May 11, 2005

Severely beating boys was not abuse, insists priest

One in Four

Irish Independent

THE Oblate order, which ran Daingean Reformatory School, has refused to admit that sexual or physical abuse occurred there prior to its closure in 1973.

The order was presenting evidence about the school to the Commission on Child Abuse yesterday. It insisted that it is up to the commission to decide the truth of the allegations of sexual and physical abuse made against members of staff at the reform school, known as St Conleth's.

Fr Michael Hughes, testifying on behalf of the Oblates, refused to describe beatings on the bare buttocks with a strap as 'abuse', and would not concede that sexual abuse had occurred at St Conleth's, again saying it was up to the commission to decide this.

St Conleth's was based at Daingean, Co Offaly, and was the State's main reformatory school for boys.

Fr Hughes, under intense cross-examination about physical punishment at Daingean, admitted that strapping of the bare buttocks of boys had occurred. However, he said it was carried out "in good faith" and that people at the time "didn't think it was abuse".

Posted by kshaw at May 11, 2005 11:21 AM