Ex Christan Brother jailed for abusing siblings

Irish Times
January 12, 2001

A family today gave up their anonymity so that a Dublin-born former-Christian brother who abused them as youngsters over 20 years ago can be named.

Members of the Teer family who were abused said the prospect of 54-year-old Brendan John Halpin not being named was "absolutely disgusting".

Halpin, who has since left the Christian Brothers' order to marry an Australian school teacher and set up home in Donegal, pleaded guilty to a total of 25 charges of indecently assaulting two sisters and their brother between November 1975 and September 1981.

Halpin, who was placed on the RUC sex offenders' register for 10 years, was jailed for a total of two years on condition he serves two years probation on his release, during which he must attended sex therapy classes.

Belfast Crown Court judge Lord Justice McCollum said that Halpin had used his position and welcome into the home of the family to "gratify" his sexual impluses which made his crimes all the more serious.

Speaking on behalf of the Teer family, the brother of those abused said that while they considered the sentence "lenient", they were satisfied that at least he had been jailed.

"The sentence is lenient but what we are glad about, at the end of the day is he got a custodial sentence and that his name will be going on the sex offenders register. That's what we wanted and that's what we have got," he said.

He added that by going public the family hoped that others who may have been abused might have the courage of coming forward themselves and reporting the matter to police.

Earlier prosecuting lawyer Mr Stephen Fowler said that Halpin, originally from Dublin, but whose address was given as Dermott Hill Grove in West Belfast, had begun indecently abusing a 12-year-old girl before preying on her 11-year-old sister and then turned his attentions to their eight-year-old brother.

Mr Fowler said that Halpin contiunued with his relationship with the two sisters until they were in their early 20's and that at one stage even abused both girls while they were together.

He said the older girl told police that she felt "powerless to resist him" and felt "weak and vulnerable - trapped and unable to break free" from Halpin.

Defence QC Mr Eugene Grant, who said Halpin "accepts and acknowledges there was exploitation here and expresses his utter shame and contrition for that", handed in a letter from the former Christian Brother acknowledging the "horrific situation" in which he'd placed his victims.

He added that Halpin's career as a teacher was now in ruins and that he is "finished" but that experts feel that for the future he "does not present as a danger to the public or children".



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