A major crisis in the affairs of the Industrial School came to a head in late 1955, when the Resident Manager, Br Carlito24 and a senior Brother on the teaching staff, Br Garcia, were the subjects of serious allegations of sexual abuse of boys in the School, resulting in the transfer of the Resident Manager and the resignation from the Congregation of the other Brother. The latter protested his innocence at the time, and subsequently maintained that his voluntary departure by way of dispensation from vows came about because of his dismay at the way the matter was handled. The Resident Manager remained in the Congregation and later was the focus of further complaints of sexual impropriety.
The Provincial of the Congregation, Br Jose, carried out the annual Visitation between 14th and 16th June 1955, and the consequent Report was very positive about the School generally and Br Carlito in particular: As at the last Visitation I am pleased to note that the Constitutions are well observed and that there is a good spirit of fraternal charity ... The Superior neglects no opportunity to better the conditions under which the boys live, and together with his staff is devoted and zealous in the care of the boys in their spiritual and temporal welfare ... The affairs of the Brothers should not be discussed with the secular staff.
Some five months after this Visitation, Br Blanco, a member of the General Council, carried out an unusually long Visitation to Greenmount. It lasted 12 days rather than the usual two to three days. Allegations of sexual abuse of boys were made against two respected members of the Community, Br Carlito, the Resident Manager, and Br Garcia, either before or during this Visitation.
The following day, Br Gomez collected Canon David and recorded in the diary: Asked Canon David when boys and Bros. had been interviewed if he wanted to see Bros. Carlito & Garcia & he said yes. Phoned them at Passage W. & they came along within half an hour. Returning from Greenmount with Canon David he asked if a Brother had been holding visitation there. I said yes but he had not yet delivered his report on visitation. In that case he said he would say nothing.
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.
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.
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 ...
They subsequently met and the man repeated the allegations: Brother Carlito was a regular visitor to the Orphanage. He took the boys on cycling trips ... at weekends. When he was in 3rd or 4th class the abuse began. “A lot of grooming had taken place before it started.” Another boy from the Orphanage broke his leg and was in hospital ... Brother Carlito took him on a motorbike to visit him. “This was the start of the abuse” [the man] gave no indication as to the nature of the abuse or where it took place. He was vague on dates. When questioned he said he was eleven or twelve at the time. (It seemed to me that eleven or twelve was old for a boy in 3rd or 4th class but I did not comment on this.) [the man] said he had been abused on four occasions ... Brother Carlito would take him to his bedroom and “take down my pants” He remembers going to the monastery to view the Cup Final between Leeds and Sunderland; He then went on to talk about further abuse. “Brother Carlito lay on the bed and placed me on his belly. I got frightened and so did he, I think.”
A representative of the Congregation met Br Carlito subsequently in relation to this complaint, and recorded the outcome of the meeting in a note prepared for the Congregation’s legal representatives. He told Br Carlito of the allegation: He did not interrupt or comment while I was relating the story. When I finished he said “This is terrible just when I was recovering this pushes me back down again.” ... I told him the Gardai were not approached.
Br Carlito recalled the man as a pupil, although he had not taught him. He said that he had been good to him and that he couldn’t remember any abuse taking place.
Br Carlito continued: I am very surprised as I was extra good to him. I even gave him money now and then ... I gave him £2 or £3 pounds now and then. I even sent him money after I left ... but I have not seen or heard from him since. Why did he wait so long? I cannot remember interfering with him.
When it was explained to him that such a time lapse in coming forward was common, that people felt ashamed and guilty about what had happened, and that it took a lot of courage to tell their story, Br Carlito said ‘If I did it to him I must be inclined to do it to others’.