The National Board for Safeguarding Children of the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) published its review, which concluded that the church's child protection structures have improved since 2009.
There have been 870 allegations of sexual abuse against the Christian Brothers in Ireland since 1975. Those allegations concern 325 Christian Brothers, of whom, only 12 have been convicted.
Approximately 70 percent of the allegations were for incidents that took place between 1956 and 1975. Only 50 of the accused Brothers are still living members of the European Province of Christian Brothers. The rest have died (145) or left the congregation (130).
NBSCCCI reviewers said they believe it is safer for the children that the accused remain within the Province where safety plans can be put in place. Men who were accused, but not convicted and leave the Province are not monitored or supervised.
The NBSCCCI report explains that “until relatively recently, the internal Church processes within the Christian Brothers were not carried out, much to the detriment of both complainants and accused Brothers.”
Allegations of abuse increased from 92 before 1997 to 794 between 1998 and 2013. The NBSCCCI report states, “It is evident that the volume of allegations placed overwhelming pressure on the structures designed to address child protection concerns within the Province.”
The Province's policy states that a Brother should be removed from ministry once an allegation is made, although in some cases it is unclear from congregation files when the accused Brother was removed.
The Christian Brothers responded, “We want to learn from the mistakes of the past and to create a safe environment for all children and young adults. By developing robust child protection measures and inviting the National Board to independently assess these, we aim to continuously enhance child protection safeguards so that the mistakes of the past may never be repeated.
“The Congregation accepts in full the National Board’s recommendations on how to further enhance safeguarding measures for the future. Half of the Board’s recommendations have already been implemented or are nearing completion and work on the remaining elements is underway.”
The Christian Brother’s membership in Ireland is currently 267. The average member age is 74 and there are no new brothers in formation. The Brothers closed all of their industrial schools between 1954 and 1974. In 2008 they moved out of direct education provision and the network of mainstream schools took over responsibility.
The Kiltegan Fathers, also known as the St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, were also inspected and criticized by the Board. According to the NBSCCCI, 50 allegations were made against 14 members over a 38 year period. Nine of the members are still alive and a further five have left the order.