The PSNI has reopened a historic case of alleged sex abuse after two women claimed that as children they were abused by Orangemen in Co Fermanagh and that the Orange Order “did nothing” about the case.
The PSNI has confirmed that it is reinvestigating the cases which were previously investigated with files sent to the office of the North’s director of public prosecutions. The cases were not proceeded with due to “insufficient evidence”.
Further details of the allegations were made this week in the Impartial Reporter, which is published in Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh.
These are the latest in a series of allegations of historic child sex abuse in Co Fermanagh that the newspaper has reported on since March. The PSNI has set up a special taskforce to investigate the claims with more than 50 alleged victims naming 60 alleged abusers.
The two women using the pseudonyms of Sara and Jackie alleged they were repeatedly raped and sexually abused. They said the Order did nothing when they raised their allegations with the institution.
Sara claimed she was abused by several Orangemen over many years during the 1970s, and that she also was abused by a school bus driver and a businessman. She said the abuse started from the age of eight when she attended band practice in an Orange hall, and continued for several years.
Sara said that she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1997 and that her doctors told her it was “most likely” it was as a result of the alleged sexual abuse she suffered as a child.
She said, “I remember [I] asked the doctor why I got cervical cancer and he said there were a number of reasons. One was becoming sexually active at an early age; two was having numerous sexual partners. I sat there in the Erne Hospital (in Enniskillen) thinking that I am still paying for what those bastards did to me all those years ago.”
She also told the newspaper that she had suffered from resultant alcohol dependency, that in 2008 she was diagnosed as having an addiction to diazepam and that in 1998 she attempted suicide.
Sara said that when the public prosecution service dropped her case she hit rock bottom.
Jackie alleged that she was abused in her grandparents’ home by two men, both of whom held roles in the Orange Order.
Jackie said she was prepared to give evidence against the two men in court but that both cases were dropped by the public prosecution service.
She said, “The man in the PPS told me he believed every word I said but a defending barrister would rip me to shreds. I said, ‘let me try, I want that one chance to face those two boys in court’.
“He said no. I went home and took an overdose.”
The allegations related to one Orange lodge in Co Fermanagh, the newspaper reported. There are 89 lodges in the county with a total county Orange Order membership of about 2,000.
The PSNI said that both cases are being reviewed to ensure all lines of necessary inquiry were completed at the time and to determine if any new evidence is now available.
“Detectives have maintained contact with the victims throughout and will continue to do so,” said a spokesman.
“The public should be assured that detectives in Public Protection Branch treat every allegation of child sexual abuse seriously, whether it happened recently or many years ago,” he added.
“Whilst we understand how difficult it can be for someone to report this type of abuse, victims can have confidence that their reports will be dealt with seriously, sensitively and with the utmost care and respect by specially trained detectives,” he said.
A spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said the allegations were very serious. “The Orange institution will fully co-operate with any PSNI investigation. No further public comment will be made at this point,” he said.