Belvedere College publishes name of Jesuit priest who abused pupils in 1970s

Irish Examiner [Cork, Ireland]

March 2, 2021

By Ciarán Sunderland

Belvedere College has released the name of a priest who abused students at the school in the 1970s after a former pupil has come forward detailing the abuse. 

The Jesuit Order of Ireland said Joseph Marmion, a priest and former teacher, “abused boys sexually, emotionally and physically while he was on the teaching staff at Belvedere College in the 1970s”.

The religious order hopes other pupils who suffered abuse at the hands of Fr Marmion are able to come forward and get the support they need following the decision to make the priest’s name public. 

Joseph Marmion SJ was a teacher in Belvedere College from 1969 until 1978. He died in 2000.

Public decision

In 2019, a former student of Belvedere College contacted the Jesuits about the abuse he suffered as a pupil attending the school in Dublin City centre. The abuse took place when the man was aged 13. 

Fr Leonard Moloney SJ, provincial of the order, met with the man who said he was concerned others may have been abused and asked that the priest’s name be made public. 

In our communications, he made it clear to me that he was concerned for others who may also have suffered and that they should be proactively offered a response and support. 

“This man also conveyed to me that he believed others who were abused may be helped by the recognition that they too were dreadfully harmed. He asked that we name his abuser, Joseph Marmion SJ, publicly and that we make this information widely available in order to reach as many former students as possible,” said Fr Moloney in a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon. 

‘Words are never enough’

According to the statement, the Jesuit Order has been contacted by many others abused by Fr Marmion as young students, and fear many others were prevented from speaking out due to the secrecy imposed by the former priest. 

“They have spoken of sexual abuse and physical and emotional bullying by him,” it said. 

“We are acutely aware of the pain and distress that many have had to hold and continue to hold, years after the original experience,” said Fr Moloney. 

This pain is held by those who were direct victims of harm and abuse, by their families and also by other students who were witnesses to this abuse and felt powerless and unable to do anything about it. 

“It is a matter of profound regret to me personally and to the Society of Jesus that children were abused whilst in our care. We are truly sorry. Words are never enough,” he said. 

Sabbatical leave and transfers

The Jesuit Order placed Fr Marmion on sabbatical leave in Paris at the Jesuit Community of Saint François Xavier for the end of the academic year 1977/1978 after reports from concerned parents in 1977 of sexual abuse at the school. 

He was then transferred to the Gardiner Street Jesuit Community. In 1990, the Jesuit Order appointed Fr Marmion as chaplain to St Vincent’s Private Hospital. 

The Jesuit Order “recognise that these subsequent appointments should not have been made”. 

Fr Marmion also taught at Crescent College Limerick, and Clongowes Wood College in Kildare while a member of the Jesuit Order. 

The abuse detailed in 2019 relates to a pupil’s time at Belvedere College, but the order has said “every effort will be made to communicate this information to former students in all schools”. 

Fr Moloney paid tribute to the man who came forward in 2019 and said help was available to other former pupils. 

The Jesuit Order said all information about abuse will be shared with An Garda Síochána, Tusla and other relevant authorities.