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Chapter 5 — Lota

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Sexual abuse


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.


For example, Br John O’Shea, Regional Leader for Ireland and Britain, wrote on 19th July 2004 to the Western Health Board inquiry as follows: As I understand it Brother Dieter was moved from Holy Family School Renmore to Waterford in 1970 as a result of an anonymous phone call to the Provincial at the time Brother Baldwin. It seems to me that there was no follow-up on this incident between 1970 and the emergence of allegations in 1995 and the following years. Brother Kurt, RIP was the Superior in the Holy Family School at that time and my speculation would be that knowledge of the reason for this move could well be confined to Brother Kurt, R.I.P. and Brother Baldwin. I would consider it unlikely that there was any awareness in [the UK], either inside or outside the Congregation, of the reason why Brother Dieter was moved from Holy Family School between 1970 and 1995. Given the above, there was no consideration given to carrying out a risk assessment in relation to Brother Dieter’s teaching between 1971 and 1989. Likewise, there was no consideration given to withdrawing him from his teaching duties/contact with children. Neither was there any consideration given to notifying the UK Police, the Gardaí or the relevant Health Authorities.


While Brs Dieter and Guthrie were the only staff members of Lota to be convicted of sexual offences, other members of the Congregation were convicted of sexual offences in other Services managed by the Brothers of Charity.


Br Roland32 received a two-year sentence in relation to offences in Belmont Park, Waterford in July 1999.


Br Herman33 received a sentence of three years in Waterford for the sexual abuse of young people in Belmont Park on 28th October 2004.


The following is a report by Mr Admas, Qualified Childcare Worker, dated Monday 13th November 1989: Report of Incident on Friday 10th November 1989 I acted on a report from one of our residents, (name redacted) at 5.15 p.m. (approx) that the “New Priest” was “interfering with” Robert.34 Robert is 20 years of age and operates in the low moderate/severe range of mental handicap. Robert comes from ... Not knowing what [name redacted] meant by the “New Priest” I went to the Activation Unit expecting to have been sent on a “wild goose chase”. But to my complete amazement, at the end of the Activation Unit I witnessed Robert sitting down on a seat with Brother Alaric35 sitting on his lap in a movement of “going up and down”. Robert’s trousers was half down around his buttocks, but this could have been as a result of the clasp being missing from it. My first reaction was one of being completely dumbfounded, and on seeing me Brother Alaric promptly got up and made some comment to the effect that Robert was his best friend in Lota. I then, straight away, told Robert to come up for his tea, leaving Brother Alaric in the Activation Unit. Some time afterwards, 15 minutes (approx) Brother Alaric came into the Unit during tea and started asking questions regarding the level of handicap of the boys etc. He left promptly after receiving a cool reception. P.S. [name redacted] who operates in the high moderate/low mild range of mental handicap, claimed that Brother Alaric was “feeling Robert” something which I did not witness. The initial report from [name redacted], which I acted upon, was witnessed by two other members of staff. Mr Admas


In a letter dated 15th November 1989 from Br Eric (Manager) to the Provincial Superior, Br Eric said the following: Dear [Provincial Superior], It is with deep regret that I feel obliged to send you the enclosed report. I first was made aware of this incident by [the Clinical Director] when he came to my office at noon on Monday last, 13th November. Subsequently that day [the Hospital Administrator] gave me further details re the sequence of events and of how [name redacted] initially reported the matter to him and, at that stage, also handed me a preliminary unsigned report of the incident. The enclosed signed report was handed to me to-day Wednesday 15th November. You will doubtless comprehend that we are faced with a matter of extreme urgency – a matter patently calling for immediate psychiatric attention. I’m sure you will deal with this as a matter of urgency as it is obvious that Bro. Alaric needs urgent attention for his problem in an appropriate setting. With kindest regards and sincere regret to be burdening you with this unfortunate problem. Yours Sincerely Bro. Eric P.S. This incident occurred in a completely public area – anyone could have witnessed it. Fortunately, Mr Admas was the only staff member who went to the Activation Unit at that time, as far as I can ascertain. [He] is one of our more experienced and loyal employees who has been in the service of the Brothers of Charity for [many years] and whose loyalty and commitment is without question ... It is some consolation that he was the sole witness and I am fully confident that his loyalty to the Brothers will prevail in this matter. Bro. Eric.


The following is a report of a discussion between the Provincial and an unknown author (in the absence of Br Eric due to illness) which took place on 3rd January 1990: Topic: Alleged incident involving Bro Alaric. On the occasion of [the Provincial Superior’s] visit to Lota on the 3rd January, 1990, and in the absence of Bro Eric (Superior) due to illness, I asked him if any decision had been taken regarding the reported incident involving Bro Alaric and one of the residents. I said there was concern at all levels that some urgent action be taken to resolve the matter. A summary of the points made by [the Provincial Superior] are as follows: 1. Bro Alaric is a very old man, and, if not already senile is bordering on senility. 2. It is often the case that senility brings on an increased sexual awareness and activity. 3. The alleged incident has been viewed with the greatest concern and Br Provincial has had a lengthy discussion with Bro Alaric expressing this concern. The Provincial now believed that there will be no further incidents of this nature. 4. He has considered the options available to him: should he transfer Bro Alaric to an old people’s home or – given that he believes there will be no recurrence of the alleged incident – leave him in Lota where Bro has requested to stay. 5. He has decided that, for the immediate future anyway, to leave Bro Alaric in Lota. He will keep himself informed of progress and assess the situation on an on-going basis. 6. He anticipated that Bro Eric would be returning to Lota in the next week or so.


The transfer record of Br Alaric would indicate that he remained in Lota where he had been Superior in charge of the Sancta Maria Pavilion for a number of years in the 1960s.


Br Eric was in charge of the Sancta Maria unit in Lota from 1954 to 1963, along with Br Guthrie and Br Dieter. Sancta Maria unit had 60 boys, divided into two dormitories with 30 boys in each. Their ages ranged between 13 and 18 years. The dormitories were divided in terms of age, Br Guthrie was in charge of one and Br Dieter was in charge of the other.


Br Eric admitted to an allegation contained in a Statement of Claim in High Court proceedings from a boy, resident in Lota from the mid 1950s. His counsel asked ‘Did you ever sexually abuse [this boy]’, to which Br Eric replied ‘Yes’. He was then asked to explain to the Committee the circumstances: 1953 was the year, September 1953, and Cork had won the all Ireland hurling final that year and the captain of the team ... about a fortnight after the match ... rang me and he said, "We would like to bring up the cup and have a bit of a party and a celebration for the boys" and I said very good. So, they came up, big number of the local team called Sarsfields, they were the Glanmire area. So they brought the cup up and we had a party and there was whiskey poured in, in plenty, into the cup and we had a good few drinks of the whiskey and the boys then were sent to bed after the party. It was about 10.30 . It was much later than the boys would normally go to bed and I was in my room and I left my door slightly open because the switches for the lights were on the wall outside and the boys were a bit excited, you know, being up late for this party. So I got ready for bed myself and just as I put on my pyjamas this boy ran into my room and he was naked apart from the – he had the top half of his pyjamas on him, so he started jumping up and down in front of me. I wasn’t used to drinking whiskey at the time, as I said it was 1953 and I pressed myself against him and then he went out.


When asked by his counsel, ‘is that the extent of what happened with [the boy]’, Br Eric replied ‘That was the extent of it yes’.

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  2. Health Service Executive.
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