Sex Abuse Claims against 150 Priests

By Conor Pope
Irish Times
November 8, 2008

SUSPICIONS OR allegations of clerical child sexual abuse have been raised about over 150 priests who have served in the Dublin archdiocese since the 1940s, according to updated figures released by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin yesterday.

The legal and settlement costs associated with 120 claims already brought before the courts in connection with 35 priests who held appointments in the archdiocese is running at over €12.4 million - an increase of nearly €5 million since the last statistics were published in May 2007.

Updating the figures, which cover the archdiocese since 1940, Archbishop Martin disclosed that allegations had been made against 77 priests who worked directly for the archdiocese over the 68-year period. Three fresh allegations have been made since May 2007. Suspicions had been raised concerning another nine priests.

Allegations had also been made against 54 religious priests (members of religious congregations), or priests from other dioceses who held appointments in Dublin - up from 48 in 2007. Further allegations were made against nine religious priests, or priests from other dioceses, who did supply work in Dublin.

Since 1940 more than 1,350 diocesan priests and approximately 1,450 priests from religious congregations have served in Dublin.

Some eight priests who served in the archdiocese have been convicted in the courts, while three more are before the courts.

According to the latest figures, 400 people have so far been identified as probable victims of clerical child sexual abuse and, according to the archdiocese, it "is most likely that this is not a final figure".

To date, 120 civil actions have been brought against 35 priests who served in Dublin, with 94 cases concluded and 26 ongoing.

Settlements have cost the archdiocese €12.4 million (including €3.3 million in legal costs for both sides) so far. It has spent about €6 million on child protection services since 2003. In releasing the figures yesterday, Archbishop Martin reiterated his appeal "made many, many times before" for anyone with any information regarding child sex abuse by priests to contact the authorities.


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