‘I DIDN’T FIND ANY CHRIS­TIAN CHAR­ITY’

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - STATE OF THE CHURCH -

Damian O’Far­rell was among the first vic­tims of sex­ual abuse to se­cure a con­vic­tion against a for­mer Chris­tian Brother.

Twenty years ago, the na­tional school teacher re­ceived a sus­pended sen­tence and a fine for sex­ual abuse.

By the time of his con­vic­tion, the teacher had left the Chris­tian Broth­ers and was mar­ried with chil­dren.

O’Far­rell, a city coun­cil­lor who works as a spe­cial ad­viser to Min­is­ter Finian McGrath, com­plained to gar­daí as an adult, and the ex-Brother was pros­e­cuted 20 years af­ter the in­ci­dents took place in 1978.

O’Far­rell says he made a com­plaint af­ter dis­cov­er­ing that his abuser was still teach­ing in an­other school even af­ter he re­ported the abuse to the con­gre­ga­tion.

He says the abuse hap­pened seven or eight times at the school.

“He would stick his hand down my trousers and fon­dle me.”

In the court case, Det Sgt Matt Mur­phy spoke of an in­ci­dent that in­volved fondling of the pe­nis and tes­ti­cles. Look­ing back on the in­ci­dent 40 years later, O’Far­rell says: “When the school broke up for the sum­mer hol­i­days, he got a few of us down to the school to do jobs. That was his modus operandi.”

Ac­cord­ing to the court re­port of the time, the same teacher abused an­other boy, and the in­ci­dent in­volved mas­tur­ba­tion in a shed at the rear of the school and in a class­room.

Around the time of the trial, Damian saw the ex-Brother dis­tribut­ing clean­ing cat­a­logues on the street where he lives.

“I hid in some bushes to avoid him. I was still afraid of him. “Inallmy­time deal­ing with the Chris­tian Broth­ers, I didn’t find any Chris­tian char­ity,” Damian says.

PHOTO: FRANK Mc GRATH

Still afraid: O’Far­rell.

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