Many former residents complained of punishments that were excessively severe and violent. One witness, at Artane from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s, described seeing a classmate being beaten. John51 was a very slow learner, but the Brother teaching Irish was not aware of this. He kept asking him questions, and persisted until he got the right answers, even though the boy had no idea what the questions meant: We started tittering laughing. I think Br Laurent52 thought we were laughing at him. He asked him again. Poor John kept guessing and always getting the wrong one. Eventually Br Laurent just blew his top. He hit that lad and got his head and smashed it ... on the bench. The ink wells went up, he was covered in ink, snots, blood, everything. He spent the entire half an hour, three quarters of an hour beating this lad until John eventually had a run of luck and picked this out three times in a row. With that when the bell went or the whistle, Br Laurent just slumped down exhausted from beating this lad. While we were, in the beginning, tittering, some of the lads were crying, we were frightened that he was going to kill him. We made way for him at the door. It was ghastly. The Brother at the other end, one class faced that way and the other faced that way, never intervened once to come down. That wasn’t like Br Laurent but he just lost it that day. He battered this poor lad, he was in bits. So don’t tell me there it was isolated cases, that Brother at the other end should have done something about it but he didn’t.
Br Laurent, who gave evidence to the Investigation Committee, said: ... he came to Artane the same year as I was there. We arrived at the same time. The outgoing [Superior] said to Br Leroi ‘you are not welcome here’. Probably some accusation had been made about Br Leroi and because of that then he was sent to Artane.
Br Laurent said that he recalled Br Lancelin leaving Artane, but he did not know the reason for his transfer and had not heard his name mentioned in connection with child abuse. The Department of Education records indicated that Carriglea was this Brother’s last teaching post.
In the late 1950s, the Provincial of the Christian Brothers wrote to the manager of another school in the west of Ireland who had sought a reference in respect of Mr Gaillard. The Provincial was frank about his history of sexual abuse. He referred to his ‘interference (morally) with boys’ and felt that he could not write a reference for him. Notwithstanding this setback, Mr Gaillard was still able to continue teaching until his retirement in the mid-1980s. He did two short periods of teaching in rural schools, both of which commenced and ended in the middle of school terms, which is unusual and which might imply removal for misconduct. Br Laurent, who was on the staff of Artane at the time, told the Investigation Committee that he knew Br Gaillard, but had never heard of him having any involvement with abuse in Artane.