Nuns beat children for bedwetting, put soiled sheets on their heads to humiliate them, and forced them to eat their own vomit when they were sick—according to accusations made today at a hearing into care homes in Northern Ireland, the Guardian reports. Senior Counsel Christine Smith also accused the nuns at the Sisters of Nazareth order of bathing children in disinfectant and threatening to send them to an adult mental hospital if they failed to conform. What's more, said Smith, the nuns have been slow in aiding this historic inquiry, the Belfast Telegraph reports.
For its part, the Sisters told the inquiry that individual sisters or staff members may have acted poorly after working long hours with troubled children. The hearing is part of a wider investigation into 16 state- and church-run care homes, orphanages, and other facilities in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995. Those at Nazareth House—one of two homes run by the sisters—date back to 1996, when allegations were raised with police, who later told the home "that a prosecution would not be made," Smith said.