Ex-priest in East Bay Linked to Molestations in Ireland

Mercury News
August 11 2010

[ Murphy Report regarding McCabe]

OAKLAND -- A former Catholic priest living in Alameda is facing extradition to Ireland, where he faces 10 separate cases of sexual abuse dating to the early 1970s.

Patrick McCabe, who was a priest in the North Bay and Sacramento during the 1980s after being accused of sexual abuse in Dublin, Ireland, between 1973-81, is being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

No one in the Bay Area has accused McCabe of misconduct, Alameda investigators said.

McCabe, 74, surrendered to U.S. Marshals Service last month and is being denied bail. He faces a hearing on Friday.

David Cohen, an attorney who is challenging the extradition orders from Ireland, said McCabe suffers from numerous serious health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. He is a "frail, weak old man" who is too sick to be extradited, Cohen said.

Cohen also said that the extradition order is based only on a summary of accusations against McCabe and includes no sworn or signed statements. "These allegations were made recently but relate to old charges," Cohen said. "The evidence does not amount to probable cause for extradition."

Church authorities moved the former priest to the United States after accusations against him surfaced in Ireland. He served in Guerneville, Sacramento, Eureka, Stockton and several other areas before leaving the priesthood in 1988. That same year he moved to Alameda, where Interpol finally tracked him down.

'I had pneumonia' McCabe admitted wrongdoing when Irish police questioned him at the Alameda police station in November 2007, according to local investigators.

"He said, 'I knew I had a problem,' or words to that effect, and that, 'I had pneumonia and the Catholic Church treated me for a cold,' " Alameda police Sgt. Kevin McNiff said Wednesday.

The quote attributed to McCabe was a reference to the decision by church authorities to transfer the former priest to the United States when McCabe was accused of sexual assault in Ireland, McNiff said.

"He felt the church downplayed it," McNiff said.

A 2009 review, known in Ireland as the Murphy Report, blasted church authorities for covering up reports of child sexual abuse by clerics. The church leaders tried to ensure that as few people as possible knew about "individual priests' problems" and had "little or no concern for the children," the report concluded.

McCabe is not named in the report. Cohen said a high court ordered Irish media to not link McCabe to the report because he has not yet been tried.

McNiff was also present in 2007, when McCabe -- during a three-day interview with two Irish police officers who had traveled to the Bay Area -- reportedly admitted molesting boys.

"He did not deny it," McNiff said about McCabe. "He said he was attracted to young boys and that he acted upon it."

On school property

Among the incidents McCabe confirmed for Irish police during his Bay Area interviews was one that occurred about 1975, McNiff said.

McCabe described noticing a photo of a boy while visiting the boy's family's home, thinking the youth was attractive, then traveling to the boy's school to meet him, police said.

McCabe then molested the boy inside his car while on school property, police said.

At the time of his arrest McCabe was living on Walnut Street in Alameda. After leaving the priesthood, he worked as an administrator at Waters Edge Lodge, a retirement home on Alameda's Island Drive.

In September 2007, when Interpol first requested help tracking down McCabe, McNiff and Alameda police Detective Aaron Hardy visited the retirement home.

The officers asked the former priest if he knew why they wished to talk with him.

"He said, 'Yes, I was accused of doing some really bad stuff involving children,' " McNiff said.

Contact Peter Hegerty at Contact Angela Woodall at or 510-208-6413.


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