Whistleblower Priest in Sex Abuse Case Was 'Crushed'

By James McNamara
One in Four [Ireland]
June 23, 2005

A priest last night told how his life was destroyed after he blew the whistle on clerical sex abuse.

Father Gerald McGinnity was sacked from his position as senior dean at St. Patrick's College in Maynooth, Co. Kildare, and frozen out of the church after reporting Monsignor Michael Ledwith for assaulting students.

He finally received an apology from Primate of all Ireland Archbishop Sean Brady this week 20 years after exposing the scandal.

Fr McGinnity said: "Because I acted honourably and in conscience to protect the young people, I lost everything."

"I was not only deprived of my reputation and respectability, I was left to languish for 20 years in the wilderness. I was crushed."

Fr McGinnity reported Ledwith to bosses after students begged him to do something about the sexpest.

But despite the allegations, Ledwith was appointed president of the seminary - by the same trustees who sacked Fr McGinnity.

The pervert priest was finally exposed to the world in 1994, when he was forced to resign and make an out of court settlement after a former pupil took legal action against him.

In 2000, the theologian was forced to pay another undisclosed figure to a former student who also claimed sexual abuse.

His alleged victims told how he told his students: "There really is no such thing as good or bad."

During another lecture, the sicko claimed: "There is no God waiting to punish you."

The church has now admitted that it should have taken action after a report on the scandal was finally released.

Archbishop Brady said: "We regret any hurt felt by those involved and that the investigation after Fr McGinnity spoke out in 1984 was not more thorough.

Fr McGinnity has now rebuilt his life in the tiny parish of Knockbridge in Co. Louth, where he has lived for last six years.

But he still feels "great sadness" about how he has been treated by his bosses.

"It's very painful," he said. "I don't think I could survive if I didn't have a deep faith and the grace of God. That was what kept me going for many of those terrible years."

"I hear the archbishops say sorry but I am waiting to see what the church will do to prove the sincerity of their apology."

He added that the exposure of the sex abuse has had a "painful yet purifying effect" on the Church in Ireland.

But Fr McGinnity believes that the sickening problem could resurface if bishops do not tighten up selection procedures for lecturers at seminaries.

"Action must be taken", he warned.