The body of a 13-year-old boy is to be exhumed at a cemetery in Kilkenny tomorrow as part of an investigation into alleged physical and sexual abuse at Letterfrack Reformatory School in Connemara. The boy had been sent to the school by court order at the age of nine. He died during a summer holiday at his home in Kilkenny in 1970. A post mortem examination will be carried out on his body tomorrow.
The Industrial School at Letterfrack was established in 1884 as a centre for young offenders in need of correction and training. It also catered for boys from broken homes. It was run by the Christian Brothers. Now it is at the centre of one of the biggest investigations of its kind ever undertaken in Ireland. One hundred and thirty-five former pupils of the school have now come forward to make allegations of physical and sexual abuse against the Brothers and against a number of lay staff. Some of those who claim they were abused are now living in Britain the US and Germany. The Gardaí say prosecutions are now being considered in relation to 15 people who worked at the school.
In the most disturbing development so far, they have now decided to exhume the body of the 13-year-old Kilkenny boy who spent three years at Letterfrack Industrial School between 1967 and 1970. He was nine years old when he was sent there by court order. In July of 1970 he was allowed home to Kilkenny for a summer holiday. He died a short time afterwards and was buried at St Kieran's Cemetery. The Gardaí say that the exhumation is being undertaken with the agreement of his family.
Tomorrow afternoon the Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy, will carry out a post mortem examination on the body. The boy's identity is not being revealed. The Gardaí say their investigation into the alleged events at Letterfrack are now 95% complete.