Bishop Took Minimal Action over Clerical Sex Abuse Claims

Sunday Business Post

December 20, 2008

A Co Cork based Bishop took minimal action over a series of child sex abuse allegations against two of his priests, a damning report has found.

The investigation by the church’s abuse watchdog also concluded that what little action was taken by Bishop of Cloyne John Magee was inappropriately delayed and responses were inadequate and dangerous.

The allegations – branded alarming by the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) – centre on two priests within the Co Cork diocese.

In a stark conclusion, the report states: “Put simply, the responses of the Diocese could be described as ill-advised, and too little, too late.”

The first allegation, against Father A, was made by a priest in December 2004 who claimed he had been abused by another priest when he was a young boy.

Complaints were also made against a second priest, Father B, who was accused of molesting two teenage girls over a five year period, abusing a 14-year-old boy and of having a year-long sexual relationship with the boy’s mother.

“The issues that these two cases deal with are very serious,” the Church’s watchdog found.

“The potential for long lasting hurt as a result of mishandling a complaint is real.”

The inquiry found that church meetings to deal with sex abuse claims apparently focused on the needs of the accused priest while there was no documented evidence of concern about children vulnerable to ongoing risks.

It said there appeared to be no understanding or appreciation of the nature of issues being dealt with, noting that child sex abusers do not reform easily.

One Cork TD accused both the State and the Church of trying to bury the report - which was handed over to Children’s Minister Barry Andrews and the Health Service Executive in July – by releasing it on a Friday evening before Christmas.

A spokesman for the Bishop, who tonight apologised to clerical sex abuse victims, said he had no plans to resign over the report’s shocking revelations.


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