A priest who abused students at a leading Dublin school in the 1970s was subsequently appointed chaplain to St Vincent’s Private Hospital, despite parents having made allegations against him.
Yesterday, the Jesuits named Fr Joseph Marmion as the subject of allegations of sexual, emotional and physical abuse by students who attended Belvedere College in the 1970s. The priest died in 2000 aged 75.
The order said that after parents contacted them disclosing their concerns in 1977, Marmion was removed from the staff of the school at the end of the academic year 1977-78.
The priest then spent a year on sabbatical in Paris with the Jesuit Community Saint François Xavier. He was later assigned to the Gardiner Street Jesuit Community and in 1990 was appointed Chaplain to St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Dublin.
“We recognise that these subsequent appointments should not have been made,” the Jesuits said.
The order said Joseph Marmion abused boys sexually, emotionally and physically while he was teaching in Belvedere from 1969 until 1978. He also taught at Crescent College Limerick, and Clongowes Wood College, Co Kildare.
The decision to name the priest was taken following concerns raised by a former pupil of Belvedere who was sexually and emotionally abused by Marmion when he was a 13.
Jesuit provincial Fr Leonard Moloney met the man after he contacted the order in early 2019 about his experiences in the 1970s.
“In our communications, he made it clear to me that he was concerned for others who may also have suffered and that they should be proactively offered a response and support,” ,” Fr Moloney said. “This man also conveyed to me that he believed others who were abused may be helped by the recognition that they too were dreadfully harmed. He asked that we name his abuser, Joseph Marmion SJ, publicly and that we make this information widely available in order to reach as many former students as possible.”
He said the Jesuits have also been in contact over many years with others who were abused by Marmion.
Fr Moloney added: “It is a matter of profound regret to me personally and to the Society of Jesus that children were abused whilst in our care. We are truly sorry. Words are never enough.”
The Jesuit leader said a former student had written to him recently about his experience of Joseph Marmion and recounted the stories of others “who were also terribly harmed”.
It follows an article in the Irish Daily Mail by food and wine critic Tom Doorley in which he revealed how a priest he referred to as ‘Fr Oliphant’ targeted Belvedere students for “costume measuring” where he would sexually abuse them. School trips to Vienna were used by the priest to abuse pupils, he wrote.
The Jesuits have appealed to victims and survivors of abuse to come forward and to seek help.