Another witness described how abuse by Br Bruce73 became progressively more severe, culminating in an attempt to commit anal rape. The witness was detained in Artane during the 1940s: ... at first it was just, he used to just take me trousers down and just stand there and make me masturbate him and things like that. But then it got a bit deeper and deeper where he would ask me to do things, which I couldn’t understand at the time. But like, he would ask me to – oral sex and things like that. Then he started bringing me, just, it is only 50 yards down into the shower rooms and in there he would bring me down, usually down the left-hand side into one of the curtain rooms at the bottom there and then on a couple of occasion he actually tried to rape me, but he never did succeed. He used to be very upset himself even afterwards, you know, what he was doing.
The Investigation Committee heard the evidence of ‘the only boy from Gorey’. He had been sent to Artane for stealing a purse when he was ten and a half years old. He explained that his family were very poor and his sister had told him to take it. He was sent to the Industrial School for five and a half years in the 1950s. His mother had simply told him he was ‘going away for a few days’. He told the Investigation Committee about his early days in Artane: I think I was the only one from Gorey ... It was very difficult [to make friends] for a long time ... I was terrified ... there were so many boys ... I never saw the likes of it before in my life ... The first Brother that ever met me there was Br Bruce the day I went there. I don’t know what it was, from that day onwards we seemed to get on very well together. He was explaining the school to me that night and ever since that we were friends ... He was brilliant, yeah. Brilliant. Brilliant ... he was exceptionally good to me. For what reason I couldn’t tell you. But I liked him and he liked me ... I would be chopping sticks for him and he would bring [extra food] down under his habit.
One resident, who was in St Patrick’s from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s, made allegations of sexual assault against a farmhand. He told the Committee: His name was Bruce4 and he used to look after us at playtime, you know. He always carried a stick with him. There was one occasion where I had 25 on each hand, well several of us had that, we don’t know the reason for it. He use to take me down to the hay barn and strip me off and he would strip himself off and, you know, I had to do things to him and he tried to do things to me of a sexual nature ... it happened – six, seven and eight years old, during the summer months mostly ... I knew what he was doing. I didn’t feel right, if you know what I mean, but I didn’t know what it was all about. I knew I was doing something wrong.
The witness was very explicit about the abuser, the nature of the abuse, and the subsequent investigation. He said he did not know in advance why he was being brought into the classroom ‘until I got in there’. The statue of the Virgin Mary ‘wasn’t normally there, no, and I had to look at it’. He recalled the kinds of questions that the nun asked: I can remember asking about Bruce, did he ever do anything to me, and I must tell the truth and all this. I remember looking down and shaking my head and saying no.
‘I was too frightened’, he added. ‘Of Bruce, of getting beaten up and that again’.