Blackrock College was “the wild west of private Catholic education”, says former student – ​​The Irish Times FindSexyJobs


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A former Blackrock College pupil who claims he was physically and sexually abused by a priest has said no one should be shocked by recent revelations about the school.

John O’Dwyer, who attended Blackrock College and its feeder school Willow Park, said by 1976 that priests and pupils there were “clearly aware of what was going on”.

He described Blackrock College as the “wild west of private Catholic education” and that being a single-sex environment contributed to opportunities for abuse, as an RTÉ radio documentary recently outlined.

Mr. O’Dwyer, 65, now lives in Chicago and said he had erased much of what had occurred to him until recently.

He intended to go public following a statement from the Blackrock Union, which represents past pupils at the school.

Last week, RTÉ’s Radio 1’s Doc on One broadcast a program featuring brothers Mark and David Ryan, who were repeatedly sexually abused both in and around Blackrock College. These abusers were from the Order of the Holy Spirit community that runs the college. The order is now known as the Spiritans.

In a statement on its website, the Blackrock Union responded by saying it could offer “practical and moral support on a confidential basis”. The Union represents 8,000 pupils from both schools, of which 3,000 are part of its online community.

The Spiritan congregation, formerly the Holy Spirit Fathers, has revealed that 233 men have made allegations of abuse against 77 Irish clergy in ministries across Ireland and overseas. Of that number, 57 men claimed they were abused at the Blackrock College campus in Dublin.

Mr O’Dwyer said he did not make a formal complaint but was physically abused by the priest on an almost daily basis.

“I’m not quite sure I missed the day I would have to visit his office at the end of the hall in the Year 5 corridor after school as I remembered it,” he told The Irish Times.

“He tied me up and when I laughed at him to ask out loud if that was all he had, he got ruby ​​red in the face and beat me harder and longer. That was almost every day! That was the price of studying at Blackrock College.’

At least once he said he was sexually abused. When he told his mother, she did not believe him and told him not to repeat it elsewhere.

Mr O’Dwyer, who has lived in the United States since 1984, said there was a need for a “permanent independent watchdog to overlook and take seriously any future complaints that may arise at the all-boys school.

“This watchdog should be overseen by a board that is completely independent of Blackrock College and should also cover any other secondary school run by faith-based organizations that have the same problems.”

Also on Wednesday, a victim of Blackrock College pedophile priest Fr Tom O’Byrne accused other priests of turning a blind eye to abuse.

The man, known as Michael, said he was abused in a similar way to brothers David and Mark Ryan, who told their story in RTÉ’s Doc on One, which aired this week.

Michael told Liveline that Fr O’Byrne abused him in the Blackrock College swimming pool and then in his private rooms in the priest’s chambers during the 1970s and early 1980s.

He said Fr O’Byrne would make him read from the Bible before abusing him. Michael remembered the other priests closing their eyes as he left the priest’s bedroom.

“When I came out of his bedroom, my eyes were as big as saucers. I passed the priest in the corridor while leaving his room,” he said.

“If they didn’t meet him and ask why there was a small child in his bedroom, they were either complicit or there was a culture of cover-up and intimidation where the people who lived there didn’t talk about it.”

All three were involved in a legal case against Fr O’Byrne which went first to the High Court and then to the Supreme Court before it was dismissed due to the lapse of time. Michael had to testify in the Supreme Court, which he described as a “terrifying experience”.

The Director of Public Prosecutions charged Fr O’Byrne with 37 offenses of sexual abuse, but this was dismissed by the High Court in 2007, saying the priest was then 87 years old.

Michael wondered how Fr O’Byrne had the resources to take the case to the Supreme Court.

Michael, who did not give his middle name, said Mr O’Byrne’s legal team suggested that because he had achieved professional success in his career, he had not been affected by the abuse.

Michael said it was right that the legacy of abuse damaged the reputation of Blackrock College given its status as one of the most elite schools in the county.

“That’s the way it has to be. They (parents) continue to send [their] children to a school like Blackrock College which has such a terrible double standard. You really have to question why they’re doing it,” he said.

“They have a reputation in the country because so many political leaders and captains of industry have gone there. The values ​​they teach by saying one thing and doing another are really not the Irish values ​​you want to live by today.”

He added that after the settlement, the spirits did not want to deal with him. “They felt they really didn’t make a mistake,” he said. “They just wanted to solve the problem.



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