Priest Abuser Wore Female Underwear

By Ralph Riegel
Irish Independent [Ireland]
December 11, 2006

An Irish paedophile cleric who celebrated Mass and abused his victims while wearing women's underwear regularly took the female lead roles in theatrical productions at his seminary college.

The revelation came in documents, lodged in a court in California last week, which aim to make an Irish archdiocese financially liable for abuse committed overseas.

The Irish Independent has learned that the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly has sought to have the case dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, but this has been vehemently opposed by the plaintiff who was abused by Fr Oliver O'Grady.

The documents lodged in the California Superior Court for San Joaquin have been described by legal experts as stunning.

They include claims that:

* Fr O'Grady, who abused the children of parishioners in their homes or while they served as altar boys, was himself abused as a child.

* His youngest victim was a nine-month-old infant.

* He was ordained at St Patrick's in Thurles despite having been already refused by another Irish seminary as unfit for the priesthood.

* St Patrick's annually canvassed US parishes and dioceses to "adopt" its graduates, including Fr O'Grady.

* Links between California and Cashel and Emly grew so great that fundraising campaigns were run between the dioceses.

The most disturbing revelations involve the sexual activities of Fr O'Grady while he was in California.

One document warned: "He developed a fetish for wearing women's clothing, and particularly women's underwear, which he sometimes wore under his priestly garb. He first obtained sexual gratification by masturbating while wearing women's underpants."

The documents revealed that Fr O'Grady regularly took female parts in theatrical presentations while he was a student at St Patrick's, prompting one reviewer to note that "he seemed at home in the part".

The Church has resisted any attempt to link abuse in one jurisdiction with church organisations in another country.

Cashel and Emly insisted that it acted properly at all times and should not be made liable for events that occurred in another jurisdiction.

The belief is that if a landmark test case established such a trans-national link, the financial consequences for the Church of fighting international compensation cases could prove astronomical.

In the United States, the Church is facing abuse lawsuits worth an estimated $2bn (€1.5bn), and the compensation already paid out in terms of Fr O'Grady's abuse alone is in excess of $23m (€17.5m).

O'Grady (60) is now believed to be based in Dublin, though after his deportation from the US he spent some time living in Thurles.

He was deported after serving a seven-year sentence in a California prison for the abuse he committed in the US.

The action is listed against a US parish and diocese, but also lists the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly as a co-defendant.

It alleges that insufficient action was taken by the Irish diocese and the seminary where O'Grady was ordained.


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