Former Belvedere student says abusive Fr. Joseph Marmion "targeted kids with health issues, whose families weren’t rich"
"He targeted children with health issues, children who didn’t have brothers in the school."
A former Belvedere College student has confirmed that Fr Joseph Marmion targetted vulnerable children from poorer backgrounds.
The student, who has remained anonymous, revealed to The Independent, "He targeted children with health issues, children who didn’t have brothers in the school, kids whose families wouldn’t have been wealthy, children who weren’t physically strong."
He told the publication that The Jesuits had been informed about Fr Marmion's sexual abuse allegations in 1974 or 1975, but he continued to have access to pupils despite this information.
The former student said Jesuits in Ireland were "harbouring a paedophile."
It is believed Marmion abused 40 plus men, both mentally, sexually, and physically during his time at the school. He taught at Belvedere College from 1969 to 1978, when he was removed from the school.
Marmion, who died at the age of 75 in 2000, never acknowledged the allegations.
A former headmaster of Belvedere College revealed that the abuse allegations were not properly investigated or reported to Gardaí.
The Jesuits recently stated: "Decisions were made that should never have been made and decisions that should have been made were not. There are no excuses. We are profoundly sorry for the terrible wrongs that were done to survivors."
"We understand that words are never enough, no matter how sincerely meant or felt. But it is our deep hope that this first step in owning our story, shameful as it is, and acknowledging fully the role we played as an order in allowing this abuse to happen and go on for so long, will be the beginning of a new way for us of taking responsibility for our failings," they added.
The Jesuits report into Fr Marmion's abuse has been described as "light" and "incomplete" by the former pupil.
He told The Independent, "The report is light on his activities in Austria which was the peak of his offences. It was criminal what he got away with. It needs to be investigated. He brought individual boys up to his room where they were drugged and left with no memory of what took place. Why isn’t there a concern for those boys in the report?”
It is understood that former pupils have accused the late Fr Marmion of sexual abuse, emotional abuse, bullying, physical harm and stated that he gave students medication so they would wake up with no recollection of what had happened to them.
Up to seven former students Belvedere students have confirmed the allegations to Fr. Noel Barber. Former teacher Mr Ó Tiarnaigh also told him that “something dreadfully untoward had taken place in Vienna involving Fr Marmion and one or other of the boys”.
Former headmaster Barber said he "believed he was acting in the interests of the institution in protecting it from scandal."
Feature: Laura Hutton/ Irish Times