Local family of abused boy express disgust
March 23, 2001
THE family of a young Drogheda man abused by Dominican priest Andrew Allen, have said they never had any doubts that he had abused before.
Allen, a former prior in Drogheda, received a 12-month sentence in 1993 for abusing the then 10-year-old altar boy – whose family have never received an apology for his sick crime.
They spoke of their disgust on Thursday after Allen received a two-year suspended sentence for abusing two boys while on missionary duty in Trinidad and Tobago between 1981 and 1985 – before the Drogheda offences.
The father of the now 19-year-old, told the Drogheda Independent how Allen would bring presents to his son at home and invite him to masses in Drogheda’s Dominican Church – where much of the abuse took place. The family also revealed that they were offered money to drop the case against him.
It emerged in court earlier this week, when Allen appeared to face charges relating to the boys he abused while overseas, that he would invite them to play a game of holding their breath for as long as possible.
While doing that, he would fondle their genitals until they exhaled.
It was the same abuse inflicted on the Drogheda altar boy in 1991 and 1992.
The victim’s dad said on Thursday: ‘They never apologised for his abuse, despite the conviction.
‘It was almost the same as a death in the family.’
He said he would never forgive Allen, and the family is furious that they were never offered an apology from church authorities.
‘This case refreshes my memory. The only thing it doesn’t do is shock me, because I knew he had done it before,’ he said.
‘But I’m absolutely stunned in this case that, after doing jail, it wasn’t seen fit to give him a second sentence.’
The father said that when details of his son’s abuse emerged, a Dominican representative told him that ‘he (Allen) has let me down again’.
‘I never had a doubt in my mind that this man had done this before,’ he said.
Family members who had been close to the Dominican community in Drogheda, discovered Allen’s sickening secret when the victim watched ‘Sins of our Fathers’, a television documentary on clerical abuse.
His mother spoke to him about abuse, advising him to always tell her, or his father, if anyone touched him in an inappropriate way. Shortly afterwards, he broke the devastating news, exposing the disgusting double life of the ‘trusted’ local priest.
Allen often arrived at the family home with presents for his victim, on one occasion bringing a poster which he offered to put up in the bedroom. Even before his victim spoke about the abuse, the family became suspicious when he refused to attend a Mass that Allen was organising.
The victim’s father told Gardai about the abuse and demanded that Allen leave Drogheda, which he later did.
But that wasn’t the end of the humiliation, he said. He claimed that a family member was approached by a church representative who offered him cash in an attempt to stop the case against Allen going ahead. People tried to tell them in the streets that such abuse could not happen. To this day, no apology has been offered by the church to the family.
The 19-year-old now has a good job, is popular, independent and according to his family, does not allow the past abuse to impact on his life.
In the latest case, Allen escaped jail by paying £150,000 compensation to his victims.
Judge Patrick McCartan said that while Allen’s offences were at the lower end of the spectrum, his actions had caused ‘disaster and calamity in every direction’.
He had invaded his victims’ lives and broken his bond of trust with them, the judge added.