He then described the punishment: If your shoes were cast you knew you were going to the wall. You would go and face the wall until they finished the inspection on all the children and then you would receive slaps. With Br Karel53 he could use a hurl, he could use a leather. Br Raoul54 the same, leather, hurl ... At times a hurl, at times a leather. At times an open palm. At times, as far as I was concerned a closed fist, pulling of the sideburns, being lifted by your sideburns. The particular instant that would frighten me and still does today was ... The chap in front of me at the time was a guy called David.55 When we were going up to get the boots examined you could see that ... there was no sole left in the boot and when he got up in front of him, he turned up the boot and I know now I didn’t know then that ... Br Raoul was just being totally sarcastic and he said “They’ll do you another week ...” and David – it was a relief, he was too young to understand, so was I to what was going on, but when David turned to walk away with his boots, thinking that’s great, he suddenly got a belt of a hurl on the back of – the back, then he was beat up and down the dormitory with a hurl.
In his diary, Br Gomez records that on 5th December: Bishop phoned at 7 p.m. to call on him. I understood he had no doubt of their guilt. Told me that he had called in Canon David to hold visitation at Greenmount and to call for him the following day at Bishop’s House to bring him to [Greenmount].
He did not know what action, if any, the Diocese took as a result of the inquiry, but he believed that a number of Brothers either left the Congregation or were transferred elsewhere. When Fr Andrew heard of ‘possible problems in Greenmount’ many years later, he informed the Diocesan authorities of the Canon David investigation, but was told that there was no Canon David report on file.
In the mid-1980s, a young boy, David, 29 who was in care in Cappoquin, was placed in part-time employment in a local hotel. He suffered from an intellectual disability, but was able to perform odd jobs there and he returned to the group home at night.
The social worker had known about the allegation of abuse earlier, from David’s mother. It appears from her records that she initially discounted the allegation, without checking either with Cappoquin or with David. She did not believe what she was being told about the abuse, as the relationship between the family members was difficult. She telephoned Sr Callida about it, who told her she would check it out but thought it was untrue. She herself did not speak to the child, nor did she speak to the care worker involved.
The House Parent, Ms Faughnan30 suspected at first that David was beginning to smoke and drink, but he denied it when confronted by her. She decided to keep a close eye on him. When she was cleaning his room, she discovered money, more than he should have had. He told her he got it from an employee of the hotel and it transpired, when she further questioned him, that he was being sexually abused in return for money.
The Resident Manager, Sr Callida, was away for the weekend when the boy revealed this to her. Ms Faughnan went straight to the Gardaí but they would not formally take a statement in the absence of the Resident Manager, who was David’s legal guardian. The House Parent then went to the hotel and confronted the employee, who admitted the abuse. She told him that she had spoken to the Gardaí and that he should leave his job, as she did not feel that the boy should have to leave because of his actions. She then contacted David’s social worker from the South Eastern Health Board and attended a meeting with the Health Board later. At that meeting, she was told that, as she had no witness to her conversation with the employee, nothing could be done. She did not feel she got any support from her superiors, and got the sense that she had overstepped her boundaries by the action she had taken. The following day, she observed that David was not at work and she was relieved that he had been kept at home. He approached her and said that he was not going to take the matter any further and was not pursuing it with the Gardaí. She questioned him as to why, and he told her he just did not want to. She noticed that he had a new radio. He told her that Sr Callida had given him a new radio and a new bicycle.
A second record of this allegation of abuse was contained in a memorandum written by a senior member of the Health Board: I visited the group home ... and learnt from the staff that David has been sexually abused by a fellow employee at his place of work. This has been reported to the local Garda, the staff in the home and myself, we are making further enquiries.
The possibility of a complaint being made on the boy’s behalf was left open. The Health Board was anxious that the boy would continue in the work placement. The advice given, as recorded in the solicitor’s note, was that: ... the knowledge of these occurrences would be extremely embarrassing for the Board’s Staff if there were to be a recurrence of these incidents and a complaint made by the parent or other parties at a later date. ... If there was any further risk to [David] of any nature then they would have to weigh this against the value of the placement to him and preferably withdraw him from the placement. I stressed to them that it was of utmost concern that they do not expose themselves to the risk of a potential complaint in relation to the care given to [David]. It would only take one incident, and a complaint arising out of same to call into question the actions of the Boards staff ...
The Health Board official who attended the meeting in the solicitor’s office also gave evidence to the Investigation Committee. He commended the House Parent for personally confronting the alleged abuser and for the initiative she showed in dealing with the information she had received from the child. He was not happy in relation to the lack of support she received from Sr Callida in the follow-up to the case. He sensed that there was an active encouragement of David not to make anything more of his complaint, because of the consequences it might have for the Centre. He did not want to go as far as to say that there was a feeling that the Resident Manager had prevented a prosecution, but rather that ‘there would have been frustration that rather than an intervention being assisted it had been in some way derailed’.