One witness, who was there in the early 1940s, gave the following graphic account: this Br [Jaime9] was the man that did the flogging. He had a title of a prefect or something ... What flogged meant was that you got down – you took off your trousers and you got down on your knees and you went forward on the front and he flogged you on the bare buttocks.
Two years later, the issue of the school rules arose again. Two weeks before the trial of the ringleaders in the 1958 conspiracy to riot in Daingean, Br Jaime forwarded a copy of the school rules to the Department of Education. The local Gardaí were interested in the Department’s views on the rules, and anticipated the matter arising in the imminent court case. Br Jaime asserted that he had drawn up the rules in July 1958, displayed them on the notice board in the School and, for the benefit of those who could not read, he arranged lectures for them. He had intended forwarding them to the Department for approval at that time.
In a letter dated 3rd October 1958, Br Jaime wrote to Mr Sugrue of the Department of Education, informing him how the case had progressed. He wrote: I stated in court that they (the rules) were always in practice here, and that the Dept. of Education knew about them, and had no objection to them. I also stated that I had, with the Superior’s sanction, decided to put them in writing, and post them up for the boys to read. This was on June 20th. of this year. I also stated in the court that I had explained some of the rules in question to all the boys, and that I had cautioned two of the boys concerned in the case about certain rules, and that it would be impossible for any boy not to know them.
The rules that had been prepared and posted up by Br Jaime were in manuscript form, and must have been a lengthy document, given that the typed version of the Major rules alone ran to seven pages. The school authorities later had them printed up and sent to the Department for approval. These were examined by a Departmental official and, in a memorandum to the Secretary of the Department, he said they appeared adequate for the requirements of St Conleth’s. The importance of having these rules can be gleaned from the final paragraph in his memorandum: Where written rules exist it is comparatively easy to arrange for the committal to Borstal of a Reformatory School pupil. This may be done before a Court of summary jurisdiction and the charge may consist of a breach of the rules of the school or of inciting to such a breach.
On hearing this story, the Garda investigated further and questioned five boys. Their interviews were conducted in the presence of Br Jaime, the Prefect of Daingean. Some of these boys, who were aged between 15 and 16, alleged that Mr O’Reilly had exposed himself to them, and some of them said that they had exposed themselves in turn. The Garda also interviewed neighbours of Mr O’Reilly, who confirmed that the reformatory boys were often in the house and that the lay teacher would leave them there and then come back for them later.
He then went on to make the revealing comment: In fact, a short time previously, [Brady] had been punished for breaking bounds and warned against going to [O’Reilly’s]. This punishment and warning was given to [Brady] by the Prefect, Bro. [Jaime]. Besides, [Brady] himself admitted to me that he had been in [O’Reilly’s].
He said that he had told Br Jaime to tell Mr Murphy ‘to be vigilant and more strict in his supervision of the boys in his charge’. He then proceeded to dismiss the complaint: Later, when I saw the statement made by [Brady] ... it struck me as being fantastic. His record and mentality inclined me towards that way of thinking ... We do not claim a 100% and sometimes we meet boys who are so vitiated and lacking in co-operation that their removal becomes a necessity in the interests of the other boys. [Brady] falls under that category. His statement strikes me as being fantastic and rather like the projection of a depraved mind with little if any bearing on reality. Still, because of the little bearing there might be on reality, I favoured a full investigation.
The kinds of sexually abusive behaviour described to the Committee by complainant witnesses also emerged from the documentation. During a Garda investigation into the riots of 2nd May 1956, which has been dealt with earlier in this chapter, a resident of Daingean made a complaint to the Gardaí about two boys who had subjected him to sexually abusive acts. In the presence of the Prefect of the School, Br Jaime, he made the following statement: I remember one day in the month of March last. [two boys] asked me to put my hand on [one of the boy’s] private part and feel it. I refused them, and ran away, but they followed me and caught me, and brought me back to the wall in the yard. [One of them] forced my hand on to [the other’s] private part, and told me to feel it. I did it because I was afraid of them. [He] was helping [the other] to force my hand onto [his] private part. I felt [his] private part, and I kept it there for a few seconds. I took my hand out then. [the other boy] hit me on the arm because I refused to put my hand on his ... private part. I saw the front of [his] trousers opened, and when I had my hand on his private part. I saw he got a thrill from it. I saw fluid coming from [his] private part. I often saw [another boy] and [these two boys] feel each others private part in turn.