Br Adrien, who worked in Artane in the early 1960s, was removed as a result of a complaint that was made to the chaplain, Fr Henry Moore, and passed on by him to the Superior and to the Provincial.
Prior to serving in Artane, Br Adrien had served in Letterfrack, and was acknowledged as being a danger to boys there. The Resident Manager of Letterfrack wrote of this Brother in 1959: I hope you will forgive my candour in saying that I would prefer to have no one at all for the boys’ kitchen than to have the constant strain of watching and worrying about him. It is impossible to keep one’s eye on him. Every time he gets my back turned he is in the kitchen and goodness knows, there are enough difficulties and worries to contend with, without having to think of him every minute and hour of the day. The position regarding the Monastery kitchen is regrettable but unfortunately he has not got proper control in the boys’ department either. In my opinion he is not suitable at all to handle young boys and it is positively dangerous, especially in these times, to have him looking after them. A weakness in discipline in this important department will have a very detrimental effect on the boys’ behaviour and will add to everyone’s difficulties and will seriously affect the tone of the school. Taking the above considerations into account and also your own personal knowledge of Br Adrien I ask you seriously to reflect on the harmful effect his staying here is bound to have, and I entreat you to permit the transfer to go through as originally arranged.
The Superior’s request was granted, but it was scarcely a satisfactory solution to move Br Adrien to St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys in Cabra. He remained there for two years until he went to Artane and, despite the concerns expressed in the above letter, he was put in charge of the boys’ kitchen.
Some two years later, a letter to the Resident Manager following a Visitation referred to Br Adrien as follows: I am sorry about Br Adrien and I only hope that we will hear no more about such cases. Rather there will be no such case to hear about.
The Committee heard evidence from one complainant who made allegations of sexual abuse against Br Adrien. His evidence was unusual in that it was corroborated by the chaplain, Fr Moore. The complainant in this case was 11 or 12 when he went to work in the refectory of Artane. Within a short while, a grooming process was commenced by Br Adrien: [He] used to take me into his confidence and give me sweets and an apple or an orange or whatever. He used to show me a bit of affection. Obviously, not getting any affection that I used to have from my grandmother, it was lovely to have. I used to look forward to the treats that I used to get—and after a period of time, slowly but surely—not realising what was happening, I was being given sweets and all of a sudden my hand was taken and it was placed on – what we called at the time, we committed badness, but my hand was taken and put on his penis. Being an innocent child, I didn’t realise what was happening, or whatever. I was being shown what to do with my hand and this, that and the other and I was being given sweets.
This went on for a period of time and became more frequent. Br Adrien would often make a point of beating him in the refectory in front of all the boys if he committed any slight infraction: ‘I was being shown who was in charge here, “you do what I tell you to do”’.
Br Adrien had an office at the back of the refectory and, when the complainant was brought there, the same pattern of behaviour continued. The door was locked and he was made to masturbate the Brother in return for sweets and treats. He also alleged that, on one occasion, Br Adrien anally raped him. The second time he tried to do this, the boy resisted by kicking out. In return, he was badly beaten and had no escape from the locked room.
The complainant went to Confession on a Friday in the mid-1960s and told the chaplain, Fr Moore, what had been happening with Br Adrien. He was shocked and asked the boy to repeat what he said outside of the confessional. The boy did so and then the priest reported the matter to the Superior, Br Ourson.
The following Monday, Br Ourson and a large number of the teaching Brothers came out to the pre-school assembly in the yard, and the complainant was summoned to Br Ourson’s office. There, he was asked to repeat exactly what he had told the chaplain. When asked what Br Ourson’s reaction was, he said, ‘I can’t say what his reaction was. All I know is that within 24 hours Br Adrien was gone out of Artane’.
He recalled being badly bruised and swollen after these events but said that nobody intervened on his behalf: Brothers didn’t go against Brothers, they all stuck together. I think the whole school knew that I had reported Br Adrien, the whole lot of the Christian Brothers and everything, so there was no sympathy shown for anything that I may have done on my behalf.
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.
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.