'No diocesan record' of abuse claim

The Irish Times
November 13, 1997

A claim that the late Bishop of Kerry, Dr Diarmuid O Suilleabhain, failed to take action after allegations of indecent assault by a priest were reported to him had not been substantiated, according to a diocesan spokesman.

The allegations related to Father John Brosnan of Gurteen Row, Firies, Killarney, who was sentenced this week to four years' imprisonment after pleading guilty to 13 charges of indecent assault. The offences, which involved four girls and one boy, occurred between 1977 and 1985, when Brosnan was attached to a school in Causeway, Co Kerry. At Tralee Circuit Court, one of his victims expressed disappointment at the failure of the former bishop to take action after the matter had been reported to him early in 1990. Brosnan served in a number of parishes in the Kerry diocese. He was transferred from Causeway to Cahirciveen in September 1986 and then to Dingle in 1992.

Speaking on Radio Kerry, the diocesan secretary, Father Gearoid Walsh, said he was aware that when the complainant approached the gardai he mentioned reporting the matter to Bishop Suilleabhain. "We obviously had good reason to believe that what the person is saying is true - but I have to say also unfortunately the man in question is now dead and is not in a position to answer - all I can say, having done a thorough search of his records, is I can find absolutely no indication of any such conversation which may have conveyed that information. I can only go on the record."

Brosnan was removed from his priestly duties by the current Bishop of Kerry, Dr William Murphy, within three days of the matter being reported to church authorities in April of last year. In a statement following Brosnan's sentencing Bishop Murphy said that his actions were a cause of deep pain to all who have been affected. "The primary concern must be the victims and their families as the hurt and suffering caused to young people by sexual abuse are particularly deep, and the betrayal of trust by a priest is especially distressing." These events also hurt the people he served.









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