The Pedophile and the Priest

By Gary Craig
Democrat and Chronicle
October 10, 2013

Last week Liam Adams, the brother of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, was convicted in Belfast of raping and sexually assaulting his daughter between 1977 and 1983.

The girl was then between 4 and 9 years old.

The conviction has roiled Northern Ireland, with accusations that Gerry Adams - a driving force in the troubled region's peace process - was aware of his brother's crimes and tried to protect him from prosecution.

The conviction has revived an unusual saga in the life of Liam Adams, an episode when, in 1984, he was in hiding in New York City - and sheltered by Father Patrick Moloney at Bonitas House, the home for troubled teens.

The Irish journalist Ed Moloney, who has written extensively about the Irish Republican Army and the so-called "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, was the first to write of the episode.

"During the worst years of the Troubles, Bonitas House became the first port of call for many indigent and refugee IRA men, activists who were on the run from the authorities in Ireland or who wanted a break from Belfast or Derry and were in need of a fresh identity and a start in New York well away from the prying eyes of the FBI," Moloney wrote.

In a blog, published this week, Moloney revisits Adams' stay in America. (The blog can be found here.)

In an interview with Moloney, the priest (the two aren't related) recounts how he was unsure why the IRA wanted Adams out of Northern Ireland in the early 1980s.

"For whatever reason, my understanding was that they wanted him out of circulation," Moloney said. " ... He had been paraded around from pillar to post until he came to me. He was just a loose wire in some ways, and they were a little bit afraid of him. How shall I put this, he was a weak link (in) the chain. I don't think they quite trusted him."

Lesley-Anne McKeown, a Belfast journalist, also interviewed Rev. Moloney last week after the Adams' verdict. In a detailed story about Adams' life, and abuse of his daughter, McKeown wrote of the four months Adams was sheltered by Moloney.

"He was not in the best of health," Moloney said about Adams, in a story in the Belfast Telegraph. "I don't know whether he left Ireland because he was an embarrassment to the ambitions of anybody else in the family but it did seem that they did want him to take a vacation, for what reasons I never knew."

(The Belfast Telegraph story can be found here.)

As I've said here multiple times, Moloney has insisted on his innocence with the Brinks robbery. He contended that the $175,000 found at Bonitas House when he was arrested was money he was holding for illegal immigrants, and not connected to Brinks. None of the money matched the Brinks money, though only a portion of the Brinks money was known by serial number.

The Brinks jury didn't buy the claim, and found him guilty.

As we've seen in some past installments, two decades after the robbery Moloney occasionally finds himself back in the news. It's likely that the uproar over the crimes of Liam Adams will send more reporters to the Lower East Side for interviews with Father Moloney.

(To read the initial coverage of the discovery of Ronnie Gibbons’ remains, click here. To subscribe to notifications of this continuing narrative blog, click here. To read past installments, click here. Notifications will also be sent via my Twitter account @gcraig1. )








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