Irish Catholic Institutions Accused of Endemic Child Abuse

World | May 20, 2009, Wednesday // 18:25|  views

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An inquiry into child abuse at Catholic institutions in Ireland has found church leaders knew that sexual abuse was "endemic" in boys' institutions.

It also found physical and emotional abuse and neglect were features of institutions, the BBC reported Wednesday.

Schools were run "in a severe, regimented manner that imposed unreasonable and oppressive discipline on children and even on staff".

The nine-year inquiry investigated a 60-year period. About 35 000 children were placed in a network of reformatories, industrial schools and workhouses up to the 1980s.

More than 2 000 told the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse they suffered physical and sexual abuse while there.

Police were called to the commission's news conference amid angry scenes as victims were prevented from attending.

More allegations were made against the Christian Brothers than the other male orders combined.

The report found child safety was not a priority for the Christian Brothers who ran the institutions, the order was defensive in its response to complaints and failed to accept any congregational responsibility for abuse.

The report said that girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless.

The five-volume study concluded that church officials encouraged ritual beatings and consistently shielded their orders' paedophiles from arrest amid a "culture of self-serving secrecy".

It also found that government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation.


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Tags: child abuse, Catholic church, ireland


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