An abuse victim tells Maria Herlihy about how his childhood was ‘robbed’ in an oprhanage where rape was rampant

“I consider myself 100 per cent Irish, but I will never go back to that place [Ireland]. I want to past to be just that – the past,” said Jack.

Thursday September 08 2011

AT night time ten-year-old *Jack would lie awake in an orphanage with 12 other boys of similar age and they would make a pledge to not fall asleep. But no matter how hard they tried, sooner or later one by one they began to drift off. It was later in the night when sleep had engulfed them that one child would feel a hand on his shoulder and he would be beckoned out of the bed by a Christian Brother.

Jack this week told The Corkman that his “childhood” was robbed from him by two Christian brothers. He along with his three biological brothers were sent to the orphanage and it brought them nothing but endless nightmares.

“I remember the first time that I received an unmerciful beating from *Brother X as I refused to go down on him when he was aroused. I will never forget that beating. He physically attacked me and then he raped me. I didn’t really know what was happening to me as I was just a little boy, and I found blood coming from my rectum,” said Jack.

He then found himself separated from his biological brothers and felt very much alone. He had a family member “on the outside world,” but he could not alert her to what was happening to him as all letters were read and there were no visitors to the orphanage. In six years, he got to visit his female relative once and when she sat him down and began to ask him about life in the orphanage, he shut up like a clam.

“I couldn’t let any emotion out. The man who raped me even took me on the train to visit her. He warned me on the way down that if I opened my mouth, then I knew exactly what I would get. There were four sick bastards, because that is exactly what they were, who used to rape boys in the orphanage. You used to lie in the bed and even when you really wanted to go to the toilet you daren’t get out of that bed as you would feel a hand on you,” said Jack.

He said he can recall a boy going to the toilet on his toes so as not to make any noise, however, the little boy was soon ensnared just before he got to the toilet. The same happened to Jack on more than one occasion.

“I found myself bleeding from my rectum after him. And one time I was taken to hospital as they believed my kidney had ruptured. But it wasn’t that it was from being kicked into the kidney by that evil bastard. He also used a buckle. That is the only word which I can use to describe him as being an evil bastard,” said Jack.

When Jack learned he was soon to be discharged from hospital in an attempt to stay there, he cut his arm. However, he soon found himself back in the very place which had stripped him of his childhood.

He said during the summer months, he would be put to work from 5am until 7pm on the farm. “I was no better than a slave, at least a slave has some chance of freedom. I was so tired of it all. I had no childhood, it was a dreadful dreadful time,” he said.

There were teachers at the orphanage who according to Jack were very much aware of the physical beatings as well as the sexual abuse. “But even they did nothing, they were totally intimidated by the abusers,” he said.

At 16-years-old he left the orphanage a damaged child who was emotionally shut down. He found himself moving to England in the late 1970s and finding menial works as he had little to no education. He said he once recalled telling a priest in confession when he left the orphanage what had happened to him.

“I got a sharp swift belt across the face and was told that I was lucky to have got an education. But what education did I get. I didn’t get anything. I was put to work on a farm until all hours,” said Jack.

During many years in England, Jack described himself “as a loner” and he didn’t have trust in many people at all. Thankfully, the only slice of happiness he found in life was meeting and marrying his wife.

“There has been no closure for me. I had to sit down and tell my wife and adult children. That was not easy. They were so angry, particularly my sons. It was very tough,” said Jack.

He has been back to Ireland once since he left in the late 1970s. For legal reasons The Corkman cannot disclose his case.

“I consider myself 100 per cent Irish, but I will never go back to that place [Ireland]. I want to past to be just that – the past,” said Jack.

* Names changed to protect victim’s identity


10 Responses to “‘ You daren’t get out of that bed as you would feel a hand on you’”

  1. Evin says:

    You’re absolutely right Paddy. We are misled in thinking that abusers are only in institutions and the other areas where they have been recently caught. They exist throughout society from judges to milkmen.

  2. Paddy says:

    I’m convinced that child abuse is a world wide epidemic that might never be stamped out. Devious people, evil people carrying out their perverse acts against the vulnerable in our society. Paddy.

  3. Delia says:

    Hi from New Zealand. An ex brother is on trial in New Zealand for abusing boys in his care in a catholic special education school. His victims were talking on the news and I got this horrible feeling of de javu reading this–it could have been them writing here the stories are so identical.

  4. jack says:

    not just childhoods stolen but teen years too

  5. jack says:

    the protestants (anglicans) in Ireland are no better

  6. Raymond says:

    Bastards. BASTARDS ! is all I can say.

    So sorry Jack you had to endure such hell.

    Bless your wife who could show you ‘different – normal – and at least prove to you, not that you needed proof, that these people were the SICKEST NASTIEST BASTARDS THE EARTH COULD CARRY.



    Thanks for sharing here and letting us know.


  7. Evin Daly says:

    Thanks Jack for telling your story. These men are criminals of the highest order and I can only hope that they got what they had coming to them. What sickens me, maddens me, is that despite stories like these the Irish public has remained for the most part silent. Call it denial, apathy – whatever you like – I call it a deliberate refusal to acknowledge the pain these children experience and worse, to do anything about it.

    There were no marches, no boycotting of churches or religious orders, nothing that would add public weight that should have reflected a national anger. Nothing.

    This has empowered the perpetrators of this hideous abuse – past and present. And their supporters of which there are many. These bastards didn;t just exist in religious orders, they pervade society from top to bottom.

    Only a few people including yourself have had the resilience to carry the banner to expose what happened and continues to happen. Others go through the actions but they are being paid to do so and as such in my book lack credibility (NGO’s, politicians etc). When I am in Dublin and people ask what our organization does, as soon as I mention ‘child protection,’ the conversation mutes and the subject changes. THAT is the hardest part – that in a typical Irish fashion they hide behind the ‘I don’t want to get involved’ excuse. It’s a national shame that doubles the pain of those who were abused in not providing what they need – national empathy and anger toward the perpetrators.

  8. John Scott says:

    Having had 5 children their happiness is what’s most important to me, its the core of my being. Every child should be loved and cherished. To not be is a crime itself, but for the very person who was meant to love and care to abuse and rape is unbelievable; except I believe it. I am so sorry for what has paeened to you.

  9. jack dooley says:

    My god Paddy. That man Jack spells the truth out for those who may think the horror such a his, the beatings the rapes did happen and the ability these monsters possessed to to make us feel we were next to nothing and ‘deserved’ to be treated as ‘scum’ to be used and neglected as they saw fit, I say again Paddy is there no closure in this life for us. It seems not. keep well PADDY, THANK YOU.

  10. James Moy says:

    Jack, your very definitly not alone ,there are many all over the world in the same boat, and share your views, so keep strong.
    Bottom line is that when it comes to Child Abuse the Roman Catholic Church are indeed very guilty of very serious Sexual and Physical Abuse , despite their Ten Commandments and Teachings.

    The institutions and orphanages of Ireland and all over the world , are without doubt living proof of that. Greatest bunch of Hypocrites going, and the reason why there are so many damaged men out in this sad world.

    Jimmy uk .