|Priest at Centre of Abuse Probe First Suspended 45 Years Ago
By Brendan Farrelly
November 12, 2009
AN IRISH priest being held in a US jail as Ireland seeks his extradition for the alleged rape of a 15-year-old boy was suspended three times and had other allegations of abuse levelled against him.
Fr Francis Markey (81) was arrested by US marshals at his home at Miller Court in South Bend, Indiana, on Monday in connection the alleged rape of the boy more than 40 years ago. The alleged victim made the accusations in June 2006, according to court documents.
He claimed the priest, regarded as a family friend, raped him when he was on a religious pilgrimage with his family in 1968 and after his father's funeral the following November.
He said he never told anybody about the alleged attacks until November 2005 when he told his wife and subsequently a counsellor, according to the documents. He claimed he had been reading a copy of the Ferns Report into allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Diocese of Ferns, Co Wexford, when it all came back to him.
Fr Markey was brought before US District Court in South Bend on Tuesday. The judge set the extradition hearing for next Monday to give the priest time to find a lawyer.
When asked if he had any questions, Fr Markey said: "I'm at a loss." The priest was later brought back to jail.
Bishop of Clogher Joseph Duffy yesterday released a statement about the retired priest.
It revealed that Fr Markey was ordained in Maynooth in 1952 and was curate in Magheracloone, Co Monaghan, the same year. In 1964 he was suspended and sent for treatment in St John of God's, Stillorgan, Co Dublin. He was curate in Threemilehouse, Co Monaghan, in 1965.
An accusation of abuse was brought to the attention of a local garda in 1973. He was suspended and sent for treatment again to St John of God's.
He was a curate in Inniskeen, Co Monaghan, in 1974 and the following year was suspended again and sent for treatment in Stroud in the UK, under the supervision of the Servants of the Paraclete, a religious order dedicated to treating addictions.
From 1976 to 1981 he was under supervision in a temporary mission in Clifden diocese in England. He went to the Servants of the Paraclete treatment centre in Janez Springs, New Mexico, in 1981 and three years later became an affiliate member of the order. He was then under their permanent supervision while remaining a priest of the Diocese of Clogher.
In September 1985, Bishop Duffy was advised that he had unilaterally left the Servants of the Paraclete earlier that year. Fr Markey made no more communication with the diocese until the late 1990s.
The statement said that in 2002, in response to allegations of abuse, Bishop Duffy wrote to the priest requesting him to present himself to the gardai. "He declined citing health reasons," the statement said. Gardai were advised about this.
Bishop Duffy said the priest had been arrested in connection with allegations of child sexual abuse more than 40 years ago.
"These allegations were made directly to An Garda Siochana," he said. "The abuse of a child is a despicable act and I condemn it unreservedly. My primary concern regarding abuse and allegations of abuse is the victim."
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