Bishop says diocese did not know of priest's sex abuse

Irish Times
July 31, 2000

The Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, has reassured parishioners that the diocese was unaware of any record of sex abuse when it appointed a priest convicted of sex offences in England to minister in two Cork parishes eight years ago.

Bishop Buckley told congregations attending Mass at St Patrick's, Lower Glanmire Road, Cork city, and in Glounthaune, east Cork, that the conviction of James Murphy for sex offences had caused great sadness. "As many people now know, Father James Murphy, who worked in this parish, was sentenced in an English court on Friday in relation to charges of indecent assault . . . The events which were the subject of the court case in England happened nearly 20 years ago."

He said that people might have wondered if the church authorities were aware of these offences when the priest returned to minister for the Diocese of Cork and Ross in 1992 at St Patrick's, where he spent a number of months, and at Glounthaune, where he ministered for eight years. "I wish to assure you that this was not the case. When Father Murphy applied for work in this diocese in 1992, it was the practice in this diocese to conduct an inquiry as to his suitability and good record. All the inquiries indicated that he was suitable for appointment and there was no way of knowing then what we know now."

Bishop Buckley acknowledged that it was very disturbing to learn that a number of young people suffered as a result of Murphy's actions during his time in England. "It is understandable that some people will be confused and distressed now, as an essential trust has been damaged. This is part of the hurt felt by all of us and we must address it."

He said that if people had any concerns they could contact the priests in Glounthaune or at St Patrick's, call the independent confidential Faoiseamh Helpline (1-800-331-234) or contact his office at Redemption Road in Cork city.






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