A major investigation into child sex abuse in St John Ambulance has been complete
The examination, headed by a former special rapporteur on child protection, Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, considered interviews from up to 100 people, including both victims and members of St John Ambulance.
The team producing the report did not implement a strict deadline for submissions in order to allow as many people as possible to come forward, with survivors getting in contact as late as last month.
The report, which will focus on the handling of sexual abuse complaints, will likely be submitted to St John Ambulance within the next few weeks. The report is also due to undergo various legal checks to ensure it may be published without barriers. Dr. Shannon has declined to make comment on the project until this final submission has been made.
Mick Finnegan was a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a senior officer of St John Ambulance. The abuse started when he joined the organisation at age 12. Multiple complaints have been filed against Mr Finnegan’s abuser, and Tusla has determined that the allegations are founded.
Mr Finnegan’s abuser started by using first aid training as an excuse to touch his victims but this soon escalated to rape when in Mr Finnegan’s case. Mr. Finnegan was only 14 at the time, and the attack lead him to leave the organisation. Mr Finnegan’s attacker is not the only former volunteer being investigated, several other investigations are underway.
Mr Finnegan is now studying to become a social worker at Trinity College and has been campaigning for justice for victims of St John Ambulance for years.
He believes survivors should be afforded the opportunity to view the report at the same time as the board of St John Ambulance.
As it was the organisation itself that commissioned the investigation, the Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman, cannot legally compel the organisation to give survivors a copy at an earlier stage. Although survivors will eventually receive a copy, Mr Finnegan was deeply disappointed in this response.
If you have been the victim of sexual assault or sexual abuse, please contact Diane Treanor either by email or freephone us on 1800 844 104 for a Free Case Evaluation. We understand that any form of abuse is extremely distressing for the victim and their family, and we deal with each case on a personal, one-to-one basis with compassion, empathy, and understanding.