The Catholic Church in Ireland seems to have taken another severe hit over the last week. The Jesuit Order of Ireland, which is led by provincial Fr. Leonard Maloney announced a statement asking people who have, or may have been victims of predatory crimes committed by Fr Joseph Marmion (deceased, 2000) to come forward and tell their story.
The investigation by the Jesuit Order began after they received correspondence from a man who had told them about their abuser, Marion, during their time in Belvedere College in the 1970s. The victim claimed he was abused at the age of 14 at the school. Marmion was described by many as an individual who committed violent & heinous acts against young boys whilst teaching in Belvedere College SJ in Dublin, Clongowes Wood College SJ in Kildare and Crescent College SJ in Limerick.
Joe Duffy’s Liveline this week featured many individuals whom had been abused by Marmion during their time in school. According to a recent study conducted by Trinity College Dublin and Maynooth University, 1 in 5 men report being sexually harassed or assaulted in their lifetime whilst 1 in every 2 women report the same. Sexual abuse within religious institutions has been highlighted continuously since the 1990s/2000s, while it is still believed there are many who have not yet come forward.
Marmion abused boys continuously throughout his time in Belvedere College, apparently going as far as drugging his victims, resulting in the victim having very little recollection of what had transpired. These abuses apparently occurred in Marmion’s office or on the annual school trip to Austria.
Marmion was later removed by the Jesuit Order at the end of the academic year of 1977/78. A father of a boy who had been preyed upon, confronted the rector of the college, after nothing was done to remedy the issue, the headmaster was alerted and subsequent action was taken against Marmion. It is understood that staff at the college had been aware of what Marmion was doing, and had reported him on a number of occasions to no avail.
No crimes had officially been committed by Marmion during his time at Crescent or Clongowes according to claims by the victims, but he was known as a bully and an individual who ‘relished’ in corporal punishment according to former students at Crescent College SJ & Clogowes Wood College SJ. It was known to a number of people that other Jesuits cowered in fear of Marmion; who seemed to have prominent roles in the schools. Marmion may not have began his grooming in Belvedere, however, it is believed that his fetishes can be retraced to the years prior to his time at Clongowes and Crescent, and it was more so allegations of physical abuse which have emanated from his time at Belvedere rather than sexual abuse.
Marmion spent his time teaching at both Crescent and Clongowes throughout the 1960s and subsequently spent the majority of the 1970s in Belvedere before being forced to resign, where he then moved to Paris in 1978 after formal complaints had been made. When he returned from France he was moved to the Gardiner Street Jesuit Community, which is in close proximity to Belvedere. The Gardiner Street church is the local church for Belvedere College, and still has a significant Jesuit Community residing there. Marmion died in November 2000 aged 75. His crimes were not made known to the Gardaí until 2002.
Past-pupils, teachers, staff and the Jesuit community of the three schools alike are still coming to terms with the recent release of information about the severe abuse and a breach of trust within the institutions committed by Marmion.
The Jesuits are appealing to survivors and victims to come forward and seek help. The Jesuit Community has asked anyone with any information to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or to notify An Garda Síochána.
If you or anyone you know has been affected by the issues discussed in this article, below are support services to reach out to.
Pieta House: 1800 247 247
Rape Crisis Centre: 1800 77 88 88
Grow: 1890 474 474
Aoibhneas: 01 867 0701