Ex-archbishop denies he sexually exploited ‘vulnerable’ child

Irish Times

Mary Carolan

Mon, Jun 29, 2015

A former Catholic archbishop has denied a suggestion by lawyers for RTÉ the reason a woman was “deeply troubled” was because he had sexually exploited her when she was “a vulnerable child”.

Co Tipperary-born Richard Burke (66) said he had not had any sexual encounter with Dolores Atwood until 1989 when she was aged 20 and he 40.

When they first had sex, she was very sexually experienced and his interaction with her could not have warped her later relationships, he said. When she was aged in her thirties, she told him uninvited and in detail about her sexual experience, he added.

He agreed he had other sexual encounters while he was a cleric, including with a married Nigerian mother of eight. He also said he had “embraced” and “improperly touched”, but had not had sex with, a sister of Ms Atwood.

Mr Burke, a memer of the Kiltegan Fathers who served as a priest, and later as Bishop and Archbishop in Nigeria after being ordained in 1975, remains under continuing cross-examination in his action against RTÉ.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.