Explore the Ryan Report

Chapter 5 — Lota

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Sexual abuse


In a statement made to the Gardaí on 13th January 1998, and furnished to the Investigation Committee in the Department of Education discovery, he confirmed that in 1969 he visited the School. During the visit, a boy of around 15 years of age approached him in the school yard and complained that he had been sexually assaulted by the Principal of the School, Br Dieter. He questioned the boy, and was satisfied that the boy was making a very serious complaint, and that he would have to report the matter to the School authorities and to his own Department. He then consulted with his superior in Dublin and informed the Provincial of the Brothers of Charity (Br Baldwin).24 He also discussed the complaint with the Manager of the School, Br Kurt,25 (now deceased) who assured him he would investigate the complaint as a matter of urgency.


Within a couple of days, Br Kurt telephoned him and said Br Dieter had been confronted and, after initial denials, had admitted the sexual abuse of the boy. Br Kurt informed him that Br Dieter had been transferred to Belmont Psychiatric Hospital in Waterford.


At the request of his superior, (the then Assistant Chief Inspector with responsibility for Special Education), Mr Parter made a written report on the matter to him. The report is missing.


In their affidavit of discovery to the Investigation Committee, the Department of Education said that this report was last in the possession of the Department in approximately 1989 when it was seen by a now retired inspector. The Department of Education say it is impossible to say at what time since 1989 this report went missing.


The Brothers of Charity provided another version of events which is described below.


Br Baldwin subsequently left the Brothers of Charity. He had joined the Brothers in the late 1940s, and remained there until the early 1970s. The Brothers retained his services in an advisory capacity for a year after he left the Congregation.


On 16th April 1998, he gave a statement to the Gardaí in which he described his recollections of the details surrounding the events in Renmore concerning Br Dieter as hazy. He did recall receiving an anonymous phone call in his office in Dublin one night in 1969 to the effect that ‘Brother Dieter will be visited by the Gardaí’.


He travelled by car the next morning to Renmore and met with Br Kurt, the local Manager/Superior, and spoke with Br Dieter. He recalled that he immediately took Br Dieter with him to Dublin, and transferred him to the service in the UK. He said that Br Kurt managed the local situation and co-operated fully with the subsequent enquiries.


Br Baldwin met with a member of the legal team for the Investigation Committee in 2002, and he explained that, in recent times, he had been in touch with the Brothers of Charity and they had made some records available to him which would indicate that Br Dieter did not transfer immediately to the UK, but had instead spent some months in Belmont, County Waterford and he must have been mistaken in his earlier account given to the Gardaí.


Br Baldwin was unable to be of any further assistance to the Committee as to the identity of the anonymous caller. He confirmed that he, as the Provincial of the Congregation at the time, had not initiated any internal investigation into the allegations, but had preferred to leave it to the Gardaí. He confirmed that he did not contact the Gardaí directly himself and was not contacted by them, nor was he aware of the outcome, if any, of the Garda investigation.


He was certain in his recollection that Br Dieter did not deny the veracity of the allegation and, because of this fact, he decided to remove Br Dieter forthwith from Renmore and transfer him to a position that did not bring him into contact with children. He stated that Br Dieter was moved immediately. He confirmed that a unit in the UK was a suitable location for the transfer of Br Dieter, as it was a facility for the adult learning disabled, and no children attended this facility.


The records reveal the following: (1)In the “Historical Report” (The School Annal/Diary) for Renmore written in December 1970, the following is noted: 21st January Mr Parter, Inspector of Schools, spent all day in school 6th April, Mr Parter, Inspector of Schools, visited the school today. 3rd June Mr Parter, Inspector of Schools examined Br Alvin26 for Diploma, Brother passed. 12th June Brother Br Dieter transferred to Belmont Park. 1st September Mr Walman27 took up duties as Headmaster. (2)Records from the Brothers of Charity record the transfer of Br Dieter from Holy Family School in Galway to Belmont Park in Waterford on 14th June 1970. There are two separate records confirming this date. (3)A Report of the Provincial Council Meetings held at Dominican Retreat House in Cork from 13th to 16th April 1971 records at item 4 that Br Dieter was to be changed from Belmont Park to the UK, on 24th April 1971 (Br Baldwin chaired the meeting which was attended by Brs Kurt, Eric, Bruno28 and Carl).29 (4)Another report of the Provincial Council Meeting held at Triest House on 29th May 1971 records again at item 5 that Br Dieter is in the UK and is happily settled there (Again, Br Baldwin chaired this meeting attended by Brs Eric, Bruno, Claus30 and Franz31 with Brs Kurt and Carl absent). (5)Br Dieter appears on the annual report of the residential centre in the UK on 23rd April 1971: ‘We welcomed Bro. Br Dieter as teacher for our proposed new special school’. (6)24th May 1971: special school opened – 5 pupils, Teacher and Headmaster – Brother Dieter. (7)List of Brothers and their functions – 31/12/1971 – Brother Dieter – Teacher. (8)The annual report for the year ending 31st December 1972 shows Brother Dieter as a Student. (9)The annual report for the year ending 1974 records: (a)Brother Dieter, Certificate in Education Leeds University, April, 1st 1974, Department of Education Science. (b)Brother Dieter – Teaching out (the job was in St. Michaels Primary school and he was there until he retired in 1989).


In response to the emerging allegations of sexual abuse in Renmore School in Galway, the Western Health Board set up an inquiry in 1999.


In response to several written queries from the Chairman/Members of the inquiry team, the Brothers of Charity have consistently told the inquiry that the Provincial Superior at the time recollects that Br Dieter was removed from the Holy Family School in 1969. Br Dieter’s recollection was that he left the Holy Family School in 1969, and the meagre records available indicate this.


These letters from the Brothers of Charity in general have been signed by either the Provincial or the Director of Services in Renmore.

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