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2 entries for Br Sumner


In the mid-1980s, an ex-pupil who had left St Joseph’s in 1961 told Br Sumner26 that he had been sexually abused by three Brothers and a priest whilst at the School. The allegations were disclosed to Br Sumner when he went to visit this ex-pupil in jail, where he was waiting to stand trial on charges of incest. In an internal memorandum, the three Brothers were identified only by their initials. The Christian Brothers have suggested that the three Brothers could be Br Dax,27 Br Sydney28 and either Br Alain29 or Br Philippe.30 The priest in question was Fr O’Neill.31 The memorandum also stated that this was the first time that allegations of this nature were made against two of the Brothers. The documents do not indicate what further action was taken on foot of these allegations, and it would appear that nothing further occurred. With regard to one of the Brothers, whom the Christian Brothers say could be Br Alain, it is clear from the Visitation Reports in the 1970s that it was well known within the Community that he had a drink problem. This Brother spent over 20 years in the School.

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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.

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