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, 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.
Br Sandler informed Dr Byrne that progress had been made in establishing a small committee of inquiry. However, no inquiry took place and no reasons were given for not proceeding with it.
The mother of a boy, who had been resident in St Joseph’s from the early 1970s to the early 1980s, contacted a Bishop in the late 1980s to complain about sexual abuse that her son had suffered in the School. She subsequently met the Provincial, Br Sandler, and informed him that the sexual abuse by older boys had begun shortly after her son’s arrival in St Joseph’s. She said that he had reported the abuse and that the offenders were expelled. But some of them were re-admitted and they again sexually abused him, until he left the School. The boy attempted suicide in the late 1980s, which resulted in him attending a psychiatrist, and that is how details of the abuse came to light. Br Sandler assured the woman that the matter would be investigated and he would report back to her. From the file furnished, no action appears to have been taken by Br Sandler, nor are there any documents concerning the abuse that led to the boys’ being expelled in the early 1970s.