THE RUC and state agencies knew about sexual abuse at a Co Down boys’ home 50 years ago, an abuse inquiry heard on Thursday.
They were alerted after a 14-year-old boy was abused by a De La Salle brother at Rubane House. The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry in Banbridge heard that the order removed the perpetrator from the home before he was expelled. An investigation by the De La Salle Irish headquarters described the incident as “extremely grave” and said the brother “would never again be allowed to have contact with boys in any school”. In a letter to Rome, the brother was described as having engaged in “grave immoral actions with a number of young boys”. The 1964 letter, which sought his dispensation from the order, also said he was a “positive danger to young boys”. The inquiry also heard police headquarters in Belfast knew details of the abuse, but the brother was not prosecuted as he had moved to the republic. A Ministry of Home Affairs letter from the time concluded that “all concerned beleived these were isolated incidents”. Another departmental letter linked to the incident was marked ‘secret’ and in the north’s Public Records Office was labelled ‘closed to public’. ,’ In an opening submission on behalf of the De La Salle order, the brothers again said publicly accepted and said they deeply regretted that boys in their care were abused. “They wish to offer their sincere and unreserved apology to all those whom they failed to protect,” the statement said. “The brothers recognise the sense of betrayal that the victims have experienced and the violation of trust caused by certain brothers within the order. “They recognise that there have been failures to protect the victims.” The HIA inquiry was set up in 2013 to investigate child abuse in 13 institutions in the north over a 73-year peroid up to 1995. Around 200 former residents of Rubane House have made abuse allegations, while 55 have come forward to the inquiry to allege they were physically or sexually abused.
With many thanks to: The Irish News