December 2001

We reveal the sex attack secret of a sleazy Christian Brother, fined £250 for beating up a young pupil

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A FORMER Christian Brother who was fined just £250 on Monday for beating a boy while sitting on him is a convicted sex offender 

Pervert Paul Farrell escaped jail this week after pleading guilty to a 1982 assault on a 15-year-old in a bedroom at St Joseph’s residential home in Galway.

But when he fined Farrell on Monday, Judge Sean O Donabhain was unaware that Farrell had been found guilty of indecent assault as lawyers have lodged an appeal against the conviction and one-year jail term. 

However, on the same day he attacked Mark, 53-year-old Farrell sexually assaulted his best friend Graham. Farrell subjected Graham, then aged 17, to a horrific ordeal in his car. 

The bespectled brother twice sexually abused the terrified youngster after Graham stopped him from beating his best friend, Mark, to a “bloody pulp”. 

Yesterday, almost 22 years after the incidents, Graham, now 36 and Mark, now 34, broke their silence to speak for the first time about the day “vicious” Farrell stole their lives away. 

Farrell, from Kinvara Road, Cabra, Dublin, pleaded not guilty to two counts of indecent assault on dates between November 7, 1980 and March 31, 1982. But a jury convicted him by a majority after considering their verdict for just over three hours earlier this year. 

On July 23, Judge Patrick McCartan jailed him for one year but his lawyers have lodged an appeal in the Court of Criminal Appeal. 

Farrell remains on bail while the case is dealt with. 

Graham and Mark spent five years at the Christian Brother-run St Joseph’s residential home in Salthill, Co Galway, from 1977 to 1982. 

Graham said he was sent there as a 14-year-old from Limerick because he was a “tearaway“. 

Mark was bundled off to St Joseph’s, aged just 10, after his mother died and his father was unable to look after him. 

St Joseph’s was supposed to be a refuge for lost boys. 

Instead it robbed Mark and Graham of their innocence. 

The Christian Brothers operated two units of 16 boys in each. The boys lived there and attended local schools nearby. 

Mark and Graham told of a violently strict regime. 

Graham’s violent ordeal happened on the same day his childhood friend Mark was beaten up by Farrell. Farrell was fined pounds 250 in court on Monday for the assault. 

Graham said: “I heard a huge row going on in Mark’s bedroom. Mark was yelling at Farrell, ‘Get off me.’ 

“I ran into the room and saw Mark’s face covered in blood. Farrell was sitting on top of Mark, holding his arms and punching him hard. 

“I took a brush and roared at Farrell, ‘Get the f*** off him.’ 

“Farrell told me to get out, but I stood my ground and he eventually got off Mark. But he went mad. 

“I ran for all I was worth but he was chasing after me.” 

Graham added: “I was only a little fella and he soon caught me. He punched me so hard in the face that my head went through the chalkboard wall. 

“I lost consciousness, but before I did I could hear Mark screaming.” 

Mark, who was sent to St Joseph’s in 1977 and now lives in Coolock in Dublin, said: “Farrell never liked me. I tried to stay away from him, but he always found me. 

“He’d clobber me. He used to punch me in the stomach, so there’d be no bruises. I went to the Gardai twice after being beaten, but they just brought me back to St Joseph’s and I’d get beaten again for going to the cops. 

“I was suicidal. When I left St Joseph’s I went to Dublin for three years. I was sleeping rough, shoplifting to eat and getting in to trouble. I was always drunk or stoned. 

“Then, like Graham, I went to England. I spent 11 years there, working on the sites. I always swore I’d never come back. Then in 1996 the Gardai got in touch and I made a statement. 

“I have lived with what Farrell has done to me for over 20 years. He almost destroyed my life. And the judge gives him a pounds 250 fine. It’s a sick joke.” 

Graham, who now lives in Spain and works as a musician, described how he woke up after the beating: “I was being carried out of St Joseph’s by Farrell. He put me in his Renault 18 car and said we were going to Cork. 

“He drove to just beyond Oranmore and slowed the car down near the gates to a long driveway. 

“He stopped the car in a wooded area, climbed into the back seat and opened my trousers.” 

Farrell then carried out an indecent assault on the 15-year-old in the back of the car. 

Graham said: “I struggled to get away but then he undid his own trousers and tried to get me to do it to him.” 

The panicking youngster managed to get out of the car. 

He said: “I ran, but he was a powerful man and soon caught up with me in a field. 

“He started to beat me and punch me and I soon lost consciousness again.” 

When Graham came around he was in the back of the car again. Farrell was driving. 

Graham said: “I could see Farrell’s eyes in the rear-view mirror looking at me. He said, ‘We’re going to Cork’.” 

Farrell drove for hours with Graham to a residential school in Cork city. 

Graham said: “He told me I was staying there for the night. I was asleep on the ground floor when Farrell came in. 

“He was crying and saying, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry for what I did.’ He took his glasses off and was wiping his eyes.” 

Graham said that he reported Farrell to one of St Joseph’s care workers in connection with Mark Shaughnessy’s assault, but he didn’t dare tell him about the sex assault. 

Graham added: “The care worker made Farrell apologise to me. But Farrell was brilliant at messing with your head. 

“Soon after the sex attack I ran away. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I had been there for just under three years.” 

Graham returned to Limerick but he couldn’t settle back in his home town. 

He said: “I just had to get out of Ireland. I was only 17, but I packed up and went to London. 

“I lived on the streets for a couple of months. I resent Farrell and the Christian Brothers so much. They they ruined my life.” 

Graham now lives with his girlfriend in Spain and rarely ventures back to Ireland. 

He has asked to thank his mother, girlfriend, family and friends for their support during the last 20 years. 

Graham said: “Without their support I would never have been able to do what I’ve done. 

“We also want people to know that we have not been paid for our stories which had to be told. 

“Paul Farrell has escaped justice. He has hidden behind judges and the courts. We both want the truth to be told.” 

A week after Farrell was sentenced to a year in jail for indecently assaulting Graham Mills he was granted leave to appeal.