IMPORTANT:This page has used Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia in either a refactored, modified, abridged, expanded, built on or 'straight from' text content! (view authors)

The sexual abuse scandal in the Congregation of Christian Brothers is a major chapter in the series of Catholic sex abuse cases in various Western juridictions.

Abuse in the United States of America

According to the John Jay Report, there were 4,392 sexual abuse allegations in the US against priests from 1950 to 2002[1]. A database of cases and priests has been prepared on[2]. One of these cases follows.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, in 1998, Brother Robert Brouillette was arrested in Joliet, Illinois for indecent solicitation of a child[3]. In 2002, a civil lawsuit was filed in Cook County, Illinois against Brother Brouillette for sexual assault against a 21 year old man[4]. Brother Brouliette served as faculty at Brother Rice, in Birmingham, Michigan, at St. Laurence High School in Burbank, Illinois, and possibly other institutions [5]. Brother Robert Brouillette was also known as Robert Sullivan according to court docket 1-07-0633 from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois[6].

Abuse at Mount Cashel orphanage

The Christian Brothers in Canada more than 300 former pupils alleged physical and sexual abuse at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland. When allegations of physical and sexual abuse started to surface in the late 1980s, the government, police and local church leaders conspired in an unsuccessful cover-up. In Ontario in January 1993 the Christian Brothers reached a financial settlement totaling $23 million with 700 former students who alleged abuse.[7]

Allegations of sexual abuse at Mount Cashel Boys Home orphanage in Newfoundland (Canada) led to a royal commission, (The Hughes Inquiry) and further investigations followed into allegations at other institutions across Canada.

Abuse in Ireland

In Ireland, during the latter part of the 20th century, Christian brothers schools were noted for brutal and frequent use of corporal punishment.[8]

Sexual abuse was rife. Artane Industrial school's staff hosted a number of Brothers who had repeatedly been warned for “embracing and fondling” boys. Others accused of rape, beat or bribed their victims into silence. Accused Brothers were invariably excused, lightly admonished or, typically, moved to other institutions where they were free to continue abusing children for decades.

1998 apologies

In Ireland in March 1998, the Congregation of the Christian Brothers published full-page advertisements in newspapers apologizing to former pupils who had been ill-treated whilst in their care. The unprecedented advertising campaign expressed "deep regret" on behalf of the Christian Brothers and listed telephone lines which former pupils could ring if they needed help.[9] In Australia the Christian Brothers protected Brothers accused of sex offenses.[10][11]

Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse

In 2003, the order took legal action against the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, to prevent the Commission from naming deceased brothers and brothers who were too old to competently defend themselves. The High Court rejected the challenge, but did stipulate that the Commission must take into account the corroboration of accusations and the testing of witness evidence, and to allow the representatives of deceased brothers to cross-examine witnesses.[12] However, Justice Seán Ryan later overruled this when he took over the commission, and declared that individual perpetrators of abuse would not be named unless they had already been convicted [13]

The Commission found that thousands of Irish children at Christian Brothers institutions were abused and that more allegations were made against the Irish Christian Brothers than against all other male religious orders combined[14].[15]

In the Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse's five-volume report of its investigation of systemic abuse of children in Ireland, the Congregation of Christian Brothers, which was the largest provider of residential care for boys in the country, received more allegations of abuse than all of the other male religious orders combined.[16]

They have accepted the allegations were correct, saying ""The Christian Brothers accept, with shame, the findings of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse ... The congregation is deeply sorry for the hurt we have caused - not just for the mistakes of the past, but for the inadequacy of our responses over recent years." [17]

Abuse in Australia

In Australia, there were allegations that during the 1970s sexual abuses took place at the junior campus of St Patricks College and St Alipius Primary School (now closed) in Ballarat, Victoria. After investigation, Brothers Robert Best, Edward Dowlan and Stephen Francis Farrell were all convicted of sex crimes. Dowlan and Best were later transferred to the senior campus, and continued to offend.[18][19]

Gerald Risdale affair

In 1971, Bishop Ronald Austin Mulkearns of Ballarat referred a priest, Fr Gerald Ridsdale for counselling. Fr Ridsdale was later convicted of 46 counts of sexual abuse against 21 victims over two decades. His victims claim that he selected children from the class and abused them. Ridsdale admitted that his victims number in the hundreds. In 1994, Bishop Mulkearns claimed that while he was aware of the abuse, he was not aware of the extent.[20]

Financial settlements

On the 5 November 2009 the organization announced they would be paying €34 million in reparations, following the publication of the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse the previous May. Up to €30m is to be given to a Government trust, in addition to €4m for counselling services. The donations reflect the "Christian Brothers' acceptance, shame and sorrow at the findings of the Ryan Report"[21].

In late November 2009 the organization announced they would supply a €161 million (£145 million sterling) package as part of reparations for child abuse in Ireland.[22] This includes a donation of €30 million to a government trust and €4 million donated to provide counselling services.[22] Playing fields owned by the organisation and valued at €127 million would be transferred to joint ownership of the government and the trust that runs former Christian Brothers schools.[22]

See also


  1. "The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests and Deacons". John Jay College of Criminal Justice. 2004-02-01. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  2. "Database of Publicly Accused Priests in the United States". 2004-00-00. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  3. "Christian Brother caught in Net sex sting". Chicago Sun Times. 1998-04-21. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  4. . The Joliet Daily News. 2004-03-26. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  5. "Accused Priests Who Worked in the Archdiocese of Chicago". 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  6. [citation needed]
  7. "Child and youth sexual abuse by clergy: The Canadian Situation". 2001-02-28. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
  8. "Casual brutality marked life in Artane". Sunday Business post. 2003-09-07.
  9. "Catholic order apologises publicly for abuse". BBC News. 1998-03-30. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
  10. "Quite exceptional depravity - Christian Brothers: Senate Committee, Aug 2001". 2002-08-16. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
  11. "Catholic religious Brothers accept sex-offenders as members". Retrieved 2009-04-08.
  14. "Irish inquiry indicts church-run schools", Philadelphia Inquirer, 21 May 2009
  15. Sharrock, David (2009-05-21). "Irish State colluded with religious authorities to hide child abuse report says". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-05-23.
  16. CNN, "Report reveals decades of child abuse in Irish institutions", 20 May 2009. Accessed 20 May 2009.
  17. BBC, "Orders to offer more to abused"
  18. Ellingsen, Peter. Ballarat's good men of the cloth. The Age Newspaper, June 14, 2002.
  20. Ellingsen, Peter (14 June 2002). "Ballarat's good men of the cloth". The Age. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  21. "Christian Brothers donate €34m in reparation". RTÉ News. 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Catholic order pays out for abuse, BBC News, 25 November 2009
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.