Gabriel Byrne's 'Treatment' Tale
Did Childhood Sex Abuse Play Part in Role?

By Linda Stasi
New York Post
July 2, 2008

GABRIEL Byrne, the intense star who plays the intense therapist on HBO's critically acclaimed "In Treatment," admitted last week during an interview on Irish radio that he came to the role of empathetic psychoanalyst Paul Weston legitimately.

Or more accurately, illegitimately.

Gabriel Byrne stars as Dr. Paul Weston on HBO's "In Treatment."

Byrne told radio RTE that he had been sexually assaulted when he was 11 years old by a priest as he "was being told the facts of life."

And it wasn't the first time he suffered physical abuse at the hands of the clergy, either.

In fact, he had been abused from the age of 8 to 12 by the Christian Brothers, he told The Times of London back in 1999.

"We were severely abused," he said. "Things like being lifted off the ground by the hair of your head and being beaten with chair legs. One guy was held out of the window by his leg," by the Christian Brothers who ran the school.

Fifty-eight-year old Byrne also revealed that the Brothers were not averse to pedophilia either and preyed on the boys there so frequently that it was an open secret.

"Everybody knew who the people involved were, and it was accepted because a child doesn't have the critical apparatus to examine a situation like that."

Dr. Weston, the character he plays on the HBO series, couldn't have said it better.

"I'm not carping about it, and I'm not being sorry for myself," he told the paper. "To be honest, not a great deal of damage was done to me physically. The damage was emotional, and that took me a long time to shake off."

Despite his feelings then, a few years later, in a move that could have come straight out of "In Treatment," Byrne sought to really shake it off once and for all by locating the priest's whereabouts on the Internet and confronting him.

The old priest was living out his retirement years in a home in Europe when Byrne phoned him up.

Byrne asked him if he remembered, "a kid from Dublin who was really good at Latin."

When Byrne told him his name, the pedophile priest said, "The only person I know of that name is a film star."

"Well that's me," he said. The priest replied with stunned silence.

It was left at that - the priest knowing he'd been found - Byrne finally having a kind of closure. And so chose not to pursue criminal charges.

Dr. Weston would have approved.


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