Explore the Ryan Report

Chapter 7 — Artane

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Sexual abuse


Fr Moore suggested that he should tell the Superior, but the boy’s first reaction to that suggestion was that he was too afraid. It would be taken that he was ‘squealing’, as he put it, on Br Adrien. The boy was relieved when Fr Moore said he would speak with Br Ourson. Fr Moore also reported the allegation to the Provincial Superior in Marino, Br Mulholland, to reinforce his concern about the matter. Fr Moore recalled Br Adrien being removed within a matter of days.


Complainants testified that a campaign of physical punishment directed against sexual activity between boys followed Br Adrien’s removal, but this was denied by the Congregation. Fr Moore remembered complaints being made to him by boys about the activities of a Brother who was going from class to class inquiring in a frightening manner about sexual activity among the boys, although he could not recall if this coincided with the Br Adrien incident: But I do remember a group, some two, three or four, coming to me and being almost in a state of panic about this. I asked them about what was troubling them and they told me that there was something going on in the school, in the school rooms. Br Videl was going from class to class and calling out boys and inquiring about their sexual activity and getting – and then beating them in the corridor outside of class and getting them to inform on other boys and beating them. This was continuing all throughout a day, a particular day. They were very, very fearful of this. As I say, it seemed to me in a state of panic. So I decided then that I would have to confront Br Videl myself and relate to him what the boys had said and how distressed they were. He told me that there was a problem of pretty widespread sexual activity among the boys.


Another complainant spoke of a sudden increase at this time in the Brothers’ interest in detecting sexual abuse in the Institution. This Complainant spoke of a particular campaign against sexual behaviour between boys when Brothers used to check on boys in toilet cubicles. He said that the school was assembled and the Brother in charge spoke to the boys and told them of the high number of boys found misbehaving in this way, and told the boys that it had to stop. He himself was never caught by the Brothers, and he said he was not aware what happened to the boys who were detected, although he could recall them being brought into a classroom.


A number of respondent witnesses who were in Artane during this time stated that they recalled Br Adrien being in the kitchen, but they had no recollection of him leaving. Fr Moore said that such an assertion would surprise him very much indeed, as he had certainly noticed his departure and had discussed it with at least one Brother.


The statement in response to the allegation about Br Adrien filed by the Congregation was signed by a Brother who was in Artane for a period which overlapped for one year with the complainant’s stay. The Brother stated that, for the purpose of making his statement, he relied on his own knowledge and personal experience of Artane Industrial School. The statement addressed the issue of sexual abuse in Artane generally, in the same way as all statements signed by representatives of the Congregation.


The statement went on to deal with the specific allegations made by this complainant. It said, in relation to the particular campaign of physical abuse following Br Adrien’s departure, that ‘Whilst there was corporal punishment in Artane at that time, I do not believe that it amounted to the type of violent behaviour that is alleged by the complainant’. In support of this contention, the Congregation quoted the Visitation Report filed by the Congregation after a 1962 visit to the Institution. The Visitor stated: The discipline generally is good and the Superior as well as the Brothers in general are pleased with it. It is not harsh or severe by any means, but effective nevertheless.


The statement then dealt with the particular allegation that the complainant was taken out of his bed by a number of Brothers and beaten over a number of days as a result of having made the complaint to Fr Moore. It stated: I can state that I never saw boys being beaten in the manner alleged. I myself never witnessed such beatings, nor did I ever hear allegations of beating of this wide-ranging nature while I was in Artane. The only punishment authorised was with a leather strap and this could only be administered on the hand. I find it difficult to accept that such a large number of brothers would gang up in the manner alleged and cause such disturbance in the school without being detected. The Brothers who are still alive may make their own response to these allegations. Each of these allegations against each of these respondents is not admitted by the Congregation.


It was not alleged by the complainant that this wide-ranging punishment took place during this Brother’s time in Artane. The complainant specified the year in which this event took place, and this was after the departure of this Brother from Artane. There are Christian Brothers in the Congregation who were in Artane during that time and who would have been in a position to speak with more authority on this matter, but they were not selected to make the statement on behalf of the Christian Brothers in this case.


In relation to the allegations of sexual abuse by Br Adrien, the Christian Brothers stated: ‘[Br Adrien] will make his own response to these allegations. They are not admitted by the Congregation. The Congregation denies that sexual abuse was tolerated, accepted or prevalent in Artane’.


Br Adrien was removed from Artane and sent to a day school in Dublin. In the late 1960s, he was returned to Letterfrack for a number of months, following which he went to a Dublin school for 10 years. He later spent 10 years on missionary work. There is no reference in his personal card to his ever receiving any sanction or warning in relation to his abuse.


Sexual abuse by Brothers was a serious issue in Artane, but many Brothers said that they had absolutely no awareness of this problem and no knowledge of any Brother leaving under a cloud.


This Brother in the 1960s was in a position to perpetrate serious and repeated sexual abuse of a boy over an 18-month period. The boy was, by his own evidence and by the evidence of Fr Moore, too afraid to report it himself to the Superior, which contradicts the Congregation’s assertion that there was no difficulty about boys who were sexually abused going to the authorities in Artane with complaints. Br Adrien was removed from Letterfrack, where it was ‘positively dangerous’ to have him looking after boys. The implication is clear that he sexually abused boys there. Transferring him to a residential school for deaf boys knowingly endangered a large new group of children. His behaviour in Artane could not have come as a surprise to the authorities. This case demonstrates indifference by the Congregation to the protection of children from a sexual predator. It is evidence of a policy of avoiding the disclosure of abuse rather than dealing with it.


Br Dennis served in Artane in the late 1960s. He was questioned by the Gardaí in the early 1990s in relation to allegations of interfering with boys, in a school in the north-east of the country, on two occasions between the late 1980s and early 1990s. He denied the allegations at the time, but when questioned about them again almost 10 years later he admitted to a limited level of sexual abuse involving these boys. He also admitted to getting sexual gratification from young boys. Br Dennis told the Gardaí that in the mid-1990s his Superiors sent him to the Granada Institute, a centre for the treatment of sex offenders in Shankhill County Dublin which was operated by the St John of God Order.


Br Dennis also admitted the allegations which had been made by former residents of Artane, insofar as they described inappropriate external touching and fondling. Although these individuals alleged masturbation and anal rape, he did not admit to those more serious charges: ... I wish to say that I accept some of the allegations as being true, insofar as they describe inappropriate external touching and fondling. I deny however any of the allegations that refer to masturbation and buggery.


Only one man who had made a statement to the Gardaí about Br Dennis gave evidence to the Investigation Committee. He alleged that Br Dennis told him to clean his room and, while he was doing so, the Brother took out his penis and then ‘he brought my head down onto his penis which was erect and he rubbed it against my lips’. On another occasion when he was sent to clean the room, Br Dennis ‘started fondling me and played with my penis. He pressed himself against me and ejaculated’. The witness described a third incident that he said took place, in a derelict area near the playing fields, at holiday time when most of the boys had gone home for holidays. He said that this time the Brother had his penis out and attempted penetration, but gave up when the boy screamed with pain.

  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.
  11. This is a pseudonym.
  12. This is a pseudonym.
  13. This is a pseudonym.
  14. This is a pseudonym.
  15. This is a pseudonym. See also the Carriglea chapter.
  16. This is a pseudonym.
  17. This is a pseudonym.
  18. This is a pseudonym.
  19. This is a pseudonym.
  20. This is a pseudonym.
  21. This is a pseudonym.
  22. This is a pseudonym.
  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.
  27. This is a pseudonym.
  28. This is a pseudonym.
  29. This is a pseudonym.
  30. This is a pseudonym.
  31. This is a pseudonym.
  32. This is a pseudonym.
  33. This is a pseudonym.
  34. This is a pseudonym.
  35. This is a pseudonym.
  36. The same incident is referred to in the Department’s inspection into the matter as ‘a shaking’.
  37. This is a pseudonym.
  38. This is a pseudonym.
  39. This is a pseudonym.
  40. This is a pseudonym.
  41. This is a pseudonym.
  42. This is a pseudonym.
  43. This is a pseudonym.
  44. This is a pseudonym.
  45. This is a pseudonym.
  46. This is a pseudonym.
  47. This is a pseudonym.
  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.
  51. This is a pseudonym.
  52. This is a pseudonym.
  53. This is a pseudonym.
  54. This is a pseudonym.
  55. This is a pseudonym.
  56. This is a pseudonym.
  57. This is a pseudonym.
  58. This is a pseudonym.
  59. This is a pseudonym.
  60. This is a pseudonym.
  61. This is a pseudonym.
  62. This is a pseudonym.
  63. This is a pseudonym.
  64. This is a pseudonym.
  65. This is a pseudonym.
  66. This is a pseudonym.
  67. This is a pseudonym.
  68. This is a pseudonym.
  69. This is a pseudonym.
  70. This is a pseudonym.
  71. This is a pseudonym.
  72. This is a pseudonym.
  73. This is a pseudonym.
  74. This is a pseudonym.
  75. This is a pseudonym.
  76. This is a pseudonym.
  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.
  86. This is a pseudonym.
  87. This is a pseudonym.