Brother expresses great regret


The Superior General of the Franciscan Brothers has expressed his "absolute horror" at the sexual abuse inflicted on young boys by a former member of the order who was jailed for 10 years yesterday. The man is due to stand trial again later this year on charges relating to incidents in another part of the country.

Commenting on yesterday's court case, the Superior General, Brother James Mungovan, said the "betrayal" of the children, their parents and his own order was particularly hurtful, and he expressed great regret at what had happened.

"All I can express is absolute horror at what came out in court today. It is absolutely unforgivable, in the sense that so many people have been betrayed - the pupils, parents, his colleagues - and as a result there is an immense amount of hurt. I can only express great sorrow and regret at what has happened."

The allegations heard in court yesterday came as "an absolute and total surprise", he said.

The charges to which the former brother pleaded guilty yesterday related to incidents between 1973 and 1976. Sources in the Franciscans confirmed last night that allegations were made against him while he was working in a different school in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Following local controversy, he was transferred to another area in 1973, and began teaching in a new school.

When a complaint arose against him in his new location, it was dealt with by the Franciscans in line with the procedures in force at the time, and did not involve him leaving the area. But he was taken out of teaching by the order in 1982 after further allegations surfaced. He left the order in 1984 and married in 1986.