A priest who abused students at one of the most prestigious schools in the country in the 1970s has been publicly named by the Jesuit order at the behest of a former pupil of Belvedere College.
Fr Joseph Marmion SJ abused boys sexually, emotionally and physically while he was on the teaching staff at the private Dublin school.
He was named by the Jesuits on Tuesday in the hope that others who may have suffered abuse will come forward and get support.
The priest taught in the Dublin school from 1969 until 1978. He also taught in Crescent College Limerick, and Clongowes Wood College, Co Kildare. Fr Marmion died in 2000.
On Tuesday, the Jesuits said they have been in contact over many years with others who were abused by Joseph Marmion while they were young students.
“They have spoken of sexual abuse and physical and emotional bullying by him. We believe that the secrecy imposed by Joseph Marmion may still be preventing some victims and survivors from accessing help and support.”
In 2019, the religious order was contacted by a former pupil of Belvedere College who was student at the school in the 1970s.
At 13 he was sexually and emotionally abused by Marmion.
Jesuit provincial, Fr Leonard Moloney, said in a statement that he had personally met with the man.
“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. 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.”
The victim asked the Jesuits to name his abuser publicly and make the information widely available in order to reach as many former students as possible.
In 1977, concerned parents contacted the Jesuits disclosing the sexual abuse. “In consequence, a decision was taken that Joseph Marmion be removed from the staff in Belvedere with effect from the end of the academic year 1977/1978,” the Jesuits said.
The priest then spent a year on sabbatical in Paris with the Jesuit Community Saint François Xavier. He was then assigned to the Gardiner Street Jesuit Community. In 1990 he was appointed Chaplain to St Vincent’s Private Hospital.
“We recognise that these subsequent appointments should not have been made,” the Jesuits said.
The order said the information concerning the priest was being communicated to the other schools, Crescent College Limerick, and Clongowes Wood College, where Fr Marmion taught.
“We are acutely aware of the pain and distress that many have had to hold and continue to hold, years after the original experience,” Fr Moloney said.
“This pain is held by those who were direct victims of harm and abuse, by their families and also by other students who were witnesses to this abuse and felt powerless andunable to do anything about it. 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 appealed to victims and survivors of abuse by Jesuits to come forward and to seek help.
“We hope to explore with you the responses and supports that would be most useful at this time.”
He also paid tribute to the man who was abused by Joseph Marmion. “His request, made solely out of concern for others, has been an example to us all,” Fr Moloney said.
He noted that in recent days, a former student had written about his experience of Joseph Marmion and recounted the stories of others who have spoken to him and who were also terribly harmed.
“We are making efforts to reach out to those individuals and to offer them our support if they wish,” the Jesuit said.
The revelation of abuse at Belvedere College follows the recent conviction of a former teacher at another prestigious Dublin school, Terenure College, over his abuse of students.
In February, 76-year-old John McClean was jailed for eight years. Gardaí are now investigating further allegations of abuse by McClean.