St John of God order subject to 130 allegations of child sex abuse
Coleman Legal LLP
Nov 28, 2022

In the last 50 years, there have been 131 complaints of child sexual abuse against members of the St John of God congregation in Ireland.

St John of God abuse in Ireland

34 of these allegations were made since 2015 when the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland reviewed the order.

Despite these shocking figures, the Irish courts are yet to convict a single member of St John of God of child sex abuse.

Additionally, the organisation has failed to make a single legal settlement with survivors.

However, there are currently 12 civil cases for abuse in progress against the order.

Other Irish orders have collectively paid over €20 million in compensation to abuse victims.

The Dominican order, the subject of 97 allegations, 29 of which occurred at the order’s Newbridge College in Kildare, has paid €1,839,000 in settlements with victims, as well as over €500,000 towards survivors’ legal fees.

124 claims of child sexual abuse have been made against the Franciscans, 36 of which relate to one single friar who was based in Franciscan College in Gormanston.

Settlement payments of €3,857,000 have been made by the order; however, only three friars have been convicted of sexual offences.

Saint John of God operated special schools across Ireland for pupils as young as 5.

Over 100 of the allegations against the order occurred at these schools.

41 different members of the congregation are subject to sexual abuse allegations, the majority of whom are now deceased.A number of the claims relate to incidents that occurred abroad, in Africa or the UK.

Allegations of sexual abuse have been made against factions of St John of God all over the world. In Australia, the order operated residential institutions for children with disabilities.

An investigation into the organisation revealed that over 40 percent of brothers in Australia between 1950 and 2010 were accused of sexual abuse.

This was a significantly higher figure than other orders in the country. Brother Donatus Forkan, the Irish order’s provincial, has expressed regret over the “hurt” caused by these incidents.

The order also contributed a million euros to the redress scheme put in place following the Ryan report in 2009.

This report revealed endemic abuse throughout the residential institutions operated by religious groups in Ireland.

In 2019, the Saint John of God Hospitaller Services Group assumed control of all services run by the order.

This group still funds five schools in Dublin, alongside various education, health and social care services in the UK and Ireland.

Coleman Legal_Dave Coleman

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