Irish Jesuit Order statement regarding Joseph Marmion

Statement follows inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse against priest during time at Belvedere College

Belvedere College, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Belvedere College, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

 

A statement from the Irish Jesuit Order following the publication of some of the contents of an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse against Father Joseph Marmion during his time as a teacher at Belvedere College in Dublin during the 1970s.

After the naming in public of Joseph Marmion SJ last March the Jesuits in Ireland appealed for anyone who had any complaints, concerns or questions to contact our Safeguarding Office.

It was clear from what was communicated to us from those impacted by Marmion’s emotional, psychological, physical and sexual abuse, that they wanted a robust process that would address the whole truth of what happened and how it was allowed to happen

After consultation with survivors and others the Provincial, Fr Leonard Moloney, asked two independent restorative justice practitioners to engage with those survivors who wished to, in order to further identify their needs and ways to meet them.

Through this process it was also intended that the full story of Jesuit knowledge, actions and omissions would be told and that answers would be provided to the questions that are being brought forward.

One strand of this process involved the preparation of a detailed chronology and Jesuit Response to the Joseph Marmion history.

What has emerged in terms of the story of Marmion’s abuse, and subsequent handling of his case is shameful for us Jesuits and must be very difficult for survivors to read. 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 again ask forgiveness of all those impacted by Joseph Marmion’s abuse.

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.

We understand the justifiable anger, or range of reactions that many survivors may feel on reading the details of this story of abuse and how it was handled.

We want to invite anybody impacted by what they have now read, should they wish to do so. to contact the restorative practitioners:

Catherine O’Connell Catherine.oconnell@mu.ie 0879936237

Barbara Walshe barbarawalshe@live.com 0868186639 or

Saoirse Fox, Child Safeguarding Manager in the Jesuit Safeguarding Office; email safeguarding@jesuit.ie 089 264 4400

The Provincial hopes also that through these ongoing restorative and restitutional processes, the Jesuits will have the opportunity to make their apology in person to survivors.