1 entry for CongregationsBack
In a climate of scepticism and undermining of complainants, sexual abuse will remain undetected. Children were not encouraged to make complaints, and those who did were not dealt with properly. It could not be claimed that there was a lack of understanding of the seriousness of this abuse on the subsequent development of victims or that the matter was seen as simply a moral issue. The allegations against Mr Moore and subsequent investigations highlight numerous problems at that time in the area of reporting and investigating child sexual abuse allegations. When a pupil made a complaint to a staff member about the sexualised behaviour of his House Parent, no action was taken. Steps were only taken when another boy reported an actual incident of sexual abuse that he had witnessed. This case demonstrates failings in communication and co-operation between the various State agencies. When all official bodies had eventually been notified, there was further confusion and delay in dealing with the complaint. There was delay in notifying the parents of the boy who was assaulted and of the boys who were screened. Staff at St Joseph’s were not properly informed. The serious extent of the abuse perpetrated by Mr Moore only came to light when a full investigation was conducted. In the past, Congregations handled allegations by dealing with perpetrators without ascertaining the extent or prevalence of their abuse. When an investigation screened possible victims of abuse, as in this case, it revealed a level of sexual abuse by this man that should have caused deep concern for the system of care in operation. This case has implications for all the allegations of sexual abuse that were so inadequately dealt with over the years.