‘Nun spat in my face on the street’


May 27 2009 08:19 AM

WHISTLEBLOWER John Prior, whose allegations of abuse in a Tralee industrial school helped lift the lid on a hidden culture of rape and brutality in the Catholic Church, has revealed the torment he suffered for daring to tell the truth.
John Prior, who spent 14 years in St Joseph’s Industrial School in Tralee and was the longest serving inmate of any industrial school in the county, was the first victim of institutional abuse to come forward and tell his story to the authorities.
Though his bravery prompted hundreds more to come forward it led to years of misery for John who was vilified for challenging the reputation of the church.
Prior was abused in the street and shunned by friends, he received threatening phonecalls and his children were bullied.
John Prior described the ordeal of facing the Christian Brothers in Court as “four days of hell”.

“The government say the commission was non-confrontational but they treated me like a dog in there,” he said. “They called me a fraud and said they’d fight me to the very end. They had millions to spend to bring me down. Money was no object because if they beat me they could frighten all the others from coming forward. They fought me and fought me and ripped me to shreds.
“Our only way of dealing with what happened to us is to talk about it and all I wanted was for someone to say they believed me. I was abused on the street, people crossed the road away from me. I had a nun spit into my face and say ‘do you realise what you’re doing to the church?'” John Prior said.
“The orders should be closed and their assets taken from them,” he said. “I want to see these men in court. They’re paedophiles and they deserve to face the full rigours of the law.”
Referring to Bishop of Kerry Bill Murphy’s statement on institutional abuse Mr Prior said.
“That letter isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Why couldn’t he have just written to us years ago and said sorry. That’s all we wanted. What he said is too little, too late.”
John Prior has called on the diocese of Kerry to hold a special mass at the gave of children who died at St Joseph’s in Tralee’s Rath Cemetery.

Four Christian Brothers charged with sex offences

Four Christian Brothers who worked at St Joseph’s Industrial School, Tralee, appeared in Tralee District Court yesterday charged.

Thu, Jun 17, 1999, 01:00    

Four Christian Brothers who worked at St Joseph’s Industrial School, Tralee, appeared in Tralee District Court yesterday charged with a number of sex offences against boys in their care during the 1950s and 1960s.

The accused men are Brother Denis Boyhan (69), of the CBS Monastery, Kilkenny; Brother Dan Doheny (59), of CBS Synge Street, Dublin; Brother Conor Lane (82), of CBS, North Monastery, Cork; and Brother John Dermot O’Kelly, of CBS House, Binn Bain, Dingle.

There were 43 charges against Brother Boyhan of indecent assault and gross indecency; eight similar charges against Brother Doheny; two charges of gross and indecent assaults plus a further charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Brother Lane and one charge of indecent assault against Brother O’Kelly.

State solicitor Mr Edward O’Sullivan applied to have the matter adjourned until September 22nd for the service of the books of evidence and that the accused men be remanded on their own bonds.

Mr Ronnie Lynham, solicitor, suggested the case be held in camera and the names of the accused mbt be published in any form which could lead to their identification by members of the public.

Mr O’Sullivan said people involved in the case were all adults and it was a matter for the court to decide.

Mr Lynham submitted that the court had a discretion for the absolute prohibition of the publication of any matter which could lead to the identity of the accused persons becoming known.

Mr O’Sullivan said the crimes with which the accused men were charged occurred 30, 40 or more years ago and the protection of the court was required, not in relation to the identities of the accused men, but so that the victims would not be identified.

Judge Finn ruled that only the names of the victims in the cases not be published.

The four accused persons entered into their own bonds of £200 each and the case was adjourned until September 22nd.

A statement issued by the Congregation of the Irish Christian Brothers stated: “We want to make it very clear that we are co-operating fully with the Garda investigations being carried out as a result of complaints that they have received. The brothers deeply regret the hurt that may have been caused in any school or institution with which they are or have been associated.”

Sr Stan: no recollection of abuse claim


May 27 2009 08:21 AM

KERRY born campaigner for the homeless Sr Stanislaus Kennedy has confirmed she is the nun given the pseudonym Sr Wilma in the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report but she has insisted she did not know about child abuse at a Kilkenny industrial school.

The commission’s report contains a claim by a voluntary worker who told the commission that he had reported incidents of sexual abuse to Sr Stanislaus.

During their investigations the commission investigated reports of abuse at St Joseph’s Industrial School, Kilkenny and found that the school employed “two dangerous sexual abusers” during the 1970s.

The Sisters of Charity nun, who is originally from Lispole and went on to found Focus Ireland, lived in the convent in the grounds of the school in the 1970s when she worked in the community and ran a childcare course.

According to the commission report, a voluntary worker identified only by the pseudonym ‘Patrick McGovern’ said he had been told that a boy was being molested in the industrial school, in or about 1974.

He claimed he called to the convent one night to tell someone and was “relieved” when ‘Sr Wilma’ came to the door because he knew her.

‘Mr McGovern’ told the commission that when he made the claim, Sr Wilma told him there was a history of boys and girls making up stories to gain attention.

In statements to the media and the commission Sr Stanislaus has said she had no recollection of the incident referred to in the report and was entirely unaware of any physical or sexual abuse taking place at the school.