Catholic Church under Pressure to Stop Sale of Paedophile's Book

By Henry McDonald
The Guardian
January 8, 2008,,2236880,00.html

The Catholic church in Northern Ireland is facing demands that it withdraw a book it has been selling which was secretly written by a convicted paedophile.

Where Donard Guards was written under a pseudonym by Father Daniel Curran, who has three convictions for sex offences against young boys. The priest tried to hide his identity by using the nom de plume "Nicholas Russell".

The book - one of the biggest local sellers in Northern Ireland over Christmas - was advertised in the bulletin at Maghera parish, County Down, as "a quality history of Newcastle ... written by a parishioner" and available for sale in the parish shop. Curran lives in Newcastle, a seaside resort at the foot of the Mourne mountains.

The parish priest, Father Albert McNally, said: "I have nothing to say about it. It was presented to me as a book by Nicholas Russell. It is a book about local history."

The revelations have angered some parishioners who say they had a right to know Curran was the author. Belfast's Rape Crisis centre said the book should not be sold in any outlet, including church-run shops or websites.

Eileen Calder, the centre's director, said: "We would be asking the Catholic church to refuse to sell it. Instead the time has come to decide that if someone is convicted of those type of offences they shouldn't even be a priest."

Curran has admitted he was the book's publisher but insisted it was written by Nicholas Russell. However he could not give any contact details for Nicholas Russell. His agent, Eamon McMullan, said he would "prefer not to comment" on why a decision was taken to allow Curran to write the book under a pseudonym.

He received a seven-year jail sentence in 1995 after admitting a litany of sex offences on nine young boys. He was given an 18-month suspended sentence in 2005 for indecently assaulting a 10th boy in the 1980s. And in 2006 he received a 14-month sentence after pleading guilty to five counts of indecent assault on a boy between 1977 and 1982.


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