Amazing, you will not hear many, Shouting for the Victims, in this Sex Abuse Scandal, going on for years, cannot Blame the Church here, even Roisin Shorfall, would Agree? Maybe Not?

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Report into historic child sex abuse at St John Ambulance is complete

 15th August 2022

A major examination of historical child sex abuse at St John Ambulance (SJA) is completed and up to 100 people have been interviewed.

The Sunday Independent understands the principal work, led by Dr Geoffrey Shannon, former special rapporteur on child protection, is expected to be submitted to SJA within weeks.

There was no strict deadline as more victims continued to come forward, including a survivor last month.

It is understood the report, which runs to several hundred pages and includes the testimony of dozens of victims, will undergo legal checks to ensure there are no barriers to its publication. 

Dr Shannon declined to comment on the status of his investigation, saying it would be inappropriate to speak about his report ahead of its submission.

The review will focus on how complaints of sexual abuse were handled.

Dr Shannon and a small team were commissioned in March last year.

The leading child protection expert and a small team first interviewed victims before progressing to speaking to members of SJA.

Mick Finnegan (39), who first reported sexual abuse against a named perpetrator to gardaí and the organisation more than 20 years ago, said he and other survivors had concerns SJA might see the report before the men who were attacked as children.

“Survivors should be given a copy of Dr Shannon’s review at the same time the review is presented to the board of St John Ambulance,” he told the Sunday Independent.

“I was disappointed to hear the Minister for Children (Roderic O’Gorman) state in the Dáil that he had no legal power to compel St John Ambulance to provide survivors with a copy of Dr Shannon’s review, but that it was his understanding that they would eventually give survivors a copy.

“This is unacceptable and it is disrespectful of survivors.”

A source close to the investigation said Dr Shannon and his team were keen victims would have a copy at the same time as St John’s Ambulance, in the interest of fairness and accountability.

However, this was “ultimately” the call of St John Ambulance, as they commissioned the review.

The report will make recommendations. Part of its purpose is ensuring the protection of children in the future.

Mr Finnegan has called for “real accountability” from SJA.

Tusla has investigated several complaints against the suspect in Mr Finnegan’s case and determined the allegations to be founded.

An investigation by the Garda National Protective Services Bureau into another former volunteer for sexual abuse against a number of men is at an advanced stage.

Mr Finnegan, originally from Crumlin, Dublin, said his abuser was a senior officer involved with the Old Kilmainham division.

“I joined when I was 12,” he said. “The abuse began almost as soon as I joined.

“His modus operandi was to use first aid as a reason to touch and sexually assault me. It started off as touching and escalated over time.

“It escalated to a point where he beat me up when I was 14, then pinned me to a bed, face down, and raped me.

“He beat me up and raped me because I was rejecting his advances. It was vile. I had said: ‘No, I don’t want you to do this to me any more.’”

Now a Trinity student who is studying to become a social worker, Mr Finnegan quit 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 historical child sexual abuse within SJAI in response to allegations made against a former volunteer.

“Members of SJAI and its board are fully co-operating.”

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