Br Tristan spent over 10 years in Dublin before being transferred to Carriglea in the early 1940s under a cloud. The reason for his transfer is unknown, except that the matter was sufficiently serious to warrant being brought to the attention of the General Council in Rome.
It was not long before Br Tristan once again came to the attention of the General Council. Less than a year after his arrival in Carriglea, he was issued with a Canonical Warning and was swiftly transferred to Artane. Once again, details of this incident are not available.
In 1944, Br Tristan was implicated in sexual abuse of boys, along with three other Brothers in Artane. The abuse came to light after ‘a series of accusations by boys of the school indicating criminal or indecent assault’. The written complaints made by the boys and investigated by the Superior of Artane revealed ‘long continuance and frequency of wrongdoing on the part of Br Tristan’. He was tried by the General Council in Rome on 16th October 1944, where he denied ‘some of the matter of each charge’. Br Tristan was found guilty, and the unanimous vote was in favour of expulsion.
Br Tristan requested an interview with the Apostolic Visitor and one was granted. After their discussion, Br Tristan decided to apply for a dispensation from his vows. The dispensation was granted immediately by the Apostolic Visitor ‘whose powers enabled him to do so where he deemed it wise’.
There is a strong indication that Br Tristan was known by the General Council to be an abuser. He was that he was probably abusing boys throughout his 15-year career in the Congregation. Their solution to the problem was to move him on and to keep him within the industrial school system. The record of his trial by the General Council made it clear that the allegations amounted in their view to ‘criminal or indecent assault’. This was at odds with the submission made by the Christian Brothers to the effect that there was no appreciation at the time of the gravity of sexual abuse, and that the moral failure of the Brother and danger of scandal to the Congregation were regarded as the most significant repercussions of sexual abuse. The Christian Brothers referred to this incident in their Opening Statement and submitted that ‘it transpired, later, ... that he had also offended while in Carriglea Park’. This implied that the Carriglea incident only came to light some time later. This was not the case, as the minutes of the General Council meeting revealed that Br Tristan was reminded at his trial of the reason for his removal from both Marino and Carriglea.
The second case involved Br Tristan61 who worked in the kitchen. He was found to have sexually abused a number of boys following complaints made by the boys themselves. He was tried by the General Council in 1944 and was unanimously adjudged guilty. When the charges were laid against him, he: denied “some” of the matter of each charge, admitted “jostling” or “wrestling”, said he had “no bad intention” and “never lay on any boy” in the back-store so often referred to by boys. He admitted “tricking” with several boys, denied “touching” a boy’s face or body.
Br Tristan had arrived in Artane in the early 1940s under a cloud of suspicion from Carriglea Park Industrial School, where he had served on the staff for a year. From the records, it appears that he had been given a Canonical Warning because of ‘an incident’ that arose during his time in Carriglea before he was sent to Artane. No details are provided as to the exact nature of this incident. It also appears that he was transferred to Carriglea from a training college under suspicious circumstances. Again, no details are given of his time in this college, where he was stationed during the 1930s, or what warranted his removal. The minutes of the meeting of the General Council, where the details of this Brother’s trial in the Artane case are recorded, stated that he: ... was also reminded of the causes of his removal from [the training college] and Carriglea – a Canonical Warning had been given him re Carriglea incident.