In the mid-1980s, an allegation of sexual abuse was made against Br Boucher, who had worked in the School from the early 1980s. The allegation was made separately to a care worker and to a teacher by a pupil. These two staff members reported the matter to the school Principal, Br Ames, who in turn informed the Provincial, Br Sandler.21 The pupil told the care worker, Mr Kennedy,22 that Br Boucher had fondled his genitals.
The Provincial interviewed the two staff members and Br Ames concerning the allegations. The care worker, Mr Kennedy, stated that he regularly saw Br Boucher go into the boy’s room at night, and vice versa, when the Brother would give the boy biscuits and sweets. The teacher, Ms O’Connor,23 reported that the pupil had told her in class that this Brother had power over him and ‘made him do things of a sexual nature which he did not want to do’.
The Provincial, Br Sandler, held separate meetings with Mr Kennedy, Ms O’Connor and Br Ames. Br Sandler also interviewed Br Boucher, who denied the allegations and appeared confused and unable to recall details. Br Boucher then went on his summer holidays, during which time he was taken seriously ill and was transferred to a nursing home. No further action was taken despite other meetings being held with the Brother. He applied for a dispensation, which was granted approximately two years later.
The proper course would have been to report the matter to the Gardaí and to co-operate fully with the Garda investigation. The school authorities did not report the matter to the Gardaí at the time. The Christian Brothers defended their actions on the basis that the complaint was unclear: The reason why the Gardaí were not informed of the nature of [the person’s] complaint of [Br Boucher] allegedly interfering with him was because the complaint was not very clear and we were waiting on clarity.
The allegation did not lack clarity. It was alleged that Br Boucher had fondled the boy’s private parts, and this was plainly a matter for the Gardaí to pursue.
1.There was a lack of follow-up by staff to whom complaints were made. There were no clear reporting systems or guidelines once an allegation of abuse was made. 2.Brothers who were the subject of complaints in the course of the Moore investigation were not investigated by the State agencies or the Congregation. 3.There was delay by management in informing the parents of children who had allegedly been sexually abused. 4.Sexual abuse was not reported to the Gardaí until the 1990s. 5.As late as 1986, when Br Boucher was under suspicion, no proper inquiry took place. 6.Management at the School paid no heed to the early indicators of abuse, particularly with regard to boys who were highly sexualised with each other. 7.Br Baron was clearly unsuitable for work with young boys. He was granted a dispensation and given a reference to facilitate future employment. This showed disregard for the safety of children and prioritising of the interests of the Congregation. 8.There was a failure on the part of management to recognise that children with special needs demanded a high standard of care, and that all staff needed to be informed and trained appropriately. Peer sexual abuse