Multiple complaints made to the Order of Malta before sexual abuser was removed from the organisation

May 21, 2022 | Sexual Abuse Law

It has emerged that two separate complaints were made to the Order of Malta regarding alleged sexual assault by volunteer Scott Browne before he went on to abuse two 15-year-olds in 2018.

Scott Browne Sexual Abuse Order of Malta

Scott Browne, who was 27 when the abuse occurred, was jailed for nine and a half years in 2020 for his assaults on the young boys.

He used the pain-relief drug propofol to render his victims unconscious in order to carry out the attack. This anaesthetic had been stolen from the Order of Malta. Another volunteer, Jordan Murphy, received a 5-and-a-half-year sentence for aiding and abetting Browne.

The Irish Times reported that internal correspondence revealed a complaint had been made just six months prior to his assault on the two 15-year-olds.

This complaint alleged that Browne had sexually assaulted an unconscious 18-year-old volunteer in late 2017 also using medication intended for first aid.

This assault is one of several incidents involving Browne which are being investigated by the Gardai. In 2015, an 18-year-old volunteer complained that Browne had orally raped him on a trip to Lourdes.

The complainant was subsequently told there had been an internal investigation but no action would be taken. Scott Browne is not the only one who allegedly abused his position of power in this way, another female adult volunteer has been accused of pursuing a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old within the organisation.

Discussing the 2017 assault in internal emails, John Wright, the national director of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps, recognised it was a serious allegation and recommended it be reported to the Gardai.

Mary McGinty, the child protection officer for the Order of Malta at the time, agreed, stating it had to be reported under child protection laws.

Assistant regional director Mark Lennon subsequently wrote an email stating that the members did not want to progress the complaint.

A number of senior officers were aware of the accusations and had also been informed by the volunteer who reported the disclosures that some teenagers were terrified to lodge formal complaints.

Scott Browne remained in the organisation until a Garda investigation was opened into the 2018 assaults, despite the 2015 and 2017 complaints.

An internal investigation, expected to examine how previous complaints had been handled, has been launched within the organisation.

It will be carried out by retired assistant Garda commissioner Fintan Fanning, chief executive John Byrne, and his predecessor Peader Ward. The organisation has refused to comment due to the ongoing investigation.

Clodagh Magennis

Clodagh Magennis

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