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Patrick Touher, "Fear of the Collar" and "The Hell of a Boy's Life at Artane (Part 2)"

THE HELL OF A BOY'S LIFE AT ARTANE: PART TWO: The Sting's hands were all over me.. my whole body burned with pain; INNOCENT PUPILS' TERROR OF EVIL BROTHER.

The Mirror (UK) 24 September 2001 by Caoimhe Young

TODAY the Irish Mirror brings you the second extract of one of the most harrowing stories of sexual and physical abuse you will ever read.

At the age of eight Patrick Touher was sent to Artane Boys School in north Dublin.

He was an orphan - his father had left the country and his mother was dead.

In his new no-holds-barred book Fear of the Collar, My Terrifying Childhood in Artane, he opens his heart about how he was attacked, raped and beaten by the Christian Brothers.

Patrick was defenceless against the men who ruled his every move.

Here he tells for the first time how he became a sex slave for the evil Brothers who were his only 'family'.I CAN still recall the sound of heavy footsteps up and down the aisle between the long row of beds after lights went out at night in dormo five.

I was always very frightened by the ever-marching feet and the quick moving light of the Brother's torch casting shadows across the high ceiling.

I will always remember that fear in the night - fear of the long black shadow of the cassock worn by the Brother on duty, the one who was nicknamed The Sting.

The Sting was tall and well built with a good head of wavy hair.

He wore a black hat, dipped a wee bit over his forehead, and he looked like a real gangster.

He was, I suppose, in his early 30s. He was quite a good looking man and spoke with a deep country accent.

The Sting was no softie, even though he looked nice. But that smile of his really fooled us all.

Behind the smile was one tough a**e-basher.

Luckily The Sting was not long with us - after a few months he was gone but certainly not forgotten.

My encounter with him happened just after the start of my second year in October or November of 1951.

I remember it because it was my introduction to playing with conkers.

Blossom, Quickfart and myself went over the wall that led down to the workshops to collect chestnuts. Our pockets were bulging with them.

But when we landed back on the parade just beside dormo five, I was suddenly overcome with fear.

So much so that I wet my short tweed pants because there in front of us stood the tall, dark figure of The Sting.

"Sorry, sir. I'm so sorry sir," I cried as I said those few words.

"Follow me you lot," The Sting said, and we followed him all the way up the wide iron stairs which led to the dormitories.

He bashed Blossom and Quickfart but when he came for me he changed his plan.

He called me over to him. I just stood there and looked him in the face.

I could see the beads of sweat rolling off his forehead and dripping down on to his long black cassock.

"I will deal with you tonight in my room at eight o'clock. You won't forget?"

"No sir, I won't forget sir. I swear sir, I won't."

Blossom headed for the toilets at dormo three and I followed.

He was crying but was still trying to laugh it off. The tears flowed.

He told me: "You know he hurt me Collie?

"He hurt my private parts, he beat me with one hand and held me with his other hand.

"He had me lie across the bed, sat beside me, started by stroking my bottom then beating me at times with his leather."

Blossom sobbed. Thoughts and feelings were now racing through my mind. I was in sheer bloody terror. I never lost track of the fact that I was to be punished at 8pm, a mere few hours away.

I had to know what happened to Quickfart too, to see what I'd be up against.

"You won't believe this lads," Quickie said.

"The Sting had his hands all over my body. Whether he did that intentionally or not I don't know but to me I reckon he's odd or whatever.

"I mean, he bloody well pulled me over his lap, his left hand on my thing. You know what I mean Collie?"

"Well, I am not sure that I do," I said.

"The blooming thing between your legs, Collie," Quickie said.

"Well he touched mine quite a bit. And you're going to be next Collie."

I had to face up to The Sting, just like all the other lads had done earlier.

I was outside his door at eight. I opened it and found myself inside, standing there in the smoke-filled room. I coughed the moment I entered.

"Close the door boy."

"Yes sir."

The room had a large bed, a dresser-cum-desk, an armchair and a double wardrobe.

The cigarette smoke by now had made my eyes watery.

"What age are you boy?"

"I am nine and a half sir."

The Sting stood in front of me and said: "Well, you'll have to learn how to keep out of trouble now, won't you boy?" I replied: "Yes sir, I will in future sir."

"I know you will boy, I will teach you the hard way. Take off that nightshirt, you will not need it for a while."

I took it off and stood there in front of him.

He just looked at me then told me to lie down on the bed, face down. I did so at once.

He sat down beside me and began beating me, then he pulled me over his lap but I remember falling off on to the floor.

My bottom was absolutely burning with pain.

As he stood over me looking at me he said softly "What's that?" pointing at my privates.

I replied: "I pass water with it sir."

I remember being asked that by The Macker. The next question was also the same.

"What else is it used for boy?"

I answered the same as I did previously to The Macker.

The Sting held my penis and said: "I will flog you naked if you don't tell the truth."

I said: "I don't know, sir, what you are talking about sir."

The Sting asked did I ever have wet dreams. I didn't have a clue what he was talking about.

I told him: "I don't wet the bed, sir, I always go to the toilet."

As I lay on the floor naked, my a**e on fire with pain, I wondered what was coming next.

"Get up you pup."

The Sting was perspiring a lot now. He told me to lie across his lap and not to fall off again.

He held my private parts and asked me "Does that hurt?".

No sir," I answered.

Then he beat me with his hand across the bottom until he got tired or fed up.

"Come before me again and I will have you flogged naked."

Then I was shocked when he began to suddenly lash me all over the body with his leather and he hurt me really badly between the legs with his hand.

At the time I knew nothing about sex and it wasn't until about two years after I left school that I finally did.

I was at least 18 or 20 by the time I realised these things.

And I was over 20 by the time I found out anything about girls.

Before he let me out of his room after flogging me, The Sting held me close in his arms for a while.

I was trying to reach for my nightshirt that lay on the bed beside us.

He began to caress me saying "Sorry for hurting and inflicting so much pain."

I was crying and I thought nothing of what The Sting was doing to me as he held me close to him.

He sat on the bed and he had me sit on his lap, his two hands on my bottom.

His words of comfort got to me as he said: "I'll protect you, I promise, I will never beat you again. I will be like a father to you."

I remembered so well at that stage how I had my arms around him, crying, glad he would not touch me again.

He kept on caressing me and feeling my body all over while repeating how sorry he was.

But I knew he was ashamed of himself for bruising and marking my body like that.

I stood up to put on my night-shirt but he hugged me and asked me to remain seated for a while to stop crying.

And I recall him asking me about my parents.

I told him my father and mother were dead. I told him I never knew my father and hardly knew my mother.

"So you are a wee orphan. Do you know anything about sex or how your body functions?"

"No sir."

I was sitting on the side of the bed, naked and with his arms firmly around me.

His voice was softer now. "Tis a pity you don't. One day you will learn these things."

"Yes sir," I agreed, but all the while I was thinking of the awful things he had done to me.

I felt his smoky breath fan my lips. His voice was low.

"You can go back to bed now. Don't sleep on your stomach."


PLAYING in the famous Artane Boys Band was my dream.

One day Blossom and I were messing around in the Long Hall.

We had been polishing it and decided to take a few good slides.

We crashed into each other and fell over laughing, but to our horror the Brother nicknamed Joey Boy then came up to us.

He told us to go into the small room and wait for him. I could hear the band playing Irish airs as Joey Boy beat Blossom. His screams were drowned out by the beat of the band.

I was next and I wondered what he was going to do to me.

His voice was extremely low.

"Come here, boy. Take down your trousers. Bend over."

He pulled me between his legs and I felt a hand on my testicles and on my anus.

Suddenly I felt a wicked pain as he forced entry.

As I cried the band was belting out The Rising of the Moon.


My terrifying childhood in Artane

Adapted by Caoimhe Young. Fear of the Collar, My Terrifying Childhood in Artane, by Patrick Touher is published by O'Brien Press. The paperback will be available in bookshops from tomorrow and costs pounds 7.99.


PATRICK tells how an innocent game of football turned into a sex abuse nightmare. Plus, the day he said goodbye to the grey gates of the Artane Boys School.


HUMILIATED: By the age of 18, Patrick had experienced the horrors of abuse at the hands of the evil perverts who masqueraded as men of God; 'HOME': The long ranks of beds in one of the dormitories at the notorious Artane School; SCARRED: Patrick Touher will never forget Artane; HARD GRAFT: Artane boys in one of the industrial workshops; ON THE MARCH: The Artane Boys Band entertain as a Brother watches