ALLEGATIONS of a serious sex assault on a teenager at one of the oldest schools in Ireland, the Hospital and Free School of King Charles II, otherwise known as the King’s Hospital, are being investigated by the Gardaí and TUSLA, the state’s child protection agency.
The school at Palmerstown, in south Dublin, was founded in 1669. It is under Church of Ireland patronage, and the board of governors includes the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, and also the Bishop of Meath & Kildare. It is co-educational, and has 700 pupils, two-thirds of whom are boarders.
The alleged assault took place a fortnight ago. The victim, aged 13, was threatened with a worse assault if he refused to fight another boy. The subsequent fight is said to have been filmed on mobile phones by some of the estimated 15 onlookers.
Eight students have been suspended, but the victim remains at the school with the agreement of his parents.
The school authorities are accused of delaying reporting the incident to the authorities for four days, which would contravene Irish child protection legislation and the Safeguarding Trust, which is the Church of Ireland regulatory system to prevent child abuse.
Gardaí investigating the alleged assault were this week interviewing those believed to have participated in the incident, and are examining the content of mobile phones seized afterwards.
The Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross, Dr Paul Colton, described the allegations as “shocking on several levels — horrific”. On Saturday, the board of governors met “for a full review of this very serious issue”.
In a statement issued afterwards, the board said: “The care and well-being of all students and the wider school community is of paramount importance to the board.
“The governors are committed to the due process, and fully support the external investigations currently under way. In our role as governors we will continue to actively monitor the situation, and work closely with school management, to ensure the safety and well-being of the children involved, and all of the students in the school.”