Children abused at Catholic-run schools in Ireland, report says
An Irish commission finds that students at more than 200 schools were molested and subjected to excessive punishment over a six-decade period while the church covered up misdeeds.
By Henry Chu
"Extreme punishment was a feature of the boys' schools. Prolonged, excessive beatings with implements intended to cause maximum pain occurred with the knowledge of staff management," the report says.
Girls also were subject to "ritualized beatings," often administered by the nuns in a way calculated to "increase anguish and humiliation," the report found.
"One way of doing this was for children to be left waiting for long periods to be beaten. Another was when it was accompanied by denigrating or humiliating language."
Some victims told the commission that seeing or hearing other children being beaten was a terrifying experience that has haunted them ever since.
"It's something you never forget," Tom Sweeney told Irish television, referring to the five years he spent in industrial schools, including two years at Artane, a facility run by the Christian Brothers in Dublin.
"Things didn't happen in your life after that," said Sweeney, 63. "Your life fell apart. Your marriage fell apart. Your communication with your children fell apart, and it all stems [from] being in Artane. We never got closure, and we never will get closure."
Sexual abuse was also rife, especially in boys' facilities, the report says. The religious authorities knew that such misconduct was a persistent problem, but children who complained were ignored or blamed for what had occurred.
Catholic school abuse has become a worldwide scandal. Most people know about it and scorn it. But the same things happened to Indian children in the US and Canada. That scandal deserves as much publicity as this one.
For more on the subject, see Pope Feels Sorrow, Not Sorry and 150,000 Kidnapped Children.