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Chapter 4 — Greenmount

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Sexual abuse


It is not known why the bishop ordered his own investigation. However, Fr Andrew, the School chaplain when these investigations were carried out, recalled to Professor Keogh that a Mill Hill Father (he could not recall the name although it seems clear that the source of the allegations was Fr Brendan, the Mill Hill Father who had previously raised the issue of immorality amongst the boys) had made an allegation to the parish priest of the Lough, the parish in which the School was located, that two members of the Greenmount Community were involved in an abusive relationship with a number of the boys, and he reported the matter to the Bishop. Fr Andrew said that Bishop Lucey is believed to have visited the house of the senior curate in the Lough, Fr Charles,28 in order to interview a number of the Greenmount boys, and the bishop is believed to have conducted these interviews without revealing his identity. If that is what happened, it would explain why the bishop ordered the canonical investigation.


On 8th December, the bishop told Br Gomez, during the course of a telephone conversation, that he would see Brs Carlito and Garcia, who were back at Greenmount following the Canon’s visit, if they wished to see him. Br Gomez made an appointment for the Brothers to see the bishop the following day.


Fr Brendan, from Mill Hill, appears to have interviewed a number of boys who presumably made the allegations which led to the investigations. According to the notes made by Br Gomez, Br Carlito, the Resident Manager, assembled a number of boys including two with whom he had been accused of engaging in sexual activity. He questioned the two boys in front of the other boys as to the truth of the allegations. One denied the allegation and the other, who had since left the School, said that he was asked so many questions that he was confused. Br Carlito told him it was his duty to go to Fr Brendan and make the matter clear to him in writing.


There appears to have been a struggle going on between the Superior, who was seeking exculpation, and Fr Brendan, who had received some of the complaints and passed them on. The Superior General’s diary records: Fr Brendan told the boys 1.it would be a mortal sin to divulge the interview to the Brother 2.if they did they would have to go to the Bishop 3.they could be put to gaol.


The note continues: Superior Carlito assembled the boys interviewed by Fr. Brendan and told them that any words he was using were not in secret and could be used if they were ever interviewed – and that he was using no threats or bribes “if you think that what you have said is true stick to it but you must prove it. If you think what you said is untrue be honourable enough to admit it.” “He would follow this up [to] the very end ...”


On 27th December, Br Carlito resigned as Resident Manager but remained a member of the Congregation. The Synopsis of his Service History provided by the Department of Education indicates that he taught in a number of different schools until he reached retirement. He died at an advanced age before the Committee began its hearings into Greenmount.


Br Garcia furnished medical evidence that he was incapable of testifying before the Committee, but he did provide a statement dealing with these events: I learned of these allegations in circumstances when I was walking along the corridor in Greenmount Industrial School and Br Allente approached me and told me that I and another Brother were to go to the Bishop’s Palace to speak to Bishop Cornelius Lucey who was then the Bishop of Cork ... At this remove in time I have difficulty recalling the precise allegations as related to me by Bishop Lucey. In general terms the allegations were to the effect that children were being abused in the school and that I was being blamed. I immediately denied those allegations to the Bishop and I inquired as to who had made these allegations against me. Bishop Lucey would not provide these names. I also inquired as to what individual had made the complaint and I did not get that name either. I was then told to leave. Some time later I was invited again to the Bishop’s Palace and had a discussion again with the Bishop about alleged sexual abuse in which I was allegedly involved. I immediately denied any such involvement in this type of activity. I was invited back again on a third separate occasion and I inquired of the Bishop as to when all of this was going to end and I was told by the Bishop “that there was no smoke without fire”. I became extremely upset about the way in which this matter was being handled and took the view that if this was the way that matters were being dealt with that I would be better off out of the Presentation Brothers.


He continued teaching in the School until his dispensation was granted in February 1956: I remember leaving Greenmount on a Friday and commencing teaching at Waterford on the following Monday where I had secured a post.


Fr Andrew was chaplain to the School from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s. In a letter dated 29th December 2005, he stated: I wish to state clearly that during my years as chaplain, I saw no evidence whatever of physical or sexual abuse.


However, he said that he had heard rumours about abuse in the School. He stressed that this was clearly hearsay, but he was ‘happy to pass it on ... as it may help to clarify some aspects of the Commission’s enquiries’: Much of what I heard about enquiries into abuse in Greenmount came from young Mill Hill community priests who were studying for the Higher Diploma in education in University College, Cork ... Some information may also have come from Fr. Charles ... It was probably he who informed me that I was being excluded from the enquiries because I was hearing Confessions in Greenmount. I believe that there were altogether three distinct enquiries into abuse in Greenmount while I was chaplain there. The only one of which I was aware at the time was under the care of Rev. Charles, curate in the Lough Parish (long since deceased.) I believe that this enquiry was a formal Canonical Visitation, done by V. Rev. Mons. David.. I never saw him while he was in Cork.


He did not know what action, if any, the Diocese took as a result of the inquiry, but he believed that a number of Brothers either left the Congregation or were transferred elsewhere. When Fr Andrew heard of ‘possible problems in Greenmount’ many years later, he informed the Diocesan authorities of the Canon David investigation, but was told that there was no Canon David report on file.


Fr Andrew stated that he later heard from Sr Vita,29 who had been in charge of the Boy’s Junior Industrial School at Passage West, a feeder school for Greenmount and Upton, that Bishop Lucey had visited her and directed her not to transfer boys to the two senior schools mentioned, thus contributing to the closure of those schools.


In the late 1990s, an individual approached the Presentation Brothers with allegations that Br Carlito had sexually abused him during the 1970s, while he was a resident at an orphanage run by another Congregation and attended the nearby monastery school. Br Carlito was teaching at the school. Br Carlito taught in this school from the mid-1960s until the mid-1970s.


The man making this allegation met with the Superior of the monastery and told him that Br Carlito had abused him. The Superior then met the Regional Leader, Br Hilario,30 to whom he gave the following two-page report: He told me he had been in an Orphanage in the local ... Convent. Bro C. used to visit often. One day a boy broke his leg in the yard and was in ... hospital. Bro C took on a motorbike to see him. That the first time abuse started. Then Bro C used to bring to the monastery and take him up to his own room. Brought him to see Leeds v Sunderland Cup Final on T.V. in monastery – then abuse. Usually gave him 2/-. Stopped around the time the Orphanage closed ... Is undergoing Counselling. To see me & tell me was part of the healing process ...


Br Hilario recorded these events in a memorandum. Following his meeting with the Superior, Br Hilario telephoned the man: I assured him that I believed his story and that I would be quite prepared to listen to him if he so wished.

  1. Dermot Keogh, ‘St Joseph’s Industrial School, Greenmount, Cork’ (Report prepared for the Presentation Brothers, May 2001 and submitted to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse 19 May 2004), pp 187–188.
  2. For the greater glory of God.
  3. Fratrium Presentionis Mariae.
  4. Keogh, p 54.
  5. Keogh, p 57.
  6. Cork Examiner, 28 March 1874, cited in Dermot Keogh, ‘St Joseph’s Industrial School, Greenmount, Cork’ May 2001.
  7. Cork Examiner, 30 March 1874, cited by Keogh, May 2001, p 41.
  8. Cork Examiner, 30 March 1874, cited by Keogh, May 2001, pp 41–2.
  9. Cork Examiner, 24 March 1874.
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  13. Report on Reformatory and Industrial Schools, 1936.
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