November 2003

Christian Brother sentenced over abuse

71-year-old Christian Brother Maurice Tobin has been given a 12-year jail sentence for sexually abusing 25 boys at the Letterfrack Industrial School in Co Galway between 1959 and 1974.

Four years of his sentence were suspended by Judge Harvey Kenny, who took into account the fact that Tobin had pleaded guilty, his age and his state of health.

Judge Kenny said that Tobin had been involved in violently sexually assaulting the boys and he wondered why this sex abuse was allowed to go unchecked.

In a statement, the Christian Brothers said they deeply regretted the hurt and pain caused to those who were abused by Brother Tobin.

The Congregation said it was greatly saddened by his actions, and offered its sincere apologies to those who were abused and to their families.

The garda team involved in the investigation said it is examining further cases of alleged sex abuse by others at the former industrial school.

Galway Circuit Court had heard that Maurice Tobin, of North Circular Road in Dublin, worked in the kitchens and on the farm at St Joseph’s Industrial School from 1959 until it closed down in 1974.

Tobin was born in Mitchelstown in Co Cork and joined the Irish Christian Brothers at the age of 15.

He pleaded guilty to what was described as ‘a shocking litany’ of sexual abuse – 23 cases of indecent assault and two of buggery.

In statement read to the court, the former pupils described how they were abused over a long period of time in the kitchens, in storerooms, the dormitory and in farmyard buildings.

Sixteen of Tobin’s victims were in court today. Seven gave evidence that their lives had been destroyed.

They described how they had become involved in alcohol and drug abuse, attempted to commit suicide and found it almost impossible to lead normal lives.