Courts

Saturday 2 August 2014

High Court awards €370,000 to victim of sexual abuse by a Christian Brother

Tim Healy

Published 18/02/2014|18:31

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Dublin's High Court
The man, who cannot be named, told the court the abuse took place in a Christian Brothers premises in Artane, Dublin, when he had volunteered to help out gardening.

A 42-YEAR old man who was sexually abused as a boy by a Christian Brother over a five year period has been awarded €370,000 by a High Court judge.

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Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the sexual abuse suffered by the man as a young boy, starting when he eight years of age, was of the most extreme he had seen in his career.

"He suffered severe injury which has affected him throughout his life, " the judge said.

The man, who cannot be named, told the court the abuse took place in a Christian Brothers premises in Artane, Dublin, when he had volunteered to help out gardening.

It happened in a store room for church paraphenalia, a basement and a room which overlooked rose beds.

It happened three to five times a week in the early 80s.

The brother who abused him, who has since died, also put his hand inside his trousers and fondled him when he visited him in a convalescent home.

The action was against the Christian Brothers which, it was claimed, was responsible for the management and control of the brother.

The Christian Brothers Congregation, it was claimed, was in breach of its duty of care as they were aware or ought to have been aware on December 8, 1960, that the brother had been given a formal canonical warning by his superiors on account of him "interfering incorrectly with boys."

The defence did not contest that he was sexually abused, but denied negligence.  It was also claimed the case was statute barred.

Mr Justice Cross said he wanted to make it clear he accepted the man's evidence and he was a truthful witness "who had been severely abused" by the brother in a manner  that has caused him "significant trauma."

The Congregation, the judge said, was negligent in its failure "to take any steps whatsoever to supervise the brother  or to prevent his access to a vulnerable child".

This was in the "full knowledge that the brother had been, in the past, guilty of child abuse of young boys", he said.

Even by the standards of the 1980s, the Christian Brothers ought to have put in place a system to watch and monitor the brother to ensure he did not have such access to the boy or  to others, he said. 

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