Joseph Marmion, a former teacher and priest in the Jesuit Order, has been the subject of 93 complaints alleging emotional, physical and sexual abuse of young boys in his care. Forty-five of these allegations were sexual in nature. This was revealed in a report recently released by the Society of Jesus, which shed further light on Marmion’s crimes following his identification as a child abuser two years ago. The Society of Jesus launched a restorative justice program in March 2021, attempting to open a dialogue between the Order and abuse victims.
Marmion taught primarily at Belvedere College, but also spent time at Clongowes Wood College, Kildare, and Crescent College, Limerick. Among the 93 complaints, 14 are associated with Crescent College, 14 with Clongowes, and 65 with Belvedere. Between 1940 and 1991, a further 34 cases of abuse involving 19 other Jesuit priests allegedly took place at these schools.
The report states that the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus typically refrains from disclosing the identities of Jesuits facing complaints. However, a former Rector of Belvedere, Fr. Paul Andrews, was also named in the report. Andrews was the subject of a sexual abuse complaint in 1991. The alleged abuse occurred in 1985 outside a school setting. It took two further complaints in 1994 for the Society to finally report it to the gardaí in 1995. However, in 1997, the Director of Public Prosecutions directed no prosecution.
Shockingly, Andrews resumed ministry without restrictions following the DPP’s decision and continued to work with minors until 2002, when a Child Protection Committee urged against it. The report concedes that allowing Andrews to continue working in this capacity was a “serious error of judgement.” Andrews, the first Jesuit aware of a complaint against Marmion in 1977, reportedly kept this information secret to protect the Society’s reputation. Two other priests were also aware of the complaint.
Additionally, the report reveals that another deceased Jesuit, Fr Dermot Casey SJ, Andrews’ predecessor as Director at St Declan’s Special School, faced 17 complaints of child sexual abuse from the 1950s to 1977.
The Jesuits have welcomed the publication of the report, commending the Past Pupils Steering Committee for their work. Jesuit Provincial Shane Daly apologized for the Order’s failures, admitting the report reveals a “shocking level of abuse”. He also encouraged any further victims to come forward. The report has been praised for its
transparency by advocacy groups like One in Four, who also acknowledged the Order’s efforts to provide support and compensation for survivors.