A 76-year-old man has finally met his long-lost daughter whose mother was a former Catholic nun. Edward Hayes said that the nun repeatedly sexually abused him when he was serving as a 12-year-old altar boy and she eventually fell pregnant.
Speaking with Express, Hayes shared that he and his daughter have been in contact everyday since their first meeting. Hayes has also introduced his daughter to his sons (her half-brothers) and he has met her children - his grandchildren.
In the 1950s, Hayes lived at the John Reynolds Home, which the Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph managed. There, he said Sister Mary Conleth forced him to have sex with her and raped him until he was 14.
Officials of the Franciscan Missionaries ordered Conleth to return to her home country of Ireland when she became pregnant. The nun, however, reportedly still attempted to find Hayes before she went home for good.
Unsuccessful at her attempts to reconnect, Conleth eventually remarried, built a new life, and had four more children before her death in 2002.
Meanwhile, Hayes revealed that he tried for many years to find out what happened to his child and even sought help from the Vatican. He says the Catholic Church, however, rejected his pleas.
The dots started to connect when one of Conleth's other children discovered while investigating the family history that they had an older sister who was put up for adoption. It was, however, a bigger shock for them to learn that their mother had apparently raped a minor when Hayes' story of abuse became public in April and Conleth's children recognized their mother's name in Hayes' story when it appeared in the Express.
"They are struggling to come to terms with being told their mother was a rapist," Hayes told Express. "I don't think they believe it, that she was capable of that."
Hayes previously took action against the Franciscan Missionaries of St Joseph for what happened to him between the ages of 12 and 14, winning a lawsuit and £20,000 in compensation in 2016.
Publishing his story also made it possible for Hayes and his daughter to finally meet for the first time. She, however, refused to have her name or her face revealed in the reports in respect to her half-siblings.
"She feels guilty that, while we are very happy, they are going through an awful lot," Hayes said.
Hayes said that he has forgiven Sister Conleth and even concluded that despite what happened, Conleth may have done what she did because she was in love with him as she listed his name on their daughter's birth certificate.