Alliance Support Group


April 2015 Archives

"I have lost faith in the Catholic Church and in all those who represent that institution"

Sex assault during girl’s First Confession

 

A priest in West Cork sexually assaulted a girl throughout her First Confession and, afterwards, fixed her clothing back in place and gave her penance.

 

John Calnan leavingcourt yesterday.

 

John Calnan, aged 76, of The Presbytery, 35 Paul St, Cork, was yesterday sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, with the last year suspended, by Judge David Riordan at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. He had pleaded guilty.

Sgt Maurice Downey said the sexual assault on the girl occurred in the late 1980s. Due to terrible weather on the day, the principal of a primary school asked the priest to hear confessions for the Communion class in the school rather than bringing the children to the cathedral in Skibbereen. Sgt Downey said the confessions took place in a kitchenette at the end of a school hall.

“When the victim entered, he told her to come over to him and she was put standing between his legs turning to look at him. When she began to say her confession he lifted her pinafore and placed his hand inside her underwear and stroked and rubbed her vagina area and put his fingers inside her vagina,” Sgt Downey said.

“She said he was doing something to himself but she did not know what it was. He then gave her penance.”

When the allegations were put to Calnan three years ago, the priest said he did not recall it but, when pushed, said it did not occur.

Judge Riordan said that an aggravating factor in the case was that Calnan carried out the indecent assault while he and the child were engaging in the sacrament of penance.

In her victim impact statement, the injured party — now aged in her mid-30s — said: “On the day of the assault and the days following, our home place was full of upset, confusion, and anger at how something of this disgusting nature could take place. This priest, who called to the family home regularly; there was a sense of family pride associated with this. How could he abuse their little girl?

“When brought to the attention of the school, my family were met with denial and a feeling of guilt and shame was inflicted on them. There were thinly veiled warnings about speaking out about such matters and how they would be thought of within the local community. At that point in time the Church was the dominant force and not to be challenged on any matter.

“Two wonderful parents who have huge guilt and remorse for something that was not their fault are two more victims of that awful day. I feel so sick for my parents. I feel a sense of guilt so overwhelming that it has taken over my life to this day.

“I have lost faith in the institute of the Catholic Church and all those who represent that institute. John Calnan has taken this belief I had in the Catholic Church and robbed me and my family of the solace and peace in which we previously had a belief so strong, a belief carried through the generations in my family.

“I strive to control every aspect of my life. I will dive before I fall. At least then I have control, something I did not have on the day of the assault in that small, sweaty kitchenette.”

Tom Creed, defending, said the accused had serious health problems. Calnan had been jailed for a year in February for an indecent assault on a girl, aged about 10, when he picked her up in his car saying he was looking for directions.

Sgt Downey said the priest, ordained in 1964, served most of his time in West Cork.

In 1992 he stopped ministering and went to the Gracewell clinic in Birmingham to deal with his offending behaviour.

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© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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Drop -In - Information Day - Birmingham

This is being organised not by us but by Caranua and more information is available on their website:

http://www.caranua.ie/news/396/information_event___supports_for_survivors_of_institutional_abuse_–_whats_available_and_where_to_go

The day is aimed at Irish Survivors now living in Britain, their carers, friends, or family or anyone who may find themselves supporting Irish Survivors in some way.

There will be a number of organisations, from Ireland and England, providing information stands – some are still making arrangements and so the list of participating organisations will expand in due course.

So far the following organisations have booked a stand, and other organisations are in the pipeline:

·         Barnardos ‘Origins’ Tracing Service 

·         Birmingham Irish Association

·         Compassion Matters with the Health Alliance 

·         Coventry Irish Society

·         Caranua

·         Icap

·         Irish in Britain including Cuimhne (Irish Memory Loss Alliance)

·         Towards Healing 

Do not reply to this email but instead Visit Caranua’s website for information as it is updated.  

And please tell other people you know about the drop-in Information Day.

 

Best wishes,

Helen White, Development Officer

cid:image003.jpg@01CDD893.0BEF0BA0             www.irishsurvivorsinbritain.org   /

www.irishinbritain.org  |  Twitter: @irishinbritain  |  Facebook: Irish in Britain |  LinkedIn: Irish in Britain

 

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Caranua Meeting in Birmingham

Information event: Supports for survivors of institutional abuse – what’s available and where to go

Event to provide survivors of Irish institutional abuse with information on the support services available in Ireland and the UK

 

When: Saturday 9th May 2015

What time: 11am to 3pm

Where: Jurys Inn, Broad Street, Birmingham

Caranua will host an event on Saturday 9th May in Birmingham that will provide information on support services available for survivors of Irish institutional abuse.

Organisations based in both Ireland and the UK will have information stands at the event.

This is not a conference, and will not have speakers, but will instead provide an opportunity for people to move between information stands to pick up information leaflets and ask questions.

There is no entry fee, and you can come at any time from 11am, until the event closes at 3pm.

A list of the participating organisations will be updated on the Caranua website, www.caranua.ie or we can give you this information if you call our freephone number 0808 234 1303.

Please pass this information onto anyone who might be interested


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Disgraceful treatment of Bethany Home Survivors

Shameful treatment of Bethany Home survivors

 

The state of Ireland has to a duty of care to all citizens, regardless of religious background, and has laws in place with which to protect them. 

 

 

These laws were ignored when it came to giving protection to a small number of Protestant children when they were at their most vulnerable.

Ireland needs to be freed from 17 years of shame from treating the Bethany Home survivors as if they were not people.

Had the Irish state implemented its own 1908 Children’s Act and all of the new update attachments to the act that evolved over the decades such scandals as the Artane institution, the Bethany Home and Tuam Home (Galway) could not have happened.

However, the question of the Bethany Home has been treated uniquely differently. The government and their officials should not in this day and age simply be able to ignore a group of people who happened to be from a Protestant background. This is a sad legacy of the bitter past.

All government officials have a duty to treat all citizens the same, irrespective of what religion they may be.

D Linster

Chairperson of the Bethany Home Survivors


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Not Guilty - Ex - Christian Brother

Ex-brother not guilty of sex abuse

 

The jury in the case of a former Christian Brother who denied charges of indecently assaulting a primary school boy in the 1970s reached verdicts of not guilty yesterday after two-and-a-half hours of deliberation.

 

 

Louis Morgan, aged 66, of Glenmarian Rd, Portlaoise, denied four counts of indecent assault.

The jury gave their verdicts of not guilty on all four charges of indecently assaulting a boy, aged 8/9, in the mid-1970s at the Christian Brothers primary school on Blarney St, Cork.

In his charging of the jury, Judge David Riordan had referred to a witness who said he had been sexually assaulted by the same defendant when he was a boy in the same school.

“This evidence is not corroborative. He did not give evidence that he saw any of the acts complained of by (the complainant)... It was not produced to blacken the character of the accused. You are not to draw an inference,” the judge said.

“The reason why his evidence was given was to show you — if you are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt — that his evidence would point to a system or a manner of going about things by the accused, if you accept the evidence.”

Mr Morgan told investigating gardaí who put specifics of the allegations to him that they never happened and that he never sexually abused any student in his care.

The complainant had told the court the defendant would sit down on the edge of the bench, put his hand around his back, and then put his hand down his pants inside his underpants and touch his hips and buttocks. He said that in third class this went further and the brother would touch his penis.

“There was one incident where he put his hand between the cheeks of my buttocks, he put his finger up it. As he walked away you could see him smelling it,” he said.

The complainant told Ray Boland, prosecuting, of another recollection he had of being given out to by his father over something he had done at home one lunchtime. He claimed that when he went back to school, Mr Morgan put his hand down his pants and squeezed his genitals so hard he cried.

Mr Morgan denied that specific allegation and all others, and when the description of the alleged incident with his finger was put to him, he said to gardaí: “I am disgusted by this, you can see my reaction. It never happened.”

When the general allegations were put to him by Donal O’Sullivan, defending, Mr Morgan said: “Totally false, untrue, that never happened.”

 

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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Christian Brother in court

Accused: Sex abuse never happened

 

The former Christian Brother on trial on charges of indecently assaulting a primary school boy in the 1970s testified yesterday that he might have put his arm around a boy by way of encouragement but he denied anything of a sexual nature.

 

 

Louis Morgan, aged 66, of Glenmarian Rd, Portlaoise, Co Laois, denies four counts of indecent assault.

When the allegations were put to him by Donal O’Sullivan, defending, Mr Morgan said: “Totally false, untrue, that never happened.”

The complainant has alleged the defendant would sit down on the edge of the bench, put his hand around his back and then put his hand down his pants inside his underpants and touch his hips and buttocks. He said that in third class this went further and the brother would touch his penis.Another witness, who did not make a formal complaint against Mr Morgan, testified yesterday that he was indecently assaulted in a manner similar to the complainant.

The accused said: “It absolutely did not happen. I am very disappointed with [Christian name of witness] because I knew his family.”

Mr O’Sullivan asked: “What about him [complainant] sitting on your lap at your desk?” He said: “I never had a boy sitting on my lap.”

Ray Boland, prosecuting, cross-examined the accused who said the sexual assaults never happened and added, “It is plaguing me for four and a half years [since complaint made to gardaí] and devastated my family.

“I would put my arm around a boy by way of encouragement.”

Mr Boland said: “You might have put your around a boy, might you have put your hand down his pants?” He replied: “Never ever.”

“Why would he make it up?” the prosecution barrister asked. The defendant replied: “He might have had something that I was a bit hard on him in class. With the pressure of implementing a new curriculum I think I might have been a bit cross with some of the boys.”

“You are talking about a physical punishment?” Mr Boland asked. He replied: “Yes, a slap.”

“Isn’t it a coincidence that two boys from that time are complaining of effectively the same thing,” Mr Boland asked.

He replied: “I would not say coincidence, there is something very strange about it.”

Mr Boland asked, “You say they are in collusion?” He replied: “I wouldn’t use that word. It is possible. They knew each other.”

Mr Boland said, “The reason they are making the allegations is that these things happened.” He replied: “Never, ever happened.”

It is anticipated that Judge David Riordan will complete his charge to the jury of eight men and four women today and that they will commence their deliberations the on four charges against the accused.

 

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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Christian Brothers

Ex-Christian brother charged with indecent assault

 

A former Christian Brother has gone on trial in Cork on charges of indecently assaulting a primary school boy in the 1970s. The judge and jury were told yesterday of the complainant’s nightmares of ghosts of men in black.

 

 

Louis Morgan, 66, who is originally from Portlaoise, Co Laois, and now lives at Glenmarian Road, Portlaoise, denies four counts of indecent assault. He was put on trial before Judge David Riordan and a jury of eight men and four women on four charges of indecently assaulting a boy aged eight or nine in the mid-1970s at the Christian Brothers primary school on Blarney Street, Cork.

Detective gardaí James O’Reilly and Kevin O’Donnell met the accused in Dublin in 2012 and interviewed him about the allegations put by the complainant who is now a middle-aged man.

Louis Morgan said he became a Christian brother in 1974 and started teaching in Blarney Street that same year. He left voluntarily in 1999 and denied his decision to leave had anything to do with any apprehension of future allegations.

When specifics of the allegations were put to him he denied they ever happened and said he never sexually abused any student in his care. The complainant said he had another teacher in second-class but Brother Morgan visited the class from time to time and sexually abused him in the class. He said this also happened more frequently when Brother Morgan was his class teacher in third class.

He said the defendant would sit down on the edge of the bench, put his hand around his back and then put his hand down his pants inside his underpants and touch his hips and buttocks. He said in third class this went further and the brother would touch his penis.

“There was one incident where he put his hand between the cheeks of my buttocks, he put his finger up it. As he walked away you could see him smelling it,” he said.

The complainant told prosecution barrister, Ray Boland, of another recollection he had when Brother Morgan put his hand down his pants and squeezed his genitals so hard he cried.

Louis Morgan denied that specific allegation and all others and when the description of the alleged incident with his finger was put to him he said to gardaí: “I am disgusted by this, you can see my reaction. It never happened.”

Defence barrister, Donal O’Sullivan, cross-examined the complainant about the incidents which allegedly occurred in a classroom where there were 33 boys.

“How could a grown man sit down inside a desk of that size where two boys were sitting?” Mr O’Sullivan asked. The complainant replied that the accused would sit at the edge of the desk, sort of perched.

Mr O’Sullivan referred to doctor’s reports from recent years, disclosed to the defence, where the complainant described seeing ghosts of men in black.

The case continues today.

 

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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We did it!

·         by Norma Prendiville      (Limerick Leader)

 

ALMOST half a century after the Glin Industrial School was closed, a monument remembering the thousands of boys who were incarcerated there has finally been erected in the town park.

It all happened quietly in the end, and with only a handful of people in attendance.

But, say former pupils, Tom Wall and Tom Hayes, who are leading members of the Alliance Support Group, a more formal unveiling is planned for later in the year. And they hope that Mr Justice Sean Ryan, the author of the ground-breaking report on industrial schools which was published in 2009, will do the honours.

There was, however, a sad urgency to last Thursday’s quiet ceremony. In the five weeks before that, another four past pupils had died.

And the Alliance Support Group, which had initiated the monument project, felt there should be no further delays.

“It was very, very emotional to see this in place,” said Tom Wall. But it also brought back sad memories of the thousands who had passed through St Joseph’s Industrial School over the decades and those who had died without seeing this small monument to their suffering.

“It is a marvellous achievement,” he said. “For years we couldn’t even get the truth out. We got no recognition whatsoever. This means an awful lot, not just to me but to a lot of past pupils.”

Tom himself was incarcerated in the school at the age of three, was subjected to physical and sexual abuse there and wrote a book about it, The Boy from Glin Industrial School which was launched at a reunion of past pupils in 2013.

The erection of a monument was something which those past pupils very much wanted, Tom Wall pointed. But as both he and Tom Hayes recalled last Thursday, there were difficulties to be overcome in fulfilling that dream.

That dream involved a monument which carried the apology issued by the Christian Brothers as well as a quotation from the late journalist Mary Raftery, who played a definitive role in exposing the horrors of the industrial school system.

But the Glin Development Association objected to this design, and wrote asking that the apology be placed on the ground at the foot of the monument and that the Mary Raftery quotation be used somewhere else. They also objected to the height of monument.

But this was totally unacceptable to the monument organisers, the Glin Project Committee who were adamant the apology and the quotation had to remain. They did, however, agree to reduce the height. Despite this, and despite the fact that some people in Glin were very opposed to the idea, Tom Hayes is convinced that within the community, there is genuine goodwill towards the monument.

It now stands, a simple yet powerful reminder to all of a brutal and unjust regime which systematically inflicted deep suffering and damage on so many. Yet it is a testament too to resilience and courage in the face of that selfsame injustice and brutality.

And the hope is that closure will finally come on a sad chapter of Irish history.


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Monument in Glin. Co. Limerick

Six One News: Monument for abuse survivors erected in Limerick


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Monument to abuse survivors set up in Co Limerick

 

Thursday 02 April 2015 14.25

Thomas Wall, survivor and author of a book on St Joseph's School and Tom Hayes (R) survivor and leader of the Glin Project at the memorial
Thomas Wall, survivor and author of a book on St Joseph's School and Tom Hayes (R) survivor and leader of the Glin Project at the memorial

A monument to the residents and survivors of abuse at Ireland’s second largest industrial school has been erected in Glin in Co Limerick.

The move marks the resolution of a long-running dispute between the town's development association and survivors' representatives.

In a statement, leaders of the project which commissioned the sculpture, say they hope to bring past pupils to the town later this year for an unveiling ceremony.

Plans for a reunion there two years ago were abandoned after the dispute began.

The statement, the Glin Project said the monument to St Joseph's Industrial School had been set in place for the town's Heritage Park "with the support and goodwill of the vast majority of local people".

The residential institution was opened by the Christian Brothers in Glin in 1928 and closed in 1966.

In 2009, the Child Abuse Commission, chaired by Judge Seán Ryan, described it as having a "severe, systemic regime of corporal punishment".

The Commission's report stated that the Christian Brothers had been "reckless" when they transferred two of their members to Glin after investigating earlier complaints that they had sexually abused boys in other industrial schools.

The Glin Project says the monument is inscribed with "a clear and unambiguous apology by the Christian Brothers"

At the project's instigation, the monument also bears a quote from Mary Raftery, the late journalist and author whose exposure of institutional child abuse led to the establishment of the Ryan Commission.

The quote - "Thousands of victims of industrial schools bear witness to a society unwilling to question its own comfortable certainties out of a fear that those beliefs might turn out to have been built on sand" - sparked controversy in 2013 when it was rejected by the Development Association because its length added to the size of the sculpture.

The Project says the monument will inform the public that "those of us who spent all of our early lives in the institutions were finally able to play our part in ensuring that both the Christian Brothers and the State would be found guilty of very serious abuses and neglect in Mr Justice Sean Ryan's Child Abuse Inquiry Report".


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