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Sexual abuse Jesuits 'harboured a paedophile', says former pupil of Fr Joseph Marmion

Abuse survivor believes many more victims will come forward about Fr Joseph Marmion


Belvedere College in Dublin

Belvedere College in Dublin

Belvedere College in Dublin

A former pupil of Fr Joseph Marmion has criticised the Jesuits in Ireland for "harbouring a paedophile".

'Michael', who did not want to be identified, told the Herald that Fr Marmion continued to have access to vulnerable children even though a Jesuit had been informed about his sexual abuse in 1974 or 1975.

Marmion, who died in 2000 aged 75, taught in Belvedere College, Clongowes Woods College and Crescent College, Limerick.

Allegations against the priest came to the public's attention in March of this year when he was named as an abuser by the Jesuits at the behest of one of his victims.

Though confronted by a Jesuit about the allegations of abuse in the 1970s, Marmion never acknowledged he had sexually abused children.

However, he was removed from his teaching role in Belvedere in 1978 on foot of the allegations.

"He targeted children with health issues, children who didn't have brothers in the school, kids whose families wouldn't have been wealthy, children who weren't physically strong," Michael said.

Calling on the Jesuits to establish a redress scheme, he said facilities were also needed for victims who have not been able to come forward thus far.

He believes there are many more than the 40-plus men who have made contact with the Jesuits since they issued their statement in March 2021 acknowledging that Fr Joseph Marmion had abused boys sexually, emotionally and physically while he was a teacher in Belvedere College. 

Michael also believes a report into Marmion's abuse conducted by the Jesuits this year is incomplete and contains serious gaps in relation to abuse perpetrated by the priest during school trips to Vienna in the 1970s.

"The report is light on his activities in Austria which was the peak of his offences," he said.

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"It was criminal what he got away with. It needs to be investigated.

"He brought individual boys up to his room where they were drugged and left with no memory of what took place.

"Why isn't there a concern for those boys in the report?"

The Jesuits undertook the report, 'Joseph Marmion - The Jesuit Response', in order to meet victims' requests for accountability and answers.

The 50-page document, which has been seen by the Herald, contains an apology from the current Jesuit provincial, Fr Leonard Moloney, who says the abuse inflicted by Joseph Marmion "fills me with sorrow and shame".

Fr Moloney admitted that while Joseph Marmion's actions inflicted severe trauma on individual pupils, it was "magnified by the failure of the Jesuits to recognise the danger he posed to schoolboys in our care and in later ministries or to understand and respond to your needs as his victims. We did not grasp the destructive effects of his abuse".

Former students have alleged a series of inappropriate and sexually abusive behaviour by the priest.

They have also alleged that students were given medication in Vienna after which they would wake in the priest's room with no memory of the night before.

Despite being made aware of this behaviour, it is understood that no complaint was ever made to the gardaí by the Jesuits in regard to Marmion.

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