Jesuit priests confirm sex abuse cover-up at Belvedere College
A "credible" allegation made in 1977 was never properly investigated, Jesuits confirm
Allegations that pupils were sexually abused by a Jesuit priest in Belvedere College in the 1970s were not properly investigated or reported to Gardaí, a former headmaster has revealed.
According to the Irish Times, the Jesuits last night said the sexual abuse of pupils at the Dublin school was a "shameful" chapter in the order's history.
Last March, the order said that the late Fr. Joseph Marmion, who worked at the school from 1969 until 1978, had sexually, emotionally and physically abused students while he taught at the school in the 70s.
In 1977, a "credible" sexual abuse allegation against the priest was brought to the attention of school authorities "in order that they would deal with it," a draft report from a Jesuit-ordered inquiry into the abuse states.
Yet the matter of reporting the allegation to the Gardaí was not part of the conversation, the school's former headmaster, Fr. Noel Barber reportedly told the inquiry.
The former headmaster accepted that he and two colleagues were concerned about the allegations becoming known and that he "believed he was acting in the interests of the institution in protecting it from scandal."
The Jesuits said last night: "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."
Fr. Marmion stayed at the college after the allegations were made in 1977 until that academic year ended in 1978. He died in 2000.