The social worker informed the Director of Residential Care, Mr Gallagher,5 who requested that the allegations be put in writing, which was duly done by letter. The Principal, Br Grissel,6 and Mr Gallagher interviewed the boy who made the allegations and Mr O’Sullivan, who denied the allegations. They decided to suspend Mr O’Sullivan on full pay, pending further investigation and inquiries into the allegations. It was intended that he would be suspended for a period of one week; however, this suspension continued for approximately one month. During the internal investigation, six staff members and 13 boys were interviewed.
Brian reported this incident to the same staff member he had spoken to earlier that year, Sr Clarke The following morning, she reported the allegation to the Principal Br Grissel. That afternoon, she met with both Br Grissel and the Director of Residential Care, Mr Gallagher, and repeated the allegations to them. She also set out the allegations in a report. That day, Br Grissel and Mr Gallagher interviewed Fergal. A member of staff acted as interpreter during the interview. During this interview, Fergal outlined the events of the night, and confirmed Brian’s account.
Br Grissel and Mr Gallagher held two meetings with Mr Moore, who denied the allegations. He was suspended on full pay, pending the outcome of an investigation.
Br Grissel and Mr Gallagher met two Eastern Health Board workers at their offices the following day and briefed them on the situation. Over a week later, Br Grissel had a meeting with a social worker from the Eastern Health Board to discuss informing the boy’s parents, contacting the Gardaí and setting up an internal inquiry. Br Grissel then contacted the School’s solicitor.
Br Grissel informed Fergal’s parents who were very anxious and were particularly worried about the possibility of AIDS. It was stressed to them that what took place ‘was of a masturbatory nature’.
Brian, who had witnessed the incident, was also seen by the assessment team. He informed them that Mr Moore had shown him on many occasions how to masturbate, and he named two other boys who had been similarly instructed. He also informed the team that Mr Moore used to show adult-blue movies to the boys. A case conference took place between the St Clare’s team, members of the Eastern Health Board and Br Grissel, where it was decided that an initial screening process should be undertaken of all children in both residential houses where Mr Moore had worked. In addition, staff of St Joseph’s were to be informed of the situation, and the parents of the boys named were to be contacted with a view to having their children assessed.
There were communication problems and poor organisation. There was a lack of co-operation between the Eastern Health Board, the Gardaí, St Clare’s and the authorities at Cabra. At one point, criticisms were levelled against the management of Cabra by the Eastern Health Board on these grounds. It was stated that the senior social worker and his assistant and the St Clare’s Unit were ‘not getting full co-operation from St Joseph’s, Cabra, especially from the Principal’. This was challenged by the Congregation at a subsequent meeting, and it was acknowledged that there had been co-operation from management, but that there had been difficulties and differences of opinion. It was raised at a meeting that there had been a lack of communication with the parents and the setting-up of an independent inquiry was discussed. Some parents were upset by the delays in informing them and there was a lack of clarity as to who should inform them. The issue of peer abuse and its prevalence in the School was raised and it was stated that ‘there was evidence of a kind of culture of abuse having developed in St Joseph’s among the boys themselves’ which had to be dealt with. Br Grissel wrote a letter defending his actions in the handling of the investigation, stating that there had been full co-operation from him and his staff.
In the late 1980s, an Assistant House Parent, Mr Smith,37 found that a boy was upset and ‘had problems’, and had written down details of many instances of sexual abuse perpetrated on him by boys in his class over a period of seven years, including fondling, masturbation, anal penetration and oral sex. Mr Smith informed the Principal, Br Grissel, of the allegations, and the Principal with another teacher spoke to the boy and decided to allow him home early due to his agitated state.
The Principal, Br Grissel, and the Superior, Br Sumner, visited the boy’s mother at her home. They had been advised by Dr Byrne to inform her of the sexual abuse of her son and the urgent need for counselling and therapy. The mother’s response was that the family doctor was a lady and she would seek her advice. She also informed them that she was taking her son out of the School because she did not feel he had the ability to pass the Leaving Certificate. There is no record of any follow-up in the School by way of internal investigation, and the matter appears to have been considered closed once the boy was gone.
The boy’s father protested that the Principal of the School had neglected the matter totally and for so long, and that his concern at that stage one year on ‘appeared to be to minimise the significance of what happened and the shortcomings’ which he had described. He found Br Grissel’s suggestion that what the boy was doing with his son might be described as ‘horseplay’ to be offensive and ridiculous, and thought that attempted rape would be more appropriate. The writer went on to claim that the way this and other similar events had been handled was unfair to the boys engaged in predatory behaviour as well as to their victims.