Primate accused of not passing report on child victim of Smyth to gardai (Irish Police)


Sunday March 14 2010

Cardinal Sean Brady is being sued in his personal capacity by a victim of serial paedophile rapist, Fr Brendan Smyth, who is claiming the primate was one of three priests who interviewed her in 1975 about her five-year long ordeal and then failed to ensure it was reported to the civil authorities, including the gardai.

The cardinal was present at two meetings at which clergy interviewed victims of Fr Brendan Smyth in 1975. At both meetings the victims, a young woman who Smyth had abused for five years and a boy who was also abused, were made to sign oaths saying they would not discuss their meetings with anyone other than authorised clergy.

After 1975, Smyth went on to abuse many more children.

Cardinal Brady is being sued in a personal capacity as well as in his role as head of the Catholic Church in Ireland by the female victim who Smyth brutalised and sexually abused between 1970 and 1975, on occasions when she was taken on church outings. She brought a case against the church in 1997 and it has been in the High Court ever since.

Cardinal Brady is, according to court affidavits, accused of: “1. Failing to report to An Garda Siochana the fact of formal signed complaints against Fr Brendan Smyth of sexual assault and paedophilia on other children made to the church authorities investigated by them at interviews — at which the second named defendant was present and participated — on March 29, 1975, and April 4, 1975, respectively.

“2. Failing following such interviews to take any adequate steps to ensure that Fr Brendan Smyth did not continue to perpetrate sexual assaults on children including the plaintiff.

“3. Requiring and causing the two children, the subject matter of the inquiries held on the March 29, 1975, and April 4, 1975, to sign under oath undertakings that they would not discuss the interview with anyone except priests who had permission to discuss it.

“4. By failing in its duty to report complaints against Fr Brendan Smyth negligently deprived the plaintiff and others of appropriate medical treatment.”

In a statement yesterday on behalf of the Cardinal, the Catholic Information Office confirmed to the Sunday Independent that Fr Sean Brady had attended meetings with then alleged victims of Fr Smyth.

The Catholic Information Office said: “In 1975, Fr Sean Brady, as he then was, was the part-time secretary to the then Bishop of Kilmore, the late Bishop Francis McKiernan. At the direction of Bishop McKiernan, Fr Brady attended the two meetings referred to in your email. In the Dundalk meeting, Fr Brady acted as recording secretary for the process involved. In the Ballyjamesduff meeting he asked the questions and recorded the answers given.

“At those meetings the complainants signed undertakings, on oath, to respect the confidentiality of the information-gathering process. As instructed, and as a matter of urgency, Fr Brady passed both reports to Bishop McKiernan for his immediate action,” the statement added.

The Sunday Independent has learned that for 10 years the solicitor representing the woman had unsuccessfully attempted to force disclosure of documents relating to the handling of her case by the church. In 2007, the solicitor sought and received documentation from gardai who by then were examining documents relating to abusing priests. These documents finally disclosed the meetings at which Cardinal Brady was present. The case is still before the High Court.

In an affidavit before the High Court last December, the woman’s solicitor said the victims were made to “sign under oath undertakings that they would not discuss their interview with anyone except priests who had permission to discuss it”.

Cardinal Brady is the second named defendant in the case. The other two clergy are Fr Gerard Cusack, head of the Norbertine Order, of which Smyth was a member, and Bishop Leo O’Reilly of Lismore diocese, where the Norbertine’s head abbey is situated, outside Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan.

Fr Cusack and Bishop O’Reilly were not involved in any way directly with the young woman and are not being sued in a personal capacity but in their capacities as head of the order and head of the diocese respectively in which it is claimed negligence towards the victim took place. The proceedings are being defended by the defendants.

The lawyer, Brian Coady, of Murphy Coady Solicitors of Navan, Co Meath, wrote to the cardinal in January 2008, after examining the files unearthed by the gardai.

In his affidavit to the High Court last December, Mr Coady said: “I made it clear in my letter of January 25, 2008, enclosing the particulars of negligence that those allegations were made against the second named defendant (Sean Brady) in his personal capacity and not in his capacity as Catholic Primate of All Ireland. I also requested that the second named defendant indicate if he had any objections to same.

“However, the second named defendant client failed to indicate his position. I begged to refer to the copy of the letter of January 25, 2008, upon which marked the letters BC2 I have signed prior to the swearing thereof.”

He wrote again in June last year. His affidavit to the High Court on this date reads: “By letter dated June 16, 2009, this firm again wrote to the second named defendant’s solicitors seeking their consent to the amendments proposed by the statement of claim. I beg to refer to a copy of this letter upon which marked the letters BC3. I have signed my name prior to the swearing thereof.

“The plaintiff continued to wait for a response to the said letters in order to admit this application to be heard by the Master of this Honourable Court and to reduce costs. The second named defendant was aware of his personal involvement in and at all other details of the enquiry from the outset of proceedings and also knew that until September 2007 the plaintiff was unaware of same.

“In the circumstances the plaintiff assumed that he would consent to the amendment and gave him every opportunity to do so. However, at the date of swearing the second named defendant has not done so. In the circumstances, I believe the plaintiff has no option but to bring this motion before this Honourable Court.”

By 1975 there had already been an enormous number of complaints about Smyth’s abuse of children in Ireland, the UK and the US. At least one priest, Fr Bruno Mulvhill, had raised the complaints with the Irish hierarchy as early as 1968. It later emerged that Smyth had been abusing children from the 1940s but was continuously moved and allowed to go on abusing right up to the 1990s when his extradition from the Republic was finally sought by the RUC and he was convicted and imprisoned. It was the scandal that arose after it emerged that the RUC’s extradition warrant had sat for months in the Attorney General’s office in 1994 that led to the collapse of the FF/Labour coalition government. Fr Smyth died in prison in 1997.

The plaintiff, according to the affidavit, “suffered sustained and continued to suffer from very severe personal injuries, distress, trauma, loss and damage by virtue of the negligence and breach of duty of the defendants”.

It says the defendants: “Caused, permitted, allowed or condoned church activities and in particular children’s outings when they knew or ought to have known that it was unsafe to do so;

“Caused, permitted, allowed or condoned the organisation of such outings by a servant or agent of whom they knew or ought to have known had paedophile tendencies or was, in fact, a paedophile;

“Caused, permitted, allowed or condoned access to children and in particular to the plaintiff herein by a servant or agent who they knew or ought to have known presented a grave risk to children;

“Caused, permitted, allowed or condoned the plaintiff to assist in church-related activities in circumstances of great danger of which they knew or ought to have known of;

“Required the plaintiff to assist in church-related activities in which they knew or ought to have known she was likely to be sexually assaulted which in fact occurred;

“Caused, permitted, allowed or condoned a servant or agent to have unlimited, unregulated and unsupervised access to young children and particular to the plaintiff herein which access was utilised for repeated sexual abuse;

“Failed to protect children and in particular the plaintiff herein from sexual assaults by their servants or agents;

“Exposed the plaintiff to the immediate danger of ongoing sexual assaults which in fact occurred; and faced the plaintiff in a real apprehension of immediate battery being committed on her.”

The affidavit states that the victim continues to suffer from the trauma of the violent sexual abuse which began when she was 14 and continued until she was 20. It states: “She complained of sleep disturbance, nightmares, reduced energy, mood swings, flashbacks and hyper vigilance. The plaintiff also suffered from a sense of estrangement, an absent sex life and distress even at the mention of sexuality. Her symptoms further included fear, nervousness, diarrhoea, choking sensations, muscle tension, increased heart rate and breathing difficulties. The plaintiff complained of thoughts of death, loss of concentration, interest and appetite. She avoids closeness to people including her husband and is fearful of rejection. Her marriage and quality of life have been greatly affected. The plaintiff was deeply distressed and overwhelmed by sexual abuse from the time she was 14 to 20 years of age.”


Sunday Independent


16 Responses to “Cardinal Brady is sued by victim of serial abuse priest”

  1. christy says:

    The newspaper was the l’osservatore romano. It also said…’For the love of truth the number of incidents of child abuse involving
    CLERGY is very SMALL’



  2. christy says:

    From the Vatican news paper on child abuse, This has a negative effect on the catholic church…But it should be noted that the abuse of children is more widespread in non-religious and married couples than the CLERGY’


  3. Martha says:

    “At those meetings the complainants signed undertakings, on oath, to respect the confidentiality of the information-gathering process. …”

    They (complainants) did so “as instructed” by Sean Brady, i.e., he told them if they didn’t sign on the dotted line, they were as good as dead, eh? = STFU and sign!!!

  4. R Barry says:

    Utah Capital punishment State Law on child rape:

    Any citizen catching a paedophile at work was permitted in older times to carry out an immediate execution.

  5. Hanora Brennan says:

    I and the public know
    What all schoolchildren learn,
    Those to whom evil is done
    Do evil in return.

    W.H. Auden

  6. Hanora Brennan says:

    Christy, with regard to the legal justice for survivors – talks are ongoing with a reputable lawyer here in Ireland who may be teaming up with another in the USA depending on the lie of the land. Thus far, the advice has been ‘pro bono’ so we’ll wait for the first bill to heave a huge GULP but so far so good! Nothing and I mean nothing has been overlooked. Envelopes will be arriving on well deserving door mats soon as their deceits have been uncovered.

  7. Hanora Brennan says:

    Barry, once again the lucidity of that brain has cut to the quick! Well said and of course well done as that is what you are, our own Action Man! So true your points on the traitor within – there are plenty within our own fold but their days are numbered. SNAP had a great turn out at the weekend in the USA and have your email address for further discussions on the Unity platform.

  8. christy says:

    I would not like to be a father bring up kids in IRELAND when the supreme protector ie THE GOVERMENT ABDICATES IT’S DUTY How do they sleep at night?


  9. christy says:


    When are you going to make the call to BRIAN COADY OF MURPHY COADY SOLICTORS, NAVAN, CO MEATH




  10. Andrew says:

    Bear in mind that the Dominican Friary in Dundalk where Brady ‘administered’ the Oaths of Secrecy on two of the victims of Father Brendan Smyth is only yards from Dundalk Garda Station. Brady it seems has no problems with the Stations of the Cross it’s only Garda Stations where he has a blindspot! Brady wouldn’t go the extra few yards to protect children.

    How Far Would Go To Protect A Child ???

  11. Angry says:

    Approaching St Paddy Day, we have our Politicians jetting of on subsidised luxury junkets around the world intent on “selling”” Ireland as THE place to come and invest……….Meanwhile we have the bishops, archbishops and cardinals leaving potential investors in Ireland thinking, is it safe to bring our children.?

  12. Angry says:

    In view of this latest emerging scandal, it MUST fall to the State and , WITHOUT DELAY, institute a commission to investigate EVERY diocese in this Country to expose the extent to which CLERICAL SEXUAL ABUSE of children has been suppressed, hidden, and acted upon in a CRIMINAL MANNER by those tasked with the WELFARE OF CHILDREN WITHIN THEIR CHURCH. AND I DON`T MEAN AN “”AUDIT”” SET UP BY THE bishops, FOR THE bishops, AND PAID FOR BY THE bishops.?
    Only some months ago, Brady vowed he WOULD RESIGN if HE had in ANY way compromised the safety of children. Its NOW PROVEN he had. And in his words , “”FRANKLY, I DO NOT THINK ITS A RESIGNING MATTER””, such a bald statement must be now viewed as THE EPITOME IN HYPOCRISY.
    Diarmuid Martin expressed publicly his UTTER DISGUST when reading archived material concerning CHILD CLERICAL SEXUAL ABUSE, he threw this material to the floor and , in his words, WEPT. WAS ANY OF BRENDAN SMYTH’S CASE NOTES AMONG THIS MATERIAL.????????????
    The coming days will see us once again being subjected to “moral” leaders attempting to articulate CRIMINAL ACTS OF SEXUAL SAVAGERY PERPETRATED ON INNOCENT CHILDREN as “mistakes” being made in “good faith” and being suppressed to “protect” the children from any undue and unwarranted “publicity” which may further harm them.? Where are the intellectuals who would decry such barbarity to highlight the absence of the prevalent and inescapable moral logic which this church abandoned to vested interest, and its self preservation, which resulted in thousands of children having their lives destroyed by SCHOLARS,LAWYERS,TEACHERS,CANON LAWYERS,PRIESTS,BROTHERS,BISHOPS,ARCHBISHOPS,CARDINALS,NUNS, AND NOW TODAY,RIGHT UP TO HIS NIBS HISSELF,WITH COUNTRIES PRESENTLY DRUMMING ON HIS VATICAN DOORS SEEKING “JUSTICE”. WHERE ARE THESE “INTELLECTUALS” WHO WOULD FIGHT ON BEHALF OF ABUSED CHILDREN.?.
    RESIGN NOW , Mr Brady, and save the Country FURTHER EMBARRASSMENT.

  13. Angry says:

    In 1996, the hierarchy made the statement that they had no idea of widespread SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN within the church, and less, UNDERSTANDING of it.?
    In 1975,LONG BEFORE 1996, we have Sean Brady, priest, heading an inquiry into Brendan Smyth, using what he now terms as the “”INFORMATION GATHERING PROCESS””, an already WELL ESTABLISHED procedure by all accounts, designed to afford secrecy to the church, while intimidating children to sign “confidentiality clause`s”. What we do not know presently, is WHO were representing those children behind these closed door INQUISITIONS of vulnerable victims of marauding clerical paedophiles.
    The media today are highlighting, AT LAST, the bad faith “campaign” of systematic disinformation in the shape of ANOTHER toothless moral appeal being spewed out by Bradys spokespielers to better protect it`s “moral” standing in the face of FURTHER UNUST HARM being imposed on INNOCENT CHILDREN by the failure of this church to confront its crimes. That Brady failed to “CHALLENGE THE PREVAILING CULTURE” by fighting what was an obvious and blatant act of OMISSION to the protection of vulnerable children must now single him out for a PROPER Garda investigation to this WELL ESTABLISHED “”INFORMATION GATHERING PROCESS”” to which Brady refers. Besides the SMYTH affair, we must now be informed of just HOW MANY such inquires Brady was involved in .
    Irelands “other” cardinal, Desmond Connell now basks disgracefully in “retirement”, its remaining cardinal, Sean Brady, attempts to avoid “early” retirement by blaming his bishop as the final arbiter in the matter he was investigating using what can only be now termed !due process! under canon law , “”THE INFORMATION GATHERING PROCESS”. Surely Brady cannot advance the arguement that HE invented this “information gathering process” , he must have inherited the means of procedure under which such a process took place.? Ergo, how many such investigations did he participate in as a “lowly” secretary.?
    That the hierarchy established a substantial criminal conspiracy to usurp the laws of the State can no longer be in doubt, most obviously by those actively participating , in any way, manner shape or form, omission , “mental reservation” or otherwise to decisions taken by canon lawyers, lawyers, scholars, professors, tutors, teachers, bishops, archbishops or cardinals that such “decisions” contrary to the Laws of the State, recklessly and with wanton abandon led to the SEXUAL ABUSE of children by KNOWN PAEDOPHILES within the church. IS THERE NOT A “canon law” AGAINST WILFULLY IMPERILLING THE SOULS OF INNOCENTS.? AND WORSE, CHILDREN.?
    For many years now, survivors of Irish institutions , along with survivors of a criminally corrupt hierarchy, have been accused of being biased, spewing hatred, indulging in anti-catholic “rants” including BLASPHEMY, or even having the mental disposition to engage in rational debate and discussion, and WORSE, as LIARS to what we have put out in the public domain as the simple unbiased truth to events occuring in childhood detailing and describing the CRIMES OF THIS CHURCH AND ITS CRASS SUB-ORDINATE LOWER CLASS IGNORANT HENCHMEN, AND WOMEN. Many have suffered for their beliefs in portraying these people for what they were and ARE. Justification and vindication has arrived. WE WERE RIGHT. THEY WERE WRONG.

  14. mmaguire says:

    I admire the courage of the person who has taken this action in court and indeed their patience in pursuing this, even if the period involved seems absurd.

    This, to me, is a key action that has the potential to encourage others to seek the appropriate level of justice that should apply to all.

    Success in bringing an action in Open court, even should it mean going through all the jumps and hoops to High, Supreme and EU level courts will encourage others to seek similar actions, if appropriate.

    This is the only way to prove that once and for all , justice is indeed open to and for all.


  15. Martha says:

    “The cardinal was present at two meetings at which clergy interviewed victims of Fr Brendan Smyth in 1975. At both meetings the victims, a young woman who Smyth had abused for five years and a boy who was also abused, were made to sign oaths saying they would not discuss their meetings with anyone other than authorised clergy.”

    “AUTHORISED CLERGY” ? Talk about arrogance! Methinks thats the ultimate in INSANITY!!!

    Brady and his Bunch can go crawl back under his rock, with the rest of his RC worms. Its about time Humanity squelched these little insects!

  16. Portia says: