Northern Ireland

Historical Institutional Abuse: Rubane House staff deny abusing boys

HIA at Banbridge courthouse
Image caption The inquiry is taking place at Banbridge Courthouse

The first member of the De La Salle religious order to give evidence to the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry has denied abusing boys in his care.

The brother, known at the inquiry as BR10, taught at Rubane House boys home, County Down, in the 1970s and 1980s.

Several former residents accused him of physically abusing them at the home.

Earlier, the inquiry took evidence from a lay worker at Rubane, who also denied abuse and claimed the boys pulled knives on each other in the home.

'Dumping ground'

He said the incident happened after a De La Salle brother was removed amid sex abuse allegations.

The lay staff member worked at Rubane more than 30 years ago and has been accused of assaulting a number of boys, which he denies.

He told the inquiry social services used the home as a "dumping ground" for "the most difficult children".

He added: "I think maybe some of the boys could have been better placed."

The man described how glue-sniffing was "very prevalent" in the home, and said workers "very often found glue bags strewn around Rubane".

'Uproar'

Describing the moment when a De La Salle brother was removed from the home amid sex abuse allegations, he said: "The boys were going mad.

"They had pulled knives on each other and the whole place was in an uproar.

"Boys were accusing each other of touting on them to the police."

Giving evidence on Tuesday afternoon, the witness known as BR10 said he was "flabbergasted" by allegations that he physically assaulted boys at Rubane.

One former resident had claimed the brother "punched the living daylights out of me" and others also alleged he had punched and kicked them.

BR10 repeatedly denied the claims and on one occasion, he told the inquiry: "I can't understand. I'm flabbergasted by that. Flabbergasted."

It was also revealed that the police decided not to prosecute him over sex abuse allegations.

BR10 said he taught and worked with young children for more than 30 years, after leaving his post at Rubane House and had never been accused of any physical or sex abuse linked to his work.

Background

The HIA inquiry was set up in 2013 to investigate child abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period, up to 1995.

A total of 13 Northern Ireland institutions are being investigated.

The inquiry is currently examining alleged abuse at Rubane.

About 200 former residents have made allegations of abuse.

A total of 55 former residents have come forward to the inquiry to allege that they were physically or sexually abused.

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