Cork curate pleads guilty to abuse of boys in London 20 years ago

By Dick Horgan
Irish Times
June 27, 2000

Cork - A curate who began working in a Cork parish eight years ago and who has constantly maintained he is innocent of sex abuse claims against him has pleaded guilty in a London court to a number of charges of abuse against young boys 20 years ago in Britain.

This emerged on Sunday when a letter from Dr John Buckley, Bishop of Cork and Ross, was read at Masses in two parishes, Glounthaune and St Patrick's. In it the bishop told parishioners of the guilty plea last week by Father James Murphy to charges concerning young boys in the diocese of Southwark, in London.

Father Murphy has served as curate at Glounthaune for eight years and, according to a diocesan spokesman, had impeccable references from his former diocese and bishop.

The matter came to light at Christmas when police in Britain contacted the diocese of Glounthaune about the sex-abuse charges. In his letter to parishioners, Bishop Buckley said Father Murphy had consistently asserted his innocence and had asked for "time out to settle matters".

Bishop Buckley said he granted this request and approached Father Murphy again two months ago when he became aware the British authorities were about to press charges. Father Murphy had now pleaded guilty to a number of charges, although he was still protesting his innocence in other cases. Father Murphy is at present on bail.

Bishop Buckley said he had tried to keep parishioners in Cork informed and wanted to stress there had been no improprieties involving Father Murphy since he took up duties in Glounthaune. It is expected the priest, who is in his 50s, will appear in court again in Britain soon. Bishop Buckley advised those in both parishes who might be troubled or worried by the disclosures to contact their local clergy or use the independent Faoiseamh helpline, at 1800331234 between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Wednesday.






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