Officials of the Department of Education carried out an investigation and rejected the complaints. In the course of their inquiry, the officials interviewed the boy and his grandmother, and they received written statements from each of the Brothers involved, furnished to them by the Superior of Artane. Mrs McCarthy was unhappy with the way that she and her grandson were questioned. The officials’ investigation was hampered by the grandmother’s refusal to give the names of boys said to have witnessed the events involving her grandson and, in addition, they failed to obtain information from the chaplain, Fr Moore, who had some knowledge of the matter and was unhappy that he had not been approached directly but through the Superior of Artane. More importantly, he feared that his bond of confidentiality with the boys in Artane might be prejudiced. A genuine misunderstanding might have caused the failure to get information from the chaplain. In the circumstances, it would be unfair to criticise the inspectors on this ground. Whatever impediments there may have been to the inquiry, it nevertheless seems unsatisfactory that the officials did not question the Brothers involved. The report of the investigation did not, however, equivocate: From an examination of the evidence obtained through interviews, enquiries made by phone and the reports furnished by the Brothers concerned, in association with the grandmother’s refusal to give the names of the boys who witnessed [the boy’s] being taken from his bed at night for punishment, it is clear that the charges of brutality and sadism made by Mrs. McCarthy are without foundation. The fact that she is content to leave her other grandson in the care of the Brothers in Artane lend support to this opinion. Br Ourson37 did give [the boy] a shaking ... but considering the boy’s infuriating failures to remain in employment, he showed remarkable restraint. Outside this occurrence, nothing emerged from the enquiry to justify the charges of ill-treatment ...
A workman witnessed this beating and reported it to the Superior, Br Ourson. According to Br Lionel, the boy was brought before the Superior, where he recounted what he had done in the presence of the Brother and the workman. The Brother then claimed the workman said, after hearing what the boy had done, ‘if I was dealing with him I would have killed him’.
He did not think the system in Artane was conducive to boys making complaints. He said: ... as far as I could see the boys were afraid to make a complaint. I was in a sort of invidious position because I had been instructed by Br Ourson, the Superior, that the boys were not to make complaints to me, that if they had complaints they should go to him.
While he went to Br Ourson with complaints of sexual abuse, he said that he was reluctant to do so in respect of physical abuse. Other Brothers advised him informally that this was not his function. For this reason, he directed boys who came to him with such complaints to go directly to Br Ourson. He does not know whether they in fact did so. He had not gone to Br Ourson about the Brother for this reason. He went instead to the Brother Provincial, but he did not know what the outcome was or whether the Brother was reprimanded.
Br Karel, who was removed from Artane following allegations of sexual abuse in the 1960s, spoke about the allegations, which he denied in full, and the events leading to his leaving Artane. Br Karel said that, in the early 1960s, he was approached by the Manager of the School, who told him that two boys had signed a joint statement in which they alleged that ‘I put my hand under the bedclothes and touched them in the genital area’. A third boy also made a similar allegation but he did not sign the joint statement. The boys made these written allegations after speaking with the chaplain, Fr Henry Moore. Fr Moore recalled speaking to the Superior in Artane, Br Ourson, about an allegation of sexual abuse that had been reported to him by a pupil. He could not recall the name of the Brother in question, but he could confirm that the Brother was removed shortly after the complaint had been communicated.
The complainant went to Confession on a Friday in the mid-1960s and told the chaplain, Fr Moore, what had been happening with Br Adrien. He was shocked and asked the boy to repeat what he said outside of the confessional. The boy did so and then the priest reported the matter to the Superior, Br Ourson.
The following Monday, Br Ourson and a large number of the teaching Brothers came out to the pre-school assembly in the yard, and the complainant was summoned to Br Ourson’s office. There, he was asked to repeat exactly what he had told the chaplain. When asked what Br Ourson’s reaction was, he said, ‘I can’t say what his reaction was. All I know is that within 24 hours Br Adrien was gone out of Artane’.
Fr Henry Moore confirmed what this witness said about making the complaint to Br Ourson. He knew he had been an altar boy, and what was being alleged when the boy spoke of ‘badness’. He recalled the boy was very upset and nervous when telling him.
Fr Moore suggested that he should tell the Superior, but the boy’s first reaction to that suggestion was that he was too afraid. It would be taken that he was ‘squealing’, as he put it, on Br Adrien. The boy was relieved when Fr Moore said he would speak with Br Ourson. Fr Moore also reported the allegation to the Provincial Superior in Marino, Br Mulholland, to reinforce his concern about the matter. Fr Moore recalled Br Adrien being removed within a matter of days.
When asked to explain what he meant by ‘breaking the system’, he explained: You don’t change an environment overnight ... It is done over the years. What I am trying to get across is that when these changes did take place ... you didn’t wave a magic wand and say, “everything is new, everything is grand”. It took years even when Br Ourson was there.
The report described in turn: the food given to the boys and the cooking and dining facilities; the dormitories; the boys’ clothing; the laundry; the washing facilities; games and recreation; education and training; aftercare; the farm; holidays; and the general atmosphere. The overall conclusion was that: Artane emerged from the inspection with credit. Within the limitations of an inherited system which favoured big schools, all male management and a public purse that had to be prised open at times, the Superior, Br Ourson, is doing a good job in providing for the spiritual, educational and physical needs of the boys entrusted to his care.
Mr MacDaibhid concluded: Having passed strictures on Bro Ourson in the past, I must say that he emerged from this inspection with, in my opinion, much improved stature, his previous weakness being an apparently casual disregard for the authority of the Department.
Before Dr Anna McCabe retired from her position as Medical Inspector, she furnished a General Report on Industrial and Reformatory Schools dated 29th February 1964. She made specific reference to Fr Moore’s report, and stated that she was in substantial agreement with most of its contents. However, she rejected outright his findings regarding the boys’ clothing, diet and medical facilities available in the School, and she complimented Br Ourson on his management and attributed many improvements to his intervention.
Fr Moore confirmed the evidence of a complainant who said that he had reported sexual abuse to Fr Moore when he was in Artane. The boy had confided in him that he had been sexually abused by Br Adrien who worked in the kitchen. Fr Moore had always found him to be personable and thought that he was popular with the boys. He had never experienced or heard of complaints of sexual impropriety during his own time as a pupil in St Vincent’s and this was the first time he had ever had to deal with such a matter. Fr Moore suggested that the boy go to the Superior, Br Ourson, about the matter, but he was reluctant to do so, as he felt that it would be perceived that he was telling tales on Br Adrien. Fr Moore offered to speak to Br Ourson. He immediately went to Br Ourson and told him the nature of the allegations made against Br Adrien who said that he would deal with the matter. Fr Moore also informed the Provincial, Br Mulholland, to reinforce the seriousness of the matter. Within days, Br Adrien was removed from Artane and transferred to another institution. His departure was not announced: he simply disappeared.
He did receive another complaint, which he reported to Br Ourson, and the Brother was removed from the School.