Priest assaulted girl in Confessional Box

The Historical Abuse Inquiry has upheld an allegation from a former resident at Nazareth House that she was sexually abused at the age of four or five by a Sister at the Bishop Street home.

Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 8:08 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 9:13 am
The Nazareth House in Derry.

The Inquiry team found that the incident was not reported to the police when the victim related it to another Sister many years later.

The Inquiry also accepted testimony from another witness that she was persistently abused from the ages of eight to 12 by a priest, including during one episode in a Confessional Box and another in a Sacristy. The priest sometimes gave her a mint after abusing her.

Two witnesses gave testimony that they were sexually interfered with after being placed with families in the country during the summer months and the Inquiry found there was a systematic failure on the part of the Sisters to report the allegations to the authorities.

The Inquiry found that there was “significant violence” inflicted on children by a number of Sisters on many occasions at Nazareth House, including one girl being “struck a severe blow with a brick,” while younger girls were also assaulted by some older residents.

A total of 2,347 children were accommodated at Nazareth House from the 1892 to 1998. The Inquiry team said there was a much lower number of allegations made regarding Nazareth House when compared with Termonbacca.

The Inquiry found that the Congregation of the Sisters of Nazareth did not take adequate steps to ensure they had enough funding and sufficient and trained Sisters and lay staff for their Derry homes.

The Ministry of Home Affairs and Department of Health & Social Services have also been criticised for failed implement rigorous inspection regimes; adequate monitor care provision or help ensure sufficient and suitable staff and premises.