In relation to one particular incident of peer abuse brought to his attention by Br Gaspard47, he said: I just brought [the boy concerned] to the boot room ... He had his nightshirt on him, he bent down, I gave him three or four smacks of the leather on the – not on the bare backside and he ran out the door and I was glad to see him go.
Another described how Br Gaspard questioned him about where his hands were: He pulled the covers down slightly and got my hands like that (indicating). That is how they told us to fall asleep in bed. Then he got down on one knee, might have been two knees, and just slid his hand across my lower abdomen. Didn’t touch anything, just straight across. That was it ... There was something odd about it, obviously. It wasn’t the sort of thing you done. It’s always sort of remained with me.
Br Gaspard stated that there was a general rule that Brothers should not be alone with boys. One of the reasons for this rule was that it provided a defence for Brothers if accused of abuse. However, he stated that this rule was not rigidly enforced. He informed the Committee that he was always conscious of the rule: I mean that I went out of my way to make sure that I never gave any, never did anything that would be sexually incorrect in my dealings with the boys in Artane.
Br Gaspard stated: The rumours were about ... there were a few Brothers who sexually abused boys and they were dismissed from the Congregation because of that.
Another Brother who was there throughout the 1950s said that he remembered the term ‘badness’ as referring to peer abuse and that all staff would have been aware of the term. Despite this, he said that he never encountered any incident of badness nor had to punish a boy for it. However, he was contradicted by a colleague who remembered having to punish a boy who had been referred to him by this Brother who insisted that punishment was necessary: I was in charge and he reported to me that [the boy] was interfering with other boys and he kind of said to me you will have to do something about it. As I understood it then that when some boys were interfering with other boys, they would be punished and one of the punishments they would get would be on the backside with the leather. I wasn’t too keen on doing it, I had a certain reluctance about it. I didn’t do anything for a while. Then Br Gaspard came back to me again and told me that this was going on and that I had to do something about it. I just brought him to the boot room. My memory now, I am working from memory now and it is a long time ago, my memory is that he had his nightshirt on him, he bent down, I gave him three or four smacks of the leather on the – not on the bare backside and he ran out the door and I was glad to see him go.