King’s Hospital board to discuss alleged sex assault of pupil

Church of Ireland governors express ‘sincere concern’ for 13-year-old boy and his family

The headmaster’s house, Brooklawn House, at the King’s Hospital in Palmerstown, Dublin.

The headmaster’s house, Brooklawn House, at the King’s Hospital in Palmerstown, Dublin.

 

Plans are being made for an emergency meeting of the board of management of King’s Hospital school in west Dublin, following reports that a 13-year-old boarder was sexually assaulted with a hockey stick in a dormitory .

The alleged incident last Thursday is being investigated by the Garda and Tusla , the child and family agency. The boy’s eight alleged attackers have been suspended from the school.

When contacted by The Irish Times on Thursday, Hazel Boles, a member of the board of management and of the school parents’ association, said there were plans for the board to meet. Details had yet to be worked out.

Contact details for members of the school parents’ association were removed from the King’s Hospital website on Thursday afternoon.

Among the school’s 24-member board of governors are the Church of Ireland’s two archbishops, the church’s primate Archbishop Richard Clarke and the Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson. Bishop of Meath and Kildare Pat Storey is also a governor at the school. They have expressed “sincere concern” over alleged assaults at the school.

In a joint statement on Thursday they said that “following news of an alleged sexual assault at the King’s Hospital School in Friday’s Irish Times, we express our sincere concern and offer our thoughts and prayers for the child and family at the centre of this incident”.

Just outcome

Under child protection guidelines the Church of Ireland would not be a reporting body for any such alleged incidents, even where a school is Church of Ireland governed, as is the case with King’s Hospital.

Dr Ken Fennelly, secretary to the Church of Ireland Board of Education, said he had not been told of the alleged assault at King’s Hospital until contacted on Tuesday by The Irish Times, by which time Tusla and An Garda Síochána had begun investigations.

Responding on Facebook to on Thursday’s Irish Times report, Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork Paul Colton described the allegations as “shocking on several levels. Horrific”.

Founded in 1669, King’s Hospital is one of the oldest schools in Ireland, with approximately 700 pupils, two-thirds of whom are boarders. One-fifth are from abroad. It is a co-educational, five- and seven-day boarding and day school, with annual fees ranging from €14,275 for five-day boarding to €15,580 for seven-day boarding. For day pupils, annual fees are €6,895. There is a 33 per cent discount for children of Church of Ireland clergy.