Cloyne Report Highly Critical of Bishop Magee

RTE News
July 14, 2011

The Cloyne inquiry was ordered by the Government in 2009

John Magee - Criticised in the report for his handling of allegations

Cloyne - Report details findings on 19 priests who faced abuse allegations over a 13-year period

Report says the 'diocese put far too much emphasis on the concerns of the alleged offenders'

The Cloyne Report has found that former Bishop John Magee falsely told the Government and the HSE that the Catholic Diocese was reporting all allegations of clerical child sexual abuse to the civil authorities.

It also found the Bishop deliberately misled another inquiry and his own advisors by creating two different accounts of a meeting with a priest-suspect, one for the Vatican and the other for diocesan files.

Bishop Magee, whose resignation was accepted by the Vatican last March, is criticised for his handling of allegations.

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The inquiry was ordered by the Government in 2009, following revelations that child protection practices in the diocese were inadequate and in some respects dangerous.

The commission's report was initially submitted to Government last December, but legal complexities meant it was not approved for publication by Cabinet until 13 July.

Running to 400 pages and detailing findings on 19 priests who faced abuse allegations over a 13-year period, the report deals with how the Cloyne Diocese handled abuse allegations as recently as 2009.

Judge Yvonne Murphy and two fellow commissioners were not tasked with establishing whether child sexual abuse took place or whether there was a basis for suspicions or concerns.

The report refers to the priests using pseudonyms, among them Fr Baird, Fr Caden, Fr Calder, Fr Corin, Fr Drust, Fr Flan, Fr Kael, Fr Moray, Fr Ronat and Fr Tarin.

It also looked at a complaint against Bishop John Magee himself.

Main findings from the Commission of Investigation

Bishop John Magee misled a previous inquiry and gave a false account of how he was handling allegations

Between 1996 and 2005, the diocese failed to report nine out of 15 complaints made against priests, which 'very clearly should have been reported'

'The most serious lapse was the failure to report the two cases in which the alleged victims were minors at the time the complaint was made'

While the dioceses ostensibly supported child protection procedures, it was 'never genuinely committed to their implementation'

The 'diocese put far too much emphasis on the concerns of the alleged offenders'

The report says Bishop John Magee must take primary responsibility for the failure to implement the procedures

The Catholic Diocese of Cloyne was ignoring the church's own guidelines on child protection as recently at 2009

In most cases gardaí were not informed of child abuse allegations against clergy

Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan 'stymied' the implementation in Cloyne of child protection policy, and told the Commission he was 'very disappointed' with it

Monsignor O'Callaghan first withheld the identity of a perpetrator from authorities and then attempted to have a particular garda officer investigate it

In what the report said was 'clearly and unequivocally' a child sexual abuse case, the Commission says it cannot understand how the Monsignor concluded no sexual abuse had occurred

The Vatican and its representatives are also criticised - the Commission says the Papal Nuncio replied to its request for information by saying he was 'unable to assist you in this matter'

The garda response comes under the Commission's microscope - on one case the Commission says it does not accept there was a proper investigation of the complaints, despite the fact the gardaí insist an investigation took place

The Commission also reveals how an allegation was made against Bishop Magee himself in 2008 by an 18-year-old who claimed he was embraced and kissed on the forehead by the bishop. While the behaviour was deemed inappropriate, it was found not to be abusive by church and State authorities. The report concludes the case was dealt with appropriately.

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