A third man, however, had been told about sexual abuse in the School. Patrick McGovern30 helped out in St Joseph’s on a voluntary basis with the entertainment in the School. He had a fair amount of contact with the School, and would call in and play music for the children. In or around 1974, a friend of his asked him to meet his daughter who was working in the School. She said to him that one of the boys was being molested in bed in the School. He understood that it was sexual molestation. He called to the convent and told Sr Wilma about this: I did, I called to the convent. It was dark, miserable weather, I can remember it well, being on the front step of the convent, there was a light over the door, it was really Dickensian, I knocked on the door and Sr Wilma came out. I knew her more than I knew the other nuns so I was glad it was her that answered the door.
He continued: I said to you her, I said I have had a bad complaint, and she said – well bad complaints to her would be a daily thing, she would have to hear it first before she’d agree it was bad. So I said to her I have a report that there is a boy being molested, and she just took a step back and said, [Patrick] you can, as sure as you are standing there, that’s not the word she used, it doesn’t happen. They have a habit of – or there is a history there of boys and girls making up stories to gain attention. I said is that the way it is? She said that’s the way it is. So I said thanks very much, and I went back to the person, the young girl I spoke to earlier on and said nothing is going to be done, it is not going do be followed through, because we know now there was reason to follow it through.
Sr Wilma told the Committee that, back in the 1970s, if she was told that an adult was molesting a child, she would not have interpreted that as meaning some kind of inappropriate activity. Patrick McGovern gave evidence that he complained to her that one of the boys was being molested by a care worker. She had no recollection of it at all. Patrick McGovern said that her response was to dismiss it as not having happened. She said that, even if she had been told, she would have done nothing more that tell them to go to the person in charge of the Institution.