fr Henry Moore. Fr Moore recalled speaking to the Superior in Artane, Br Ourson, about an allegation of sexual abuse that had been reported to him by a pupil. He could not recall the name of the Brother in question, but he could confirm that the Brother was removed shortly after the complaint had been communicated.


The Resident Manager informed Br Karel of the allegations and that the Provincial Superior would have to be informed. Within days, he was summoned to the Provincial’s office in Marino, where he was asked about the allegations: I explained as best I could that I didn’t do it, that there was a mistake somewhere, what could I do, what else could I say? I didn’t do it and that was as honest as I could be in saying that.


Br Karel was not shown the written statement signed by the boys, neither was he given an opportunity to question the boys himself. He was asked if the allegations were true, and he denied them. As far as he was aware, no further investigation of the matter took place. He returned to his normal duties in Artane for a year, before being transferred to a day school outside of Dublin. Some ten years after leaving Artane, he was transferred to Letterfrack, where he worked for less than two years.


When this Brother applied for a dispensation from his vows many years after these allegations, a report was prepared by a senior Christian Brother, which stated: While Br Karel was in Artane an accusation was made against him that he had interfered sexually with some of the boys. The Provincialate files are incomplete on this and contain simply a joint statement of three boys. However, the Provincial at the time ... on the basis of the case as presented, transferred Br Karel out of Artane ... There is no record of any similar accusation against him in succeeding years.

  1. Report on Artane Industrial School for the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse by Ciaran Fahy, Consulting Engineer (see Appendix 1).
  2. Rules and Regulations of Industrial Schools 1885.
  3. Commission of Inquiry into the Reformatory and Industrial School System 1934-1936 chaired by Justice Cussen.
  4. Dr McQuaid and Fr Henry Moore.
  5. This is a pseudonym.
  6. This is a pseudonym. See also the Tralee chapter.
  7. This is a pseudonym.
  8. This is a pseudonym.
  9. Br Beaufort had previously also worked in Carriglea in the early 1930s.
  10. This is a pseudonym.
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  14. This is a pseudonym.
  15. This is a pseudonym. See also the Carriglea chapter.
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  23. From the infirmary register it appears that while the boy was not confined in hospital he was due for a check up the day his mother called to see the superior so he may well not have been in the Institution when his mother called.
  24. Dr Anna McCabe was the Department of Education Inspector for most of the relevant period.
  25. It was in fact the Minister for Education who used those words. See paragraph 7.117 .
  26. This is a pseudonym.
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  36. The same incident is referred to in the Department’s inspection into the matter as ‘a shaking’.
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  45. This is a pseudonym.
  46. This is a pseudonym.
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  48. This is a pseudonym.
  49. Dr Anna McCabe (Medical Inspector), Mr Seamus Mac Uaid (Higher Executive Officer) and Mr MacDáibhid (Assistant Principal Officer and Inspector in Charge of Industrial Schools).
  50. This is a pseudonym.
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  77. This is a pseudonym.
  78. This is a pseudonym.
  79. See General Chapter on the Christian Brothers at para ???.
  80. He went there after many years in Artane.
  81. Dr Charles Lysaght was commissioned by the Department of Education to conduct general and medical inspections of the industrial and reformatory schools in 1966 in the absence of a replacement for Dr McCabe since her retirement the previous year. He inspected Artane on 8th September 1966.
  82. See Department of Education and Science Chapter, One-off Inspections.
  83. The fact that they were tired is noted in many Visitation Reports.
  84. Council for Education, Recruitment and Training.
  85. This is a pseudonym.
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  87. This is a pseudonym.