Garda investigation into sexual abuse at HSE-run Donegal centre closes

ireland
Garda Investigation Into Sexual Abuse At Hse-Run Donegal Centre Closes Garda Investigation Into Sexual Abuse At Hse-Run Donegal Centre Closes
A Garda investigation into prolonged sexual abuse at a HSE-run disability centre in Donegal has closed.
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A Garda investigation into prolonged sexual abuse at a HSE-run disability centre in Donegal has closed.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has instructed that there should be no prosecution in relation to 108 alleged sexual assaults on at least 18 intellectually disabled adults, according to The Irish Times.

The abuse occurred between 2003 and 2016 at the Sean O’Hare unit at the Ard Gréine Court complex in Stranorlar, Co Donegal.

The unpublished report, from the National Independent Review Panel (NIRP), completed in August 2020, found “devastating” abuse had been perpetrated on mainly non-verbal adults by another resident who was given the pseudonym 'Brandon'.

The abuse occurred with the “full knowledge of staff and management”.

The incidents of abuse "included molestation, entering residents’ beds at night, exposing himself, prolonged and loud masturbation close to residents, and possibly rape".

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Brandon was discharged in 2016, he died in a nursing home last year.

The victims' families were not informed of the abuse until December 2018, by which time at least one of the victims had died.

According to the report, gardaí told the review team in February 2020 that an investigation was ongoing into “allegations of sexual abuse of patients” in the centre, and “also into the alleged withholding of information on the sexual abuse of patients by staff employed by the HSE”.

The HSE said gardaí asked for the publication of the report to be delayed until their investigations had been completed.

Gardaí told The Irish Times that an investigation file had been submitted to the DPP in August 2021 “who has directed ‘no prosecution’ in this case”.

A Garda spokesman said the case was closed unless further evidence warranted it being reopened. A HSE spokesman said the complainant in this case had 28 days to appeal the DPP decision.

Minister of State for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte, has reiterated her call for the report to be fully published.

Families of Brandon's victims have also told The Irish Times they want the report published in full.

 

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