The Resident Manager had occasion later in the same year to return to the subject of excessive corporal punishment with reference to one of the Brothers involved in the horsewhipping incident, which had happened in April. He wrote to the Br Provincial in November 1940 and stated: At a Conference on the resumption of school business, I quoted Rules re Corp Punishment, Sup Gen’s reference to my authorising “brutal punishment” during last term and in plain words I forbade certain types of punishment. I stated that, in future, in presence of a third party, I would punish for any serious offence amongst the boys. Br Leveret has not adhered to the regulations.
He referred to this Brother again in a subsequent letter: Punishment: a stick is the general instrument used and even with this he goes beyond the rule. I have seen recently a boy with swollen hand, palm and thumb, the steward on farm remarked he was not able to milk for some days. A boy was stripped and beaten in (Br Leveret’s) room. He has put boys across his bed in room and even in unbecoming postures to beat them behind. The boys are absolutely afraid to divulge who punished them and won’t even answer questions truthfully, through fear of being punished again. Only this week I got two little fellows crying and I asked them what happened. They would not tell me.
The Provincial’s reply, if any, is not available but he appears to have sided against him, as Br Leveret was transferred to Salthill. The records of that Institution show that he was criticised for using excessive punishment in that school, in 1949 and 1950. In 1950, his Superior complained that he ‘had injured at least two boys when inflicting corporal punishment’.
This case is evidence of a particular feature of congregational life, namely, that complaints were more likely to be made when relations were poor in the Community or where some other issue was present. The management saw the problem in this case, not in terms of the cruel and unauthorised punishment of the boys but rather the combination of insubordination by Br Leveret and poor inter-Community relations. Transferring Br Leveret to Salthill, which was the way in which the problem was dealt with, did nothing to reduce his propensity for violence in his dealings with boys. The Rules and Regulations of the Congregation and of the Department of Education on corporal punishment were disregarded by Br Leveret, but the Superior did not enforce them, even in the knowledge that the Brother had frightened boys to the point where they would not truthfully answer questions about him. A matter deserving of investigation in itself was whether the Superior had described the boys as ‘illegitimates and pure dirt’, and the outcome ought to have been censure either of the Superior for what he said or of the Brother for his false attribution of offensive words. Br Perryn8 (1941)
Br Leveret was transferred to Salthill in the early 1940s after a history of serious and violent abuse in Letterfrack. In the year before his transfer to Salthill, a Brother on the staff of Letterfrack wrote to the Provincial about the use of a horse whip on the boys. Br Leveret was one of the perpetrators of this brutal punishment. The Resident Manager forbade such punishments and directed that, in future, all punishments for serious offences would be administered by him, the Manager, in the presence of a third party. Br Leveret, however, did not comply with this direction, and the Resident Manager had to write to the Provincial to report that ‘Br Leveret has not adhered to the regulations’.
He referred to Br Leveret in a subsequent letter: Punishment: a stick is the general instrument used and even with this he goes beyond the rule. I have seen recently a boy with swollen hand, palm and thumb, the steward on farm remarked he was not able to milk for some days. A boy was stripped and beaten in his (Br Leveret’s) room. He has put boys across his bed in room and even in unbecoming postures to beat them behind. The boys are absolutely afraid to divulge who punished them and won’t even answer questions truthfully, through fear of being punished again. Only this week I got two little fellows crying and I asked them what happened they would not tell me.
Although Br Leveret wrote a letter in defence of his behaviour, the Provincial did not believe him and he was removed from Letterfrack that year.
He was transferred to Salthill where he remained for almost 10 years. His proclivity for violence emerged again. A Visitation Report in the late 1940s noted that Br Leveret ‘is said to be too severe in school’. A year later, the Superior informed the Visitor of serious misgivings he had regarding Br Leveret’s suitability as a teacher in an industrial school. The Visitation Report noted that: The Superior complained that Br Leveret was very severe on the boys and had injured at least two boys when inflicting corporal punishment. I spoke to Br Leveret and he said that on each occasion it was on account of boys giving him impertinence. He said one boy called him a tinker before the other boys in the class. It seems the Superior made some statement in the chapel when speaking to all the boys to the effect that he was against corporal punishment and that he was the responsible person in the place for inflicting such. The Brother Superior thinks that Br Leveret is not a right individual to have in an industrial school and would like to have him changed. He has rather light work here and is unwilling, according to the Superior to take extra duties.
Br Leveret was transferred to Cork and did not teach in an industrial school again.
Br Leveret should never have been transferred to Salthill after his behaviour in Letterfrack. The Congregation commented on the use of the horse whip in Letterfrack but made no reference to his subsequent move to Salthill. They stated: The above incident demonstrates well how the Brothers generally did not approve of severe corporal punishment. Those who did not approve were courageous enough to speak out even though it meant having to live with the person against whom they spoke. The contention that those religious who did not abuse were culpable because they did not “stand in the way” of abuse they witnessed does not stand up to scrutiny. When abuse was known to a Brother, the documentation indicates that he made it known to the authorities.
In 1939 the Provincial again had to deal with a case of sexual misconduct, this time involving an ex-pupil who was subsequently employed in the School and was in charge of some of the boys. On 20th July 1939, Br Leveret, the Disciplinarian in Letterfrack, wrote to the Provincial, Br Corben, complaining about the sexual activities of Mr Russel: You may remember when you called to Letterfrack some time ago my drawing your attention to improper conduct carried on between the young man ... Since your visit, the individual concerned has repeated this misconduct and the attention of the Superior was directed to the matter by the Sub Superior. The latter incident happened towards the end of May. Since then no action has been taken to have the fellow removed. I am now relieving my conscience by again bringing the matter under your notice. If there be a repetition of the misconduct I shall feel that I did my part in trying to have things put right. I now consider that I am no longer obliged to make any further representation on the matter.
In 1939 the Congregation Visitor noted that the boys looked frail, under-nourished and pale. The Visitor commented on this fact to the Manager, but was told that the Department Inspector had examined the dietary scale and expressed herself satisfied with it. Later in the same year, the Disciplinarian, Br Leveret, wrote to the Provincial complaining, inter alia, about the fact that the boys were not getting enough bread, butter or milk. At this time, farm produce and tea, sugar, bacon, meal and wheat were being sold locally, and milk was being supplied to local people.