Saturday, 3 December 2016



Chaplain shared bed with teen pupils on school trip, court told

A WOMAN claims she was sexually abused by a school chaplain over a three-year period, including sharing a bed with the priest and another student during a trip overseas.
The 28-year-old woman, who alleges the abuse began when she was a transition year student, has launched a High Court action for damages.
“He exploited her continually and regularly,” said Jack Fitzgerald SC, for the woman.
“His attitude to the claim and what she says happened is that none of it ever happened.”
The woman has sued the priest as well as the school and the local bishop. They have denied the claims.
Mr Justice Robert Eagar was told the school claims it is not vicariously liable for any alleged actions of the priest.
She claims that between 2004 and 2007 she was repeatedly and wrongfully physically and sexually assaulted, falsely imprisoned and sexually abused.
She says she was subjected to sexualised behaviour by the Catholic chaplain and teacher in her secondary school.
She has alleged that on a school trip abroad, when she was 16 years of age, he invited her and another student to sleep in his bed with him.
The three of them spent the night together in his bed, she claims.
The priest, she has further claimed, was very attentive to her on the trip and after that sent her private text messages.
She has also claimed the priest continued to send private text messages to her and they became increasingly personal and sexual in nature.
She has alleged the priest bought a mobile phone for the specific purpose of texting her and allegedly advised her they would wait until she was 17 before they could take the relationship further.
A few days after she turned 17, the priest brought the girl and some friends to the cinema. She claims when he took her home he kissed her.
It is claimed the physical contact developed and progressed from kissing and cuddling to oral sex.
She has claimed the priest was held in high regard by everyone. Her counsel said the woman first made her allegations in 2011 and the school board of management conducted an inquiry and found there had been no sexual contact between the two.
A later assessment found the priest to be a low risk. The case continues.


Investigation into alleged sex assault at boarding school

The Garda and child and family agency Tusla are investigating an alleged incident at a major Dublin boarding school, following a claim that a 13-year-old boy was sexually assaulted in a dormitory with a hockey stick by eight other pupils.
The incident is alleged to have taken place late last Thursday night at the 450-year old Church of Ireland-governed King’s Hospital secondary school in Palmerstown. However, it was not reported to the Garda, Tusla, or the Church of Ireland authorities until Tuesday. Dr Ken Fennelly, secretary to the Church of Ireland Board of Education, who said he had not been told of the allegations until he was informed of them on Tuesday by The Irish Times, said Tusla and An Garda Síochána had begun investigations.
The eight pupils will remain suspended until investigations are completed, said Mr Fennelly. However, the 13-year-old alleged victim will remain on in school, with the agreement of his parents. The school board will also meet.
Following a series of questions over two days to the school, its principal, John Rafter yesterday confirmed Tusla’s investigation: “No further statement will be made by the school at this time,” he said.
The school’s 24-strong board of governors includes the Church of Ireland’s primate Archbishop Richard Clarke; the Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson, as well as Bishop of Meath and Kildare Pat Storey. None was available for comment as the church’s bishops are currently on retreat.
Under child protection rules, people with knowledge of child abuse or neglect are expected to lodge reports “without delay” to the authorities, while reports should be made directly to gardaí if a child remains at immediate risk of danger.
In February 2008, King’s Hospital and Swim Ireland agreed to pay substantial damages after a 10-year battle to 13 female victims of convicted sex abuser Derry O’Rourke, who had been employed by the school as a swimming coach.
Under the settlement, 12 of the victims each received six-figure payments and costs against the school, while the remaining victim got a lesser sum. They had claimed the school was vicariously liable for his actions. They claimed O’Rourke was employed by the school as its swimming coach and pool manager, but that he was allowed to remain despite complaints having been made about him to the school on several occasions from 1973.


Its becoming increasingly clear that churches are not fit to run schools.

Schools should be run by educational professionals who put principles like CHILD SAFETY, EDUCATIONAL GUIDELINES, ACADEMIC TRUTH etc first and proslytising and the interests of religion.

We should be grateful to churches for providing services in the past that the state did not.

But in the 21 st century it maybe time to separate religion and basic education.

Religion should be for the church, the Sunday school and the home.


  1. I heard a C o I official being interviewed on RTE radio yesterday and the interviewer was a bit sad. The interviewee had to repeat the same info over and over again. She wanted him to admit that the delay in reporting was wrong which he did acknowledge. As an adapted grandad of 3 year old twin girls I know how vulnerable young children and babies can be. I can not understand how anybody could be inappropriate towards them.

  2. What a stupid observation, Pat, for heaven's sake! Churches not fit to run schools??? Leave it to "educational professionals"???

    Try to leave aside your prejudices in favour of fairness on this issue.

    What about the millions of children, worldwide, who pass happily through Catholic/religious schools?

    And as for "educational professionals" and, indeed, the State - Seriously?

    The Irish State has shown itself repeatedly incompetent and negligent in relation to childcare and protection.

    "Educational professionals" are far more likely to abuse children than priests and there are far more cases of such abuse worldwide.

    By all means - rigid safeguarding standards to be equally applied to every educational establishment. But to suggest Churches are not fit to run schools is hysterical nonsense and pure bigotry.

    1. MournemanMichael3 December 2016 at 13:43

      I don't think religious bodies of any persuasion should have control of education. While many are grateful for the input of churches in the past, it's a fact that proselytism of children was a main agenda item, both here in Ireland, and more blatantly on 'the missions'.
      I well remember standing in classrooms for three decades of the rosary before morning lessons and two more after lunch, plus a period of religious education every day meaning we had to go to school Saturday mornings to make up the required curriculum.

    2. Religion should be for the church, a voluntary church Sunday school and for the family home.

  3. In England the focus has shifted dramatically to football clubs and really it is only a matter of time before the lid is lifted off such organizations generally.
    It will probably emerge that over the years Sport has been ever so much more successful at cover up than Religion.
    The Dublin boarding school incident could happen at any boarding school and at a first glance looks more like a sporting mishap than a religious one.

    1. Sexual assault with a hockey stick.

      A "sporting" mishap?

    2. PS: When did Jesus tell his disciples to run boarding schools - especially for rich kids?

    3. I think the point being made (badly) at 10:44, is that the assault in King's Hospital had nothing to do with religion per se.

      It was high jinks among young lads that went too far. It is a disciplinary issue that was very poorly handled by the school.

      In my day, at boarding school, stuff went on - perpetrated by boys themselves on each other - quite similar to this incident.

      It's "Lord of the Flies" stuff but good discipline and overseeing of students should prevent it.

      Such an incident as this with the hockey stick is a possibility among any group of young lads who are not properly supervised and controlled. It could happen just as easily in a non-religious school. Boys (and girls) can be quite shocking in their treatment of each other.

    4. It strikes me that sexual assault with a hockey stick involves genital injury or penetration?

      Hardly just boys messing about?

    5. I have never commented on anyone personally on here before but I'm wondering what sort of person would think that what has been described as a sexual assault with a hockey stick was 'high jinks'?

    6. Have you, Pat, or anonymous at 18:37, ever read William Golding's novel, Lord of the Flies, or saw the film? It's about a plane load of choir boys crash landing on a deserted island. All the adults are killed and the boys survive. It quickly descends into savagery and ends up in murder. That's what I meant. Ok, "high jinks" - not a good choice of words. I meant to say - it started out as horseplay and degenerated into something much more sinister. Teenage boys are capable of horrifying behaviour towards each other. Nothing to do with religion. The failure here is in adult supervision and prevention of bullying. The school needs to be scrutinised from those perspectives. My point is: this incident could have happened - and has happened - in secular schools that have no religious ethos.

    7. I fully accept your point.

      I suppose even boistrous boys need to know that there are limits?

    8. (same anon)
      Yes they do.
      And that they will be enforced.
      Children need safety and security guaranteed. The fact that this is a sexual assault is just awful

  4. The Leagonaries of Christ concentrate on mission to the rich. They walked around Rome like tailors dummies in my day

    1. In so many ways the institutional Catholic church favours the rich and the establishment.

      Of course there have always been honourable exceptions.

      I'm afraid Jesus' "option for the poor" has gone unheeded in church history :-(

  5. Where did this first incident happen?

    1. It never happened at all.

    2. She made it up, a woman scorned as is becoming clear in court.

  6. As regards the King's Hospital case, and the relationship between religion and sexual abuse, it looks very clearly to be a case of correlation rather than causation. So it isn't much of an argument for saying that religion and education should be separated. Because of course, the fact is that there is no such thing as 'neutral' education. I went to an independent preparatory school with no Church connection (albeit lip-service to a Christian ethos) and the headmaster was done for sexual abuse.


  7. Sexual abuse like alcoholism is no respector of personages. Not that I am comparing the two in essence. What I don't know is if there is a sociological predisposition to be an abuser

  8. As many as 15 pupils at The King’s Hospital school in west Dublin crowded into a four-bedroom dormitory on the night of November 24th as, it is alleged, a 13-year-old boy was sexually assaulted with a hockey stick.
    According to one of the eight boys suspended from the school since the alleged incident, the 13-year-old was bear-hugged on to a bed by one boy and had his pants taken down by another.
    Subsequently, in an account given by the suspended boy, a hockey stick was taken out and three pupils separately touched the 13-year-old’s coccyx/tailbone with it before he was given a choice of having it inserted into his body or agreeing to fight another boy.

    1. Apparently he wisely opted to fight the other boy. The threat of a hockey stick up the posterior is pretty savage but only a warped mind would think of it as a "sexual" threat.

  9. Yes, but that could happen in any boarding school. The fact that it is under Church of Ireland patronage is neither here nor there.


  10. Please remember to attach dates to newspaper reports some readers don't know if they are current or historic articles.