The second incident was reported to him by a former detainee in November 1968, who alleged that he was ‘hit by a lamp on the lips, arms and other parts of the body’ by the same attendant, Mr Lombard. The boy did not make a complaint to the authorities at the time as ‘he was afraid of Mr Lombard and because he was convinced that he would not succeed in any complaint he would make’. The following day, the Probation Officer informed Ms Justice Eileen Kennedy, who instructed him to get the Probation Administration Officer of the Department of Justice to contact the Department of Education to have the matter investigated. He spoke to the Probation Administration Officer on 11th November, and was requested to submit a report on the two incidents, which he did on 13th February 1969. Mr MacConchradha, the Probation Administration Officer, referred the matter to the Secretary of the Department of Education on 28th February 1969.
In respect of the second complaint, he stated that he believed that the boy ‘was assaulted on the night in question, but I feel that he has exaggerated in his account’. He also referred to the fact that the Gardaí in [the boy’s local Garda Station] had told him the boy and his mother ‘are notorious liars’ and that ‘[he] is pretty violent and is frequently in brawls’. The official from the Department concluded that the attendant, Mr Lombard, ‘should be advised to exercise restraint when provoked, but deserves praise for his interest in and kindness to the boys’. He also pointed out that the work of the attendants ‘would be much simpler if indoor games and suitable reading material were provided’.
Each of the witnesses that gave evidence to the Investigation Committee made allegations of physical abuse, particularly against this attendant [Mr Lombard]. One witness recounted being hit randomly with his walking stick for no reason. He said Mr Lombard would take him out of bed in the early hours of the morning and would ‘wallop you, strip you, hit you with the stick’. This happened on two or three occasions where he was taken out of bed ‘and just walloped for no reason whatsoever’. He recalled a particular occasion when Mr Lombard took a boy out of the bed next to him and ‘hit him so hard and where he missed him there was holes in the walls from the top of his walking stick were he actually missed him with a few blows’. The atmosphere he felt was one of fear: It was degrading there, there was tension there all the time, a terrible atmosphere. If you were hit you actually felt better because you were not going to be hit for a day or two. You never knew when it was going to happen to you.
Another witness referred to the early-morning beatings by this same attendant, which he first received on arrival: ... it was perhaps about 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, I can’t remember exactly what time it was, when the bedclothes were taken back off me. This man, whom I now knew to be Lombard, held me down with his left hand on the back of my neck here, he had the blankets back and he beat me half a dozen times with the walking stick, across the back, the buttocks and the back of my legs. Full force. This was the first night I was there.
This happened on four occasions within the first month that he was there, where Mr Lombard would beat him with his walking stick: ‘He would always give you half a dozen whacks of it’. He also said that Mr Lombard beat the boys for no reason, and he pointed out that there ‘was always a smell of alcohol from his breath’.
The events surrounding the escape by a boy, Emmet Crosbie,9 on St Stephen’s Day 1970 prompted these newspaper articles and, in particular, Mr Jacob to contact the press. An attendant who was intoxicated gave the boy keys to escape, which he did, and went to the West where he surrendered himself to the Gardaí who brought him back to Marlborough House. The Superintendent of Marlborough House, Mr Carnoy,10 obtained statements from both attendants regarding the circumstances of the boy’s escape. He wrote to the Department of Education in January 1971, stating that he believed the boy’s version of events and was satisfied that both attendants were under the influence of drink on the nights in question, and he considered that it was a case of neglect of duty on the part of one of the attendants, Mr Lombard. As was outlined above, Mr Lombard was eventually removed from his position in July 1971, as he was considered a source of tension amongst the boys.
One witness, who was in Marlborough House in the early 1970s, alleged that two members of staff (Mr Lombard and Mr Hugot)11 used a walking stick to beat him. The beatings were random and for no particular reason. He also complained of being fondled and, when asked to describe this, he said: What they would actually do, they would strip you and I remember, I can see him now ... he would come in and shove the stick between your buttocks or whatever else and stand in the doorway and watch him push you and feel you or whatever.
At that time, he said there were approximately 25 to 30 boys in the House. His daily routine consisted of getting up in the morning, going to the bathroom to ‘put some water on your face’ and going downstairs for breakfast and then sitting by the fire for the day. His description of breakfast was not particularly edifying. The boys would sit each side of the table, and one of the attendants would stand at the top of the table: Mr Lombard would stand at the top of the table, we would all have a mug of tea, it would be ready for you, and he would stand at the top of the table and we would all be sitting down. And he would say, “hey, you boy, catch”, and he would throw you the bread and you had to catch it before the other guy got it. Jam and bread. Then the next boy. “Hey, boy”, and he threw it to you and you had to catch it.