Richard Evans did part-time work at St Joseph’s five nights per week. He helped the children with sport and homework, and did leisure supervision. He recalled the boys coming to him with allegations that they were being interfered with by Thomas Pleece: It was in the spring of ‘74 ... After a lot of conversation with the boys, a lot of cajoling, they came to me and they were saying that Mr Pleece was abusing them. The way they put it was he was interfering with them when they were in bed at night ... Joe,23 Simon24 and Justin,25 and there was a few more of them. They didn’t want to go to tell anybody because they knew they were going to be punished if they did. They were going to suffer repercussions. Because there was an awful lot of abuse going on that I knew nothing about, physical and sexual, and I knew nothing about it. I wouldn’t have known anything about it at the time.
Whatever was said, Thomas Pleece resented Richard Evans after that: Now, Thomas Pleece always had an Alsatian and that was his main threat with everybody, the Alsatian would be put on you or set on you if you opened your mouth or stepped in the wrong place. He did resent me after that. It was quite obvious that he must have known or found out we had gone to the Reverend Mother and he wasn’t happy about it. I don’t think after that occasion that I ever spoke to him after that.
Sr Astrid had maintained that she had no recollection of anyone speaking to her about sexual abuse by Thomas Pleece, consequently Richard Evans was asked to spell out how explicit he had been with her: Well, I originally stated to the Reverend Mother that Thomas Pleece was putting his hands in under the bedclothes in interfering with the boys’ private parts and that Joe was there to make a complaint. He didn’t particularly say that Pleece was catching them, feeling their penises or anything but he was interfering with them under the clothes, their private parts I think is the way he put it. But there was no mention of other than that. From what has transpired since that, there was an awful lot worse than that going on. But that didn’t come out with Sr Astrid that night.
Though the boys had not been explicit even with Richard Evans, he had no doubt that what was happening was wrong and had to be stopped: I knew it was wrong, what was going on. What they had said to me was wrong, it shouldn’t have been going on there.
That meeting between Joe, Richard Evans and Sr Astrid took place at the beginning of the spring of 1974, some months after Thomas Pleece had been brought back to Kilkenny from his eight-month period of employment in Drogheda.
Sr Astrid stated that she had no memory of a meeting with Richard Evans and Joe in which Thomas Pleece’s sexual abuse of the boys was raised. She remembered that Joe came to see her once or twice, but did not remember Mr Evans accompanying him. She did not disagree with Mr Evan’s recollection, as she believed he was an honest man, but she did not remember it herself.