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‘I was tortured by Church authorities’


An Irish national now suffering from permanent disability in the back after allegedly being tortured by Catholic priests in Ireland, wants to bring his case in the European Court anew “where justice is fair.”

Tom Toyle, 75, now living in Calumpang, Molo, Iloilo City with his wife, Sally, of Batad, Iloilo, and three-year old daughter, Mary Jane, is asking for more damages from his tormentors in Artane, Dublin.

Limping and walking with a cane, Toyle admitted he had been awarded by the European Court with 60,000 Euros or about P2.5 million when he sued his former institution in Artane where the alleged torture happened when he was 10 to 11 years old.

He said the money “was not enough” for a life-long damage to his body. Toyle claimed he suffered fractured bones in the vertebrate “and this will be a lifetime injury that no amount of money can compensate.”


“My life was never the same again. They hit my back with hockey stick (as a form of punishment),” Toyle, who is now on his third marriage, revealed. “I collapsed several times.”

He described the atmosphere in the Jesuit-controlled learning institution in Artane as “hellish” saying he suffered from “sadistic mentors” for five years.
“They required us to attend the church rituals twice a day — one in the morning and one in the afternoon. If we failed, we get whacked by hockey stick and other blunt objects in the different parts of the body. They were ruthless and abusive,” Toyle sobbed, referring to their priest administrators.

Every now and then, his back pain has been recurring and is excruciating, he said. Toyle had been in and out of the hospital and his retirement benefits have been eaten up by his medical bills, he said.

He decided to seek justice in the European Court “because there is no justice in Ireland; the government is involved.”


He estimated that there are about 14,000 other alleged victims of abuses by Catholic authorities in Dublin alone. Most of the cases, he said, are sexual abuse and maltreatment.

Toyle said his tormentors had committed sexual abuse on him when they removed his dress and whipped him. “Their act of removing my dress already constitutes sexual abuse,” he stressed. “That’s the law in Ireland.”

Toyle worked as chef and dietician at St. Vincent Hospital in Sydney, Australia for 15 years. He also had a brief stint as civilian personnel during the Vietnam War.

He said he disliked his father, Thomas, who had served in the British and Irish army. Toyle grew up with his three brothers when their mother died at 31 in 1946.

“I don’t like him (Thomas). He didn’t do anything (to protect and give me justice) because he drank booze with the priests,” Toyle bewailed.


Toyle’s first marriage with an English woman collapsed “because she was a heavy drinker.” His second wife, a Filipina he met during a visit in Manila, “took all my money and mismanaged our supermarket business.”

Sally was “referred” to Tolye by a friend in Manila. They have been married for eight years and have put up a printing business. “Even though I am not educated, I’m a businessman,” he quipped.

Because of his bad memories in Artane, Toyle said his views about faith and religion have changed.

“I believe in God, but I don’t believe in the Roman Catholic Church because they don’t teach you religion,” Toyle boomed, “but I don’t stop my wife (a devout Catholic) and kid from going to church.”

Authorities in Artane could not be reached for comment.

By Alex P. Vidal

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