McQuaid told of priest's 'indecent' pictures

By Patsy McGarry
Irish Times
July 4, 1997

The former Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Charles McQuaid, was alerted in 1960 that a priest, convicted last week of sexual assault against two young girls, had sent photographic film "of an indecent nature" involving two children to Britain to be developed.

Father Paul McGennis (66) pleaded guilty in the Dublin District Court last week to two counts each of sexual assault on two young girls, one of whom had been a patient at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in 1960.

A file containing the information about the photographic material was discovered among Dublin diocesan records in October 1995 while an investigation was being conducted into an allegation against Father McGennis. The priest was then working in Edenmore parish in Dublin. He remained there until earlier this year.

Father McGennis was chaplain at the hospital from 1959 until the summer of 1960. In 1960, staff at a laboratory in Britain, which processed film, became concerned at the indecent nature of photographs involving two children, and addressed to Father McGennis. They alerted the police, who alerted the gardai. The gardai contacted Dr McQuaid in the autumn of 1960, who "immediately contacted Father McGennis, interviewed him, and arranged for him to have treatment which was considered successful at the time", according to a statement issued by the Dublin archdiocese last night.

Dr McQuaid, it said, "noted that the gardai were of the opinion that a criminal charge could not be proven and they referred the matter to him for attention".

As confirmed by the Dublin archdiocese last night, Dr McQuaid had been told by gardai "that Scotland Yard had contacted them with Kodak transparencies of an indecent nature involving two children addressed to Father McGennis".

Father McGennis, with an address at Tonlegee Road, Edenmore, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court last week to two counts of indecent assault on a then 13 year old girl, at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, in 1960. He received consecutive sentences, totalling 18 months.

Later last week, he was given another nine-month concurrent sentence, after pleading guilty to two counts of sexually assaulting a young girl in Co Wicklow, between 1977 and 1979. The girl was nine when the assaults began.

In a letter to The Irish Times today, the woman victim of the Our Lady's Hospital assaults says she first reported the abuse to a priest in her Dublin parish in 1985, but was "shocked" at his reaction.

"Firstly, he told me very firmly he did not want me to give him any details of the abuse," she writes, "then again he told me very firmly - not to give him the abuser's name". The priest told her that if she gave him the abuser's name he "would have to do something about it", and he did not feel this was necessary, she says.

She said his reasoning for this "was that he felt I had probably caused the abuse". His "only concession", following her protestations, was that "if I had not caused it then this priest had probably left the priesthood years ago".

The priest reassured her that "if I had tempted this chaplain then it was unintentional on my part. I could go away now and put it behind me, 'I was forgiven'".

She writes that "it is impossible to describe the devastating effect this response had on me emotionally".























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