A comprehensive investigation into historic child abuse at St. John Ambulance (SJA) has been completed and up to 100 people have been interviewed.
he Sunday independent assumes that the main work under the direction of Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, former Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, to be presented to SJA within weeks.
There was no strict deadline as more victims came forward, including a survivor last month.
The report, which runs to several hundred pages and contains the testimonies of dozens of victims, is understood to be subject to legal scrutiny to ensure there are no obstacles to its release.
dr Shannon declined to comment on the status of his investigation, saying it was inappropriate to discuss his report before it was submitted.
The review will focus on how sexual abuse complaints have been handled.
dr Shannon and a small team were commissioned in March of last year.
The leading child protection expert and a small team first interviewed victims before speaking to members of SJA.
Mick Finnegan, 39, who first reported sexual abuse against a named perpetrator to Gardaí and the organization more than 20 years ago, said he and other survivors were concerned SJA might see the report before the men who assaulted them as children became.
“Survivors should have a copy of Dr. Shannon’s report will be delivered at the same time that the report is presented to the St. John Ambulance Board of Directors,” he said Sunday independent.
“I was disappointed to hear the Secretary for Children (Roderic O’Gorman) say in the Dáil that he had no legal authority to compel the St John Ambulance to give survivors a copy of Dr would ultimately give survivors a copy give.
“This is unacceptable and disrespectful to survivors.”
A source close to the investigation said Dr. Shannon and his team said they were enthusiastic victims who, in the interests of fairness and accountability, would have a copy at the same time as St. John’s Ambulance.
However, that was “ultimately” the call from St. John Ambulance when they commissioned the review.
The report contains recommendations. Part of its purpose is to ensure the protection of children in the future.
Mr Finnegan has called for “real accountability” from the SJA.
Tusla has investigated several complaints against the suspect in Mr Finnegan’s case and has found the allegations to be well founded.
An investigation by the Garda National Protective Services Bureau into another former volunteer for sexually abusing a number of men is at an advanced stage.
Mr Finnegan, originally from Crumlin, Dublin, said his abuser was a senior officer involved with Old Kilmainham Division.
“I joined when I was 12,” he says. “The abuse started almost as soon as I joined.
“His modus operandi was to use first aid as a reason to touch me and sexually assault me. It started out moving and escalated over time.
“It escalated to a point where he beat me up when I was 14, then pushed me face down against a bed and raped me.
“He beat me and raped me because I refused his advances. It was mean. I was like, ‘No, I don’t want you to do this to me anymore.’”
Mr. Finnegan is now a Trinity student studying to be a social worker. He left the SJA to escape his attacker.
St John Ambulance said: “The Board of St John Ambulance Ireland (SJAI) has commissioned an independent review to assess the handling of past child sexual abuse within SJAI in response to allegations against a former volunteer .
“Members of SJAI and its board work together fully.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/report-into-historic-child-sex-abuse-at-st-john-ambulance-is-complete-41910224.html The St. John Ambulance’s historic child abuse report is complete