Christian Brothers falsely accused of sexual abuse

Official documents, obtained by The Irish Catholic Oct. 8, reveal that at least two former Christian Brothers have had multiple false sexual-abuse claims made against them to the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

The two men had taught in various institutions run by the Christian Brothers in Ireland. The newspaper reported many discrepancies in the abuse claims. One claim is alleged to have taken place in 1946. However, the accused man would have only been two years old at the time. He is also alleged to have sexually abused a boy on his confirmation day in May 1996, yet the accused only arrived at that institution three months later.

"So many religious have been accused only because they happened to be serving in a place," one of the accused men told the newspaper. Both men asked that their identities be withheld.

The other former Christian Brother had 22 allegations of abuse against him, all of which he claims are false. One allegation accuses him of abusing a boy in a swimming pool in a residential institution in 1967, but the swimming pool was not built until 1968.

All of the allegations were fully investigated and the charges subsequently dropped. But one former Christian Brother is concerned that the board is not investigating simple facts before issuing a summons.

"There's something hideously wrong with what's happening to us," one of the former brothers told the newspaper. "It's malicious and defamatory. This is a massive scam. And I don't know how deep it goes."

Florence Horsman told The Irish Catholic that she is concerned at what she sees as "serious loopholes" in the Redress Board. She founded Let Our Voices Emerge (LOVE), a new group which aims to bring balance back to the coverage of the religious' role in institutions. The group is concerned that coverage in the media is biased and is distorting the extent of the abuse.

Horsman added that her group does not deny that abuse had taken place in some instances and  is fully supportive of the victims’ right to compensation.

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