Victims of a widespread child abuse scandal in Ireland have begun speaking out after report found that the Catholic Church had covered up tens of thousands of abuse cases. John Kelly was just 14 when, he says, he lost his faith in God. “I was taken down these stairs. I only had a nightdress on. It was pulled over my head. I was left naked. This 6-foot, 4-inch [tall] religious brother stood on my hands… and another guy had a whip that we made ourselves, with coins in it. And he would run from a distance to flog me,” Kelly remembers. “It was a very significant night for me,” he says. “I’d been raped and buggered previously by these religious brothers, and I’d been physically beaten and psychologically tortured for months — I spent two years in the place.” Kelly, now 59, spent a large chunk of his childhood living in Irish Catholic institutions, with the worst abuse taking place at Daingean, in central Ireland. After escaping to London for 30 years he has returned to Ireland to campaign on behalf of the predicted tens of thousands of victims of child abuse. A recent investigation, the Murphy Report, found the Archdiocese of Dublin and other Catholic Church authorities in Ireland guilty of covering up “widespread child sexual abuse” by priests from 1975 to 2004.
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