Ireland's Child Care Institutions during the 20th. Century. Fo'T: The most vivid and passionate stories - banished babies, cruel orphanages, old abuses of power - have concerned things that went unnoticed, or at least unarticulated, at the time. News has often had to be redefined, not as the latest sensation but as that which everybody knew all along yet could not say.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Unnamed priests ‘identified’ by Greek letters

By Jim Morahan Irish Examiner

THE following nine priests were also investigated by the inquiry. Six of the priests against whom allegations of sexual abuse were made are dead.

A curate, he allegedly sexually abused three boys; Edward, then 15, over five years from 1974; Gavin, from age seven or eight into his teen years; Eric, then 15, in 1993. He denied all allegations, including a statement of admission to two gardaí relating to Edward. The report considered the garda investigated the complaints in an effective and professional manner.

Trevor alleged the priest, a family friend, abused him. He was then about 18. Before the diocesan authorities, the priest apologised and took full responsibility. Ben’s mother alleged the priest abused him while babysitting the six-year-old boy. The priest agreed to go to Canada for treatment.

A total of 11 females alleged abuse. Two said the incidents happened during pre-marriage talks. Julie alleged he abused her when aged nine in the 1970s. Grace alleged the sexual abuse during the early 1970s when aged 10 to 13. Ruth alleged sexual impropriety as did two sisters, Orla and Susan (December 2002). A married person alleged the abuse took place when she was aged 18 and pregnant with her second child. Other complainants said they were abused when aged between five and eight. Bishop Eamon Walsh told the inquiry a file had been sent to Rome and their decision was awaited.

Three named and other unnamed students at St Peter’s College alleged abuse. A settlement was reached in one case. Another male alleged, in 1999 after counselling, being abused during the early 1960s. In the mid-1960s a man alleged being fondled when he sought documents for his forthcoming marriage. In 1966 he asked Bishop Donal Herlihy to be removed from the school and the bishop transferred him to parish work. The report said had help been available to Fr Delta in 1966, “further abuse of children might have been avoided.”

Pamela attempted suicide following the sexual abuse she alleges began in the early 1970s when she was 13-14. After her attempt, he was transferred out of the parish. Bishop Herlihy writing to the Cardinal in Westminster, said that “Father Iota had some involvement with a girl, which is now happily terminated.” However, the report strongly criticised Bishop Herlihy’s recall of the priest to Ferns. And instead of ensuring he had minimum contact with children, the priest was appointed to teaching and chaplaincy role in diocesan national schools.

Pamela reported her alleged sexual abuse by Fr Iota to Fr Kappa in the early 1970s. When she was 17 he supplied her with alcohol, and full sexual intercourse allegedly took place a year later. She became pregnant and believed her child was fathered by Fr Kappa but he refused to recognise the child as his own. The report said it understood Pamela’s complaint had only recently been made known to the diocese.

Bishop Walsh asked this priest to stand down from his ministry after Denis alleged, in 1998, being abused by him over eight years until the early 1980s. However, Denis made a statement to gardaí withdrawing the allegation and subsequent efforts failed to trace him. The diocese heard about it in 2004. The report said it was appropriate to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse which were subsequently retracted with a view to assessing a priest’s suitability to minister.

Jenny received counselling for periods of her life after she alleged in 2000 this priest took naked photos of her during the 1950s. Bishop Comiskey paid her €4,000 for counselling costs but said he could not offer an apology on behalf of a priest long since dead.

When the diocese became aware in 2004, he agreed to stand aside from active ministry and to attend a psychologist. Ten years earlier a nurse had made a child abuse notification when informed the boy was not attending school, was isolated and had befriended a priest. The report noted there was no evidence whether the priest attended a psychologist. It was unable to comment on the appropriateness of Bishop Comiskey’s response in permitting this priest to remain in active ministry. Complaints were made by two unnamed priests against other priests but the report said it was satisfied the diocese and gardaí were justified in taking no further action.

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