Franciscan Brother's victim to get six-figure sum from state
By Paul Melia
July 26, 2004
The State has agreed to pay a six-figure settlement to a man who suffered serious sexual abuse at the hands of a Franciscan brother despite fighting liability and attempting to block the compensation for six years. Livinius Devine (41) will be paid the compensation for being abuse by brother John Hannon, who is now in jail for his crimes. The offer of settlement came after it emerged that Department of Education officials knew Brother Hannon had been transferred to Mr. Devine’s school in Clara, Co Offaly, following a scandal at Corofin in Co Galway where the brother had been accused of sexually abusing three young girls.
This evidence was produced two years after the courts ordered discovery of all documents relating to Brother Hannon’s employment in Corofin and Clara. The offer of compensation was made on the morning of Mr. Divine’s case the day after the department presented documents outlining Hannon’s employment history. These documents include correspondence between a department official and the school’s inspector showing close involvement in crisis management talks in Corofin. They also showed that Mr. Devine’s abuse came about following a cover up known about by department officials and senior members of the clergy.
In October 1973, Hannon was transferred to Offaly after a going-away party was hosted for him by locals in Corofin. A note written the following month from the Department to the school’s inspector in Galway noted “It is difficult to gauge how much truth was in those ladies complaints”. Mr. Devine was abused from 1973 to 1977. his statement to gardai in 1996 ultimately brought about Hannon’s imprisonment about two years later, and Mr. Devine took a compensation case the same year. Mr. Devine told a Sunday newspaper he felt that he and other follow victims subjected to “brutal” treatment by the State and that he now wanted answers. Both the state and the Franciscan brothers attempted to block the case using the Statute of Limitations. The settlement was agreed 50:50 between both parties, and without admission of liability. Meanwhile, Mr. Devine also described how his abuse had cast a “long shadow” over his life and that he had told nobody for 20 years of the abuse he suffered at the hands of Brother Hannon.