SECRET SINS OF THE FATHERS; Church Turned a Blind Eye to Perverts in Homes: Thousands Suffered at Beasts' Hands for 70 Years

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Byline: Mark McGivern

Church turned a blind eye to perverts in homes Thousands suffered at beasts' hands for 70 years

PRIESTS beat, raped and neglected children in Ireland's homes and institutions for decades, a damning report revealed yesterday.

And the Catholic Church authorities were accused of caring more about preventing scandal than protecting vulnerable kids.

But Ireland's Child Abuse Commission ruled yesterday that no one will face prosecution over the abuse over the last 70 years.

Victims were barred from the hotel where the findings were made public and protested outside.

Wounds John Kelly, coordinator of the Survivors of Child Abuse (SOCA) group, said: "I have been getting phone calls all day from former residents. They feel their wounds have been reopened for nothing.

"They were promised justice by the taoiseach in 1999 and they feel cheated."

Victim John Walsh added: "The little comfort we have is the knowledge it vindicated the victims who were raped and sexually abused."

The commis-sion'harrowing report, which has taken nine years to complete, reveals how thousands of children lived in fear and misery at the mercy of vicious sexual predators, religious and lay workers.

The report into the horrors of the orphanages and schools blasts generations of priests, nuns and Christian Brothers.

It also highlighted the Church's failure to act - as well as that of Ireland's education authorities when alerted to incidents of abuse.

Commission chair Judge Sean Ryan said in the report: "When confronted with evidence of sexual abuse, the response of the religious authorities was to transfer the offender to another location where, in many instances, he was free to abuse again.

"Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from."

The commission were forced to drop their intention of naming the people against whom the allegations were made because of legal action by the Christian Brothers, the largest provider of residential care for boys. …