Irish Priest Abuse Report Shocking but Short on Details

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse report concerning Catholic clergy abuse of young children in Ireland reads worse than a Charles Dickens novel. The depravity, horror, and cruelty depicted in the physical and sexual abuse of minor boys and girls is shocking. It’s all the more egregious when the boys and girls sent to these Catholic boarding schools, really orphanages, were sent there because their parents couldn’t afford to pay for their upbringing or they were somehow determined morally incapable of rearing children. In separating children from their parents, the Irish government and the Catholic Church colluded and conspired to reign terror down on these children, permanently scarring many of them for life.
While the Irish report is shocking, it falls short and scandalously so. The 2,600 page report which took 9 years to produce doesn’t mention one clergy person of the 500 or so accused of committing physical and sexual abuse on the children. Let me say it again- none of the perpetrators names were mentioned in the report! That’s like a Watergate investigation that doesn’t mention Haldeman, Ehrlichman, or Nixon. How’s justice come from a report that doesn’t accuse wrongdoers of crimes?
Hopefully, the fight isn’t over in Ireland. Survivor advocates must stand up to the Catholic Church in Ireland and the Irish government and demand they release the names of the abusers. If they’re still alive, they need to face the criminal justice system or the civil justice system.
Consumer justice lawyers who’ve helped abuse survivors here in the US may be able to lend a hand. The Alien Tort Claims Act is a federal law which reads: “The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” The Alien Tort Claims Act or ATCA is specifically designed to address human rights violations.
There’s no greater human rights violation than the torture, physcial abuse, and sexual abuse of young children. Many of these torture chamber schools were run by the Christian Brothers, a Catholic religious order founded in Ireland in the 19th century. It was the same Christian Brothers who delayed the publication of this report and filed a lawsuit to have all the names of the offending priests, brothers, and religious sisters redacted from the report. Their lawsuit was successful.
The Irish Catholic Church sex abuse scandal has rocked the church in Ireland and left in its wake resignations including an Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds, Ferns Bishop Brendan Comiskey, and Justice Mary Laffoy resigns in protest over the church obstruction of the investigation.
Two more reports will be published, one from the Archdiocese of Dublin and one from the Diocese of Cloyne, this year.
The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse report is more than that. Sadly, it’s a scandalous miscarriage of justice and human rights.