Report Details Abuses in Irish Reformatories





Tens of thousands of Irish children were sexually, physically and emotionally abused by nuns, priests and others over 60 years in a network of church-run residential schools meant to care for the poor, the vulnerable and the unwanted, according to a report released in Dublin on Wednesday.

The 2,600-page report paints a picture of institutions run more like Dickensian orphanages than 20th-century schools, characterized by privation and cruelty that could be both casual and choreographed.

“A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions,” the report says. In the boys’ schools, it says, sexual abuse was “endemic.”

The report, by a state-appointed commission, took nine years to produce and was meant to help Ireland face and move on from one of the ugliest aspects of its recent history. But it has infuriated many victims’ groups because it does not name any of the hundreds of individuals accused of abuse and thus cannot be used as a basis for prosecutions.

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