I'll Pursue Irish Sex Priest, Vows US Lawyer

By John Cooney and Ralph Riegel
Irish Independent
January 4, 2007

A Los Angeles attorney has pledged to pursue notorious Irish paedophile ex-priest Oliver O'Grady - all the way to the US Supreme Court if necessary.

John Manly made this vow after a Californian court dismissed a multi-million-dollar law suit against the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly for ordaining O'Grady almost 30 years ago.

Child-molester Oliver O'Grady: at the centre of a watershed court ruling in the US over liability of Irish diocese

The court in San Joaquin, Orange County, ruled that there was no admissible evidence that the Irish archdiocese knew that the Limerick-born O'Grady (60) had a propensity to molest children when he was ordained at St Patrick's College, Thurles.

It also exonerated the late Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Thomas Morris, of knowing that the ordination of O'Grady "would give him a position of authority that would permit him to cause harm in other locations".

But last night Mr Manly told the Irish Independent that this was merely "a jurisdictional ruling" by Judge Ronald Sabraw.

"I respect this judge but he never allowed us to conduct discovery of what the archdiocese of Cashel knew about the circumstances leading to O'Grady's ordination in Thurles."

Mr Manly claimed that in 1997, when O'Grady - who is now thought to be living in the Dublin area - was laicised under church law, the canon lawyer for the prosecution, now Cardinal William Levada, head of Rome's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, acknowledged O'Grady's "psychic infirmity" was known to Archbishop Morris. On the basis of that evidence, O'Grady's ordination was decreed invalid, and he was defrocked, Mr Manly said. "Pope Benedict called on the Irish bishops when he met them recently in Rome for the truth about clerical abuse to be disclosed. This is not so for the archdiocese of Cashel."

Mr Manly said that he would now appeal the case before the California Court of Appeals, "and to the Supreme Court if necessary. This case is far from over."

Last night in a statement, Archbishop Dermot Clifford of Cashel & Emly said: "If Oliver O'Grady's paedophile tendencies had been known by either the authorities in St Patrick's College, Thurles, or by the former Archbishop of Cashel & Emly, Dr Thomas Morris, Oliver O'Grady would not have been ordained.

"I am gratified that the court in California has found that the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly and St Patrick's College played no knowing role in these events in California and that the court has declared that the accusations that anyone in St Patrick's College, or at the Archdiocese, knew that Oliver O'Grady might do such a thing are not supported by any credible evidence."

When O'Grady completed his studies at St Patrick's College in 1971 he was ordained as a priest for the service of Stockton, California. He was never a priest in any diocese in Ireland.

According to church specialists, O'Grady has become the world's most infamous clerical paedophile. He abused 23 young people, including a nine-month-old infant.

Last year he achieved further notoriety in Ireland when he co-operated in an award-winning documentary about his paedophilia.

John Cooney and Ralph Riegel


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