Explore the Ryan Report

Chapter 2 — Upton

Show Contents

Sexual abuse


The letter from Rome to Fr Placido informed him that the dispensation sought from the Order of Religious had come through. The letter went on to say that the dispensation itself was retained in the Rosminian archive in Rome. Br Constantin was, therefore, free ‘to return to the world without further delay ...’.


Former Br Constantin reappeared in the early 1960s at Mount Melleray Seminary, Cappoquin, County Waterford, as appears from a letter to the Provincial: Dear Father Provincial, We had a student here last year named Constantin who spent some time in your Congregation. It was only quite recently that information of that fact reached me. He was admitted here on the recommendation of a priest in England and I would never be satisfied to keep him without a reference from his former Superior had I known he was in religion. I am writing now to you for a reference for him as I am expecting him back soon and he will get a bit of my mind for not telling me he was with you. He is very quiet and well conducted as a student but that would not be enough to get him into a major seminary later on. With every good wish, I am, dear Fr Provincial, Yours sincerely in DIE President


There is no record to show whether a reference, or even a reply, was sent, nor is it known whether this ex-Brother joined the Cistercian Community.


Further light on this episode emerged from the evidence of Br Alfonso, who described how one of the boys complained to him about Br Constantin’s activities, which he immediately reported to the Rector and the Provincial.


An Assistant Prefect at the time, Fr Giovani,37 in a statement supplied to the Committee confirmed the discovery of abuse by this Brother and another: Later on we were both scandalised and shocked and distressed to find that two lay brothers, ... were also sexually molesting the boys in their care. Immediately Br Alfonso and myself reported this to the then Provincial of the Institute of Charity, Fr Orsino, I.C., who removed the offending Brothers: one brother later died in the institute, Bro Fausto,38 the other, Bro Constantin, left the Rosminians and I haven’t heard of him since.


Another Rosminian, Br Tomasso, who was lodging in the School at the time, responded to a Rosminian questionnaire as follows: As a student ... residing in Upton [during the 1950s] I made enquiries about Bro Constantin – when he had been absent for some time – and was told by Fr Gian that he had been interfering with boys, and had left the Order.


When the Rosminians discovered this Brother was sexually abusing boys, the first response was to move him. There does not appear to have been any proper investigation of the extent of his activities because Fr Salvatore’s letter says that the Rector at Upton had proof ‘in two cases at least’. There were very possibly more. It would appear that he went on to be a problem once more in Kilmurry, because sending him there ‘was seen as saving his vocation but it is not like that’. The priority was again keeping the matter secret. Permitting the Brother to obtain relief from his vows avoided the need for a formal process, which suited the Order, and was convenient for the offender, particularly as the actual dispensation was not even contained in his record. Taking this course meant that minimal information was recorded about the departure of the Brother from the Order. The Rome file: Br Fausto


Br Fausto was sent to Upton as Assistant Brother in the early 1930s. He made his perpetual vows in the mid-1930s and later was transferred to Omeath. He spent another year in Upton in the mid-1940s. He returned to Upton in the early 1950s, and worked in the Community kitchen. He was moved to Ferryhouse approximately three years later, and his record card indicated that this was done ‘during year’. He was transferred to Glencomeragh in the early 1960s. He died in the early 1980s.


This Brother was discovered to be sexually abusing boys in the 1950s. Br Alfonso said that he discovered that Br Fausto had been sexually abusing children at the same time that he found out about Br Constantin. Fr Giovani corroborated the discovery of Br Fausto in his statement. A complainant, resident in the early 1950s, gave evidence that his brother, while being punished by Br Alfonso, complained to him that he was being abused by a Brother whose name the witness did not recall correctly, but by a similar-sounding name: When he started laying into him with the strap my brother turned around and said that he was abused by a Brother called [similar sounding name to perpetrator] ... Br Alfonso stopped dead in his tracks, put the strap back in the thing and he couldn’t apologise enough. [The Brother] was removed from the school shortly thereafter ... No, I did not witness that. My brother mentioned it to me a couple of years ago, three or four years ago.


The note of the Brother’s transfer to Ferryhouse in the mid-1950s ‘during year’ would indicate that there were urgent reasons for the transfer, and that it did not occur in the ordinary way, carrying the implication that there was some apprehension on the part of the authorities that dictated the move.


In other records, there are references to this Brother that are suggestive of improper conduct on his part, but nothing that was clear and unequivocal or that could be understood without knowing the evidence of Br Alfonso and Fr Giovani.


Fr Fabiano, Resident Manager at Upton, wrote to the Provincial at Rome referring to this Brother. He said that he had done nothing more about an episode concerning him. He added: as it would be needlessly bringing things into the limelight again and I could do nothing without authority. The assertion about [Br Fausto] came up casually as having happened in the past and I decided that the prudent thing to do was leave it in the past while you decided what should be done. My own opinion about the matter is that he should quietly get a change and be taken out of the danger because it will always be there.


Other documentary references to the Brother are even more vague, although generally suggestive of reasons for apprehension about his behaviour. For example, one comment read, ‘Fr Salvatore ... told me that he did not consider Fausto’s influence there as being to the spiritual advantage of the Novices’.


Another reference discussed his suitability as follows: you don’t mention Kilmurry; from what Fr Salvatore ... was saying to me, I have my doubts if Fausto is the best one for that house. But the Novice Master holds him in high esteem.


Another document remarked that his conscience was in a class of its own: I hope Fausto won’t be a destructive element in the Novitiate I think he has a conscience that is sui generis.39 At Omeath he used to bring the Scholastics with him, secretly, for a smoke.

  1. Quoted in Bríd Fahey Bates, The Institute of Charity: Rosminians. Their Irish Story 1860–2003 (Dublin: Ashfield Publishing Press, 2003), p 74.
  2. This is a pseudonym.
  3. This is a pseudonym.
  4. This is a pseudonym.
  5. 1933 Rules and Regulations for the Certified Industrial Schools in Saorstát Éireann, Rule 12.
  6. This is a pseudonym.
  7. This is a pseudonym.
  8. This is a pseudonym.
  9. This is a pseudonym.
  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.
  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. This is a pseudonym.
  24. This is a pseudonym.
  25. This is a pseudonym.
  26. This is a pseudonym.
  27. This is a pseudonym.
  28. Latin for curiosity, astonishment, surprise.
  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. This is a pseudonym.
  37. This is a pseudonym.
  38. This is a pseudonym.
  39. Latin for in a class of its own.
  40. This is a pseudonym.
  41. Latin for with a boy.
  42. Latin for with boys.
  43. Latin for As spoken.
  44. This is a pseudonym.
  45. Latin for curiosity, astonishment, surprise.
  46. Latin for without delay.
  47. This is a pseudonym.
  48. This is a pseudonym.
  49. Latin for due caution.
  50. This is a pseudonym.
  51. This is a pseudonym.
  52. This is a pseudonym.
  53. This is a pseudonym.
  54. Dr Anna McCabe was the Department of Education Inspector for most of the relevant period.
  55. Records exist for only 19 of the 23 years.
  56. This is a pseudonym.