Sunday, July 30, 2023

Three more people make sex-abuse claims against jailed CBS principal Paul Hendrick

Three more victims have come forward to An Garda Síochána following the jailing of sex abuser Paul Hendrick — a former CBS secondary school principal, and director of the Christian Brothers’ property company which is accused of helping to hide the order’s assets from victims trying to sue the religious order.

Hendrick resigned as company director at Christian Brothers CLG in October 2018, months before gardaí questioned him about allegations of sexual abuse made by one former pupil.

Earlier this month, Hendrick (75) pleaded guilty to 11 counts of indecently assaulting Kenneth Grace in the early 1980s and was sentenced to three and a half years in jail.

Mr Grace waived his anonymity in order to encourage others to go public.

The Sunday Independent understands that at least three men have come forward since Hendrick’s sentencing.

Gardaí confirmed that “a small number of active investigations” were underway, but would not confirm numbers.

Hendrick was deputy principal at the Christian Brothers’ School on Westland Row in Dublin when he began abusing Ken Grace, who was then just 13 and in his first year of secondary school.

The abuser went on to become principal of the school, and was in a leadership position of the Christian Brothers’ organisation at the time it adopted a new legal strategy in dealing with damages claims from victims.

The sexual predator was a director of Christian Brothers CLG, the limited company that manages the religious order’s considerable property assets, serving as a director on the board from 2014 until 2018.

The company featured in Mr Grace’s High Court claim for damages against the religious order.

In a recent High Court hearing, Mr Grace’s legal team accused the Christian Brothers of putting assets beyond reach of the abuse victim — a claim denied by the religious group.

Mr Grace’s lawyers said that religious brothers named as defendants in the case have in recent years transferred ownership of properties they used to hold in trust for the congregation.

The properties were transferred to third parties not connected to the proceedings, and in other cases had been sold.

These included a property in Dún Laoghaire, which was owned by three Christian Brothers named as defendants in Mr Grace’s case, but was transferred to the Christian Brothers CLG last year.

The court was told these claims are being contested.

Mr Grace and other victims are being forced to sue each individual member of the Christian Brothers. The congregation is not a recognised legal entity and the leadership have declined to represent the order in civil proceedings. Mr Grace has to date issued separate proceedings against 90 individual religious brothers.

Hendrick groomed the young Kenneth Grace when he arrived in first year at his new school, asking him to help with jobs around the school, offering him sweets and cans of Coke, and later cigarettes.

He abused the boy in a furnace room of the school. He whipped him and demanded to be whipped, while dressed in a leather thong.

The abuse continued over four years in the school, the priest’s house and in residences owned by the Christian Brothers in Waterford and Tipperary.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Grace told the court that Hendrick’s actions destroyed his childhood.

Mr Grace, whose father passed away when he was very young, was afraid to tell anyone and didn’t understand what was happening.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Grace said Hendrick became the father figure he never had — but his actions turned his childhood and adult life into a battlefield. The betrayal he had experienced as a child had made it difficult for him to trust others.