Archbishops’ cover-up of child sex abuse revealed

Desire to protect Church meant crimes not reported: Dublin Diocese Inquiry

Sunday Independent 22 November 2009

THE four Catholic archbishops of Dublin who preceded Dr Diarmuid Martin, were aware of complaints against priests for sexually abusing children — a practice that went on for over 35 years.

But the most senior figures in the Irish hierarchy did not report these crimes to the gardai because of an obsessive culture of secrecy and a desire to preserve the power and aura of the Church and to avoid giving scandal to their congregations.

The report of the Commission set up to investigate how the Dublin Archdiocese dealt with sex abuse scandals from 1975 to 2004 will find that there was little or no concern for the welfare of the abused children or other children who might come into contact with deviant and even paedophile priests.

While the Commission will find that there was no evidence of a paedophile ring operating among priests in the Dublin Archdiocese, there were distressing connections between more than 40 priests serving in parishes and religious orders in the diocese.

Some boys who were abused by one priest were later passed on to their friends and abused again. In another case, the notorious sex abuser Fr Sean Fortune, who committed suicide, gave the key of a holiday cottage to another priest who abused a girl there.

The Commission, which has trawled through thousands of files over more than nine years, will find that the powerful bishops of Dublin were more concerned with the power and pomp of their Church than they were with the children in their care.

Some of those who complained were met with denial, arrogance and even cover-up, the shocking report will reveal. The report will say that not one of the four archbishops who presided over the Dublin diocese from the 1960s revealed their knowledge of widespread sexual abuse by the clergy to the gardai until late 1995.

The Commission will find that while Cardinal Desmond Connell was shocked at the extent of child sexual abuse among the Dublin diocesan clergy and religious orders, he was slow to recognise the seriousness of the situation, took bad counsel from legal and medical advisers and failed to realise that clerical sex abusers could not be dealt with in secret.

It also says that while he was kind and sympathetic to some of those who complained to him, he appeared not to comprehend the suffering of victims. The Commission will also report that Archbishop Connell’s strategies, while legally acceptable, added to the trauma and grief of abused children.

The Commission is expected to be scathing in its criticism of the bishops, who, it says, were all highly educated men who should have known that criminal acts should have been reported to the gardai as a matter of course.

In one of its most damning findings, the Commission will say that the Archdiocese of Dublin was aware from 1987 of the seriousness of allegations against its priests and that it took out specific insurance against sexual misconduct by the clergy.

The Commission is also expected to express its deep concern that in some cases professionals, such as psychiatrists and counsellors, who were asked to deal with clerical sex abusers, were not given the full facts of the priest’s history of abuse. As a result, priests were sometimes allowed back into parishes unsupervised.

Despite the trenchant criticism of the Catholic Church in Dublin since the era of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, the Commission, which was headed by High Court judge Yvonne Murphy, will thank the current Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, and his legal team, who gave unrestricted access to its files.

The report is also expected to be critical of the State and some gardai for not intervening much earlier to challenge the authority and power of the Church. It will say that while some members of the force investigated sex-abusing clergy, others in the Garda Siochana seem to have regarded the clergy as being above the law.

The report was presented to Justice Minister Dermot Ahern but has since been modified because a number of those named in the original document are still facing prosecution. It is believed that a copy of the report, which has since been edited for legal reasons, will be presented to the Cabinet on Tuesday and is expected to be published in full later in the week.

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17 Comments.

  1. If the Irish government were any serious about this abuse that has been happening for all these years, they would have taken the schools out of the control of the catholic church a long time ago!! This will go on forever in this banana republic. Watch the ‘Horrified’ faithful supporting the abusers in their communities. Irish are real idiots!

  2. Herr Ratzinger used his position as a head of State to claim immunity from answering charges of covering up child rape and torture in the US. It is the same Herr Ratzinger who is hiding Cardinal Bernard Law in the Vatican………………and the report found no evidence of a paedophile ring? The Roman Catholic Church is one giant paedophile ring aided and abetted by Catholics in our government.

  3. Charles O'Rourke

    Ratzinger’s silence after the release of the Dublin Report will only serve to shorten the life span of the Roman Church. It will open the path to a second reformation. However we will witness the process of disintegration of the Roman Church first. They have passed the Rubicon already.

  4. Charles O'Rourke

    Portia, what happened the Buddhist girls in Vietnam? If this is true then the world must know. There is a place for such crimes in the Hague. Hoping the Irish State will bring this to book is not an alternative as we have been shown time and time again.

  5. What about the cover up with Brendan O’Donnell? The reason he killed that priest in the woods (not forgetting Imelda and her son) is because he had been abused by a Fr. McNamara, who said only he had the power to cure as he abused him. He also had been moved around from parish to parish to continue to prey on innocent children. This wasn’t mentioned in any of the books I’ve read on the subject. There’s a helluva’ lot more to emerge than this watered down version of a ‘REPORT’. Ireland truly is the island of snakes and vipers!

  6. Portia, what you said horrified me. Those thoughts chilled me to the bone.
    Also, what you wrote Andrew I honestly felt physically sick, shaken and had to lie down.

    I want the people with the power (Government e.c.t) to do what they should do, what’s morally right. Admit all the wrongs and take care of the victims for every bit of fear, pain, abuse, torture and guilt they have suffered, and continue to suffer day in day out.

    NO MORE CORRUPTION!!!!

    The continued silence of the Pope truly frightens me.

    Peace, love and strength to all survivors

    Anne

  7. “THE four Catholic archbishops of Dublin who preceded Dr Diarmuid Martin, were aware of complaints against priests for sexually abusing children — a practice that went on for over 35 years”

    Only 35 years? Ladida!!! Enforced celibacy aka sexual/emotional repression – which is the hallmark of Organised Religion – and the Catholic Church is “top of the heap” in that regard, INEVITABLY leads to the systematic rape (both physical and psychological) of children.

  8. Despite the trenchant criticism…….the Commission……..will thank the current Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, and his legal team, who gave unrestricted access to its files.

    Something had to give. Eventually. No need to give thanks and credit where it does NOT belong.

    The following 4-minute link may be helpful. It’s about the recent Australian apology and was played this morning on the radio.

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/1122/worldreport_av.html?2653715,null,209

  9. ” Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely”

    There is light at the end of the tunnel but it takes a long time to shine.

  10. Kathleen O'Malley "Childhood Interrupted"

    Let us hope that this Article is read world wide.
    Still the Vatican remains quiet and continues to shield these MONSTERS.
    Kathleen O’Malley.

  11. FROM THE DUBLIN ARCHDIOCESE REPORT

    A priest fondled a child while hearing her confession and washed his hands afterwards in an altar bowl

    A priest admitted to using a crucifix to sexually abuse a young girl

    A priest passed himself off as a healer with special powers to manipulate vulnerable young men

    Two paedophile priests apparently shared their victims, each priest abusing the same vulnerable child

    Some clerical sex offenders who served their sentences were released without supervision.

    The insurance company Church and General, which partly indemnified the diocese in cases of sexual violence, shredded all its files concerning claims against clerical sex abusers prior to 1996

    ALL four previous archbishops of Dublin were aware of CLERGY SEXUAL TERRORISM by priests in the Dublin Diocese but did not begin reporting them to Gardai until mid-1995

    The report [edited for legal and justice reasons] is expected to be released next week.

  12. Charles O'Rourke

    Here is hoping that the hell promised by the Church to the Irish people in order to keep them in a constant state of fear really does exist, and that Satan is busily stoking the fires and preparing a warm welcome to these disciples of the devil.There is little will in the government to bring these monsters to book. Their cunning is breath taking, They will sink as low as it is necessary and bring as many with them as needed. No boundaries exist for their depravity, Ireland has a snake at its chest.

  13. Charles O'Rourke

    A lie in defence of the church is the truth.

  14. “It is believed that a copy of the report, which has since been edited for legal reasons”

    Ah yes-“legal reasons” not the Law though.

    How in the name of the Universe can Justice be seen to be done with the “legal system” colluding with these criminals.?

    Makes my stomach churn.

  15. This is prep work for the release. Christmas is coming and another budget. By combining both with the release of the report and taking advantage of peoples desire to celebrate and their worries about the budget which will tend to make people focus on their own problems they have the perfect conditions under which to dull the impact of the report. In Ireland the scum floats on the top.

  16. Paddy, believe me it goes a lot deeper than this.

    Irish men of the black cloth raping girls in Vietnam, cutting their nipples off- so they could never nurse babies- simply because they were Buddhist- then comimg back to ireland and becoming a Bishop.

    The light of truth is beginning to shine ever brighter as the truth emerges from the darkness.

    Let us hope these men in black are not allowed to escape to other countries and carry on being predators.

    I remember Drogheda and the Gardai ready to arrest one of these vipers- but someone had tipped him off and he got away to Scotland- no doubt continued preying on innocent children there too, or moved to South America etc.

  17. Is there no end to the depths of deciet that these men of God and of the cloth will sink to? It appears not!

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