A 51-year-old former Sister of Mercy, has been found guilty of raping a 10-year-old girl. Nora Wall, originally from the Nire Valley, had been the victim's guardian while the child was in care at Saint Michael's Centre in Cappoquin in County Waterford. Nora Wall's co-accused, Paul McCabe, a homeless man, was also found guilty of rape. Both have been remanded on bail, for sentencing in July.
The victim was placed in care in Saint Michael's when she was 6 years of age. When she was ten, she was raped by Paul McCabe, a homeless man who visited Nora Wall at Saint Michael’s. The victim told the jury that the nun held her legs while the man raped her. Both Paul McCabe and Nora Wall denied the charges. The pair were acquitted of a second count of raping the same child in 1990. The jury had heard conflicting evidence surrounding the dates of the alleged offence.
Nora Wall’s expertise was in childcare, she became the manager of Saint Michael's Centre in Cappoquin shortly after it was built in the 1970s. This centre heralded a new approach to childcare, moving away from the dark days of the industrial school era. Known as Sister Dominic, Nora Wall ran the group homes from 1978 until 1990. She left the Mercy order in 1994 and there was no member of the Order in court to give evidence on her behalf. She has since worked in hostels in Dublin and in a Romanian orphanage.
Fifty-year-old Paul McCabe, also known as Pablo, is a diagnosed schizophrenic. In court he was described by his own legal team as “a vagabond and hobo”. He spent his early years in the care of the Sisters of Mercy at the now closed industrial school in Cappoquin. It seems he originally met Nora Wall when he was trying to trace his mother. He said in evidence that he was a regular visitor to Saint Michael's during the 1980s.
In a strongly worded statement this morning the Sisters of Mercy Order said its members were all devastated by these revolting crimes. They said the victim's courage in coming forward was heroic, and they called on anyone who was abused, while in their care, to contact the Gardaí. They refused further comment, however, because the case has not yet concluded. Nora Wall and Paul McCabe have been remanded on bail and will be sentenced by Mr Justice Paul Carney in July.