A major Irish order of Roman Catholic nuns is offering to pay nearly 128 million euros, or about $200 million, to compensate for decades of abuse in its schools and orphanages.
The offer, made Thursday, is the largest from 18 orders of Catholic priests, brothers and nuns who ran schools, workhouses and orphanages for generations of Ireland's poorest children until the 1990s. The proposed compensation would go to victims of child abuse, the government and charities.
The offer follows the release in May of a report based on a nine-year investigation that found priests and nuns terrorized thousands of children in workhouse-style schools for decades — and government inspectors failed to stop the abuse.
The 2,600-page final report of Ireland's Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was based on testimony from thousands of former students, as well as retired officials from more than 250 church-run institutions.
The report found that molestation and rape were "endemic" in boys facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order.
Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but experienced frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless.
"In some schools a high level of ritualized beating was routine.… Girls were struck with implements designed to maximize pain and were struck on all parts of the body," the report said. "Personal and family denigration was widespread."
The government responded to the report by demanding that the orders pay more to help cover compensation payments totalling more than $1.6 billion made to more than 14,000 abuse claimants.