More Claims of Clerical Sex Abuse
Gardai Interview Retired Priest

By Maria Herlihy
The Corkman
April 16, 2009

A RETIRED priest, aged in his 70s, went voluntarily to Mallow Garda station last Thursday where he was interviewed by detectives for several hours regarding allegations of abuse made against him by two women.

In the past three months, two women made separate formal complains to Gardai alleging that they were sexually abused by a priest in the 1970s.

One of the women alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a priest when she was in her midteens and the other women alleged she was sexually assaulted when she was in her early 20s. Both allege that the offences occurred in the early 1970s.

Gardai who are investigating allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne are to prepare files for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

In December, the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSC) was highly critical of the way that Bishop John Magee had handled a series of complaints of sexual abuse made by five people against two priests in the Diocese.

Since then, Archbishop Dermot Clifford has taken over the day to day running of the dioceses from Bishop John Magee, though he still retains his title as bishop.

The move has received a largely positive response from alleged victims of clerical sex abuse who have met with Archbishop Clifford in recent weeks. One alleged victim said Archbishop's Clifford's attitude was "markedly different to that of his predecessor," and described him as more aware of the impact of child sex abuse.

Mallow based Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan, who also came in for criticism in the NBSC report, was replaced by Fr Bill Bermingham shortly after the report was published. A spokesperson for the Cloyne Dioceses said Monsignor O'Callaghan had stepped down from his post in February, as he was beyond the official retirement age of 75.


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