Sex Abuse Survivor Gets Book Deal

By John Spain
Irish Independent
October 1, 2008

CHURCH sex abuse survivor Colm O'Gorman has signed an international deal with a major publisher for his memoirs.

Hodder & Stoughton in London will publish the book in the UK and Ireland in 2009 and it will also be published in the US, Australia and other countries. Details of how much the executive director of Amnesty International in Ireland will make from the deal have not been disclosed. But it is thought to be well into five figures.


Mr O'Gorman suffered horrific abuse in the early 1980s at the hands of Fr Sean Fortune, who committed suicide as he was about to face criminal charges. Mr O'Gorman went public with his story and was one of the first people to draw attention to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and the Church was covering it up.

His work changed attitudes to sexual abuse and led to significant improvements in child protection practice and law.

Yesterday he said: "When we meet injustice, we can chose to speak out, to speak the truth as we see it. And truth doesn't just make change possible, it makes it inevitable.

"If my story has a purpose, beyond the simple telling of that story, then it is to ensure that readers recognise their individual power to be a force for change in the world."

Mr O'Gorman set up the One in Four organisation to help victims of abuse and in 2003 settled a High Court action for negligence against the Diocese of Ferns for €300,000.

He had claimed the then-Bishop of Ferns knew that Fr Fortune had posed a risk to him. He also received an unreserved apology from the Church.

Mr O'Gorman said he hoped it would mark an end to "the adversarial and legalistic approach by Church authorities to victims". He also criticised the Papal Nuncio for claiming diplomatic immunity and stopping his action against the Vatican.

Breda Purdue of Hachette Ireland, the group which includes Hodder, has read the manuscript of O'Gorman's memoir and says it contains previously unrevealed details.

"It's a very strong story, shocking but inspirational as well," she said. Rowena Webb of Hodder & Stoughton in London said: "It's an extraordinary story that shows what even one man who is prepared to speak out can achieve."


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