More Than 1,300 Irish Priests Accused of Child Sex Abuse but Only 82 Convicted, Says Victim Campaign Group
By Michael Doyle
August 21, 2018
MORE than 1,300 Irish priests have been accused of sexually abusing children, it was claimed yesterday.
But only 82 – including evil clerics Father Tony Walsh and Brendan Smyth – have been convicted, according to a US group.
|Fr Tony Walsh|
BishopAccountability.org are in Ireland ahead of the Pope’s visit urging him to address the history of abuse and cover-ups in Ireland.
Director Anne Barrett Doyle said the hidden names represent a “triple threat” because no one knows who or where they are.
She said: “Hiding the names of credibly accused child molesters puts children at risk.
“It also withholds validation from survivors, and makes it nearly impossible for Catholic laypeople to protect their families or hold church leaders accountable.”
|Anne Barrett Doyle from US group Bishop Accountability|
Barrett Doyle attributes the large number of undisclosed names of abusive priests in Ireland to the “dangerous combination” of a still-secretive Irish church hierarchy and our strict privacy and defamation laws.
She pointed out that in the United States, more than 35 bishops and religious superiors have published lists of credibly accused clergy.
And she insisted Ireland, the first country to expose clerical child sex abuse, was lagging way behind the rest of the world.
She added: “An institution with a long and troubled history of concealing child sex abuse has two moral imperatives: to protect children and to help survivors heal.
“In Ireland, despite searing reports exposing physical and sexual violence toward thousands of children, only a handful of perpetrators has been convicted or even publicly named.”
Anne Barrett Doyle From US Group Bishop Accountability
“Disclosing the names of the credibly accused is a powerful way for the Catholic church to achieve both these goals.
“Just last week, in the state of Pennsylvania in the US, the state’s highest ranking prosecutor named nearly 300 credibly accused priests in a massive investigative study of six Catholic dioceses.
“Yet in Ireland, despite searing reports exposing physical and sexual violence toward thousands of children, only a handful of perpetrators has been convicted or even publicly named.”
She launched the Irish database yesterday along with Mark Vincent Healy, an Irish survivor of clerical sex abuse.
He added: “Such secrecy endangers children and deprives survivors of justice.
“Justice demands acknowledgement and restitution of the wrong. This has eluded too many Irish survivors and their families.”
Healy, who met with Pope Francis four years ago, was abused from the age of nine by two priests in Dublin in the 1960s and 1970s and he says there needs to be less talk and more action.
He said: “I think he’s sincere in the apology and what he is saying in sorrow terms.
“But we need a different paradigm. We need actions which will make a difference.
“And it’s not his actions. He has to negotiate those actions with us and we have to talk to him about them. We need to sit down. We need to open the files.
“Let’s get in there and discuss these things to move forward.”