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March 19th, 2010
11:49 AM ET

Child abuse scandal shatters Irish faith in Catholic Church

John Kelly says he was abused as a teen living at a reformatory run by a Catholic order in Ireland.

John Kelly says he was abused as a teen living at a reformatory run by a Catholic order in Ireland.

Richard Allen Greene
CNN

John Kelly was 14 years old 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.

Kelly, now 59, spent much of his childhood living in institutions run by Catholic orders in Ireland. The abuse he remembers most vividly took place at a reformatory in Daingean, in central Ireland.

"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."

But Kelly reached a breaking point as one Catholic brother held him down, another whipped him and two others looked on, he says.

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