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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 22 September 2020

Catholic priest visited girl's family home after she made abuse allegation

The latest tranche of child protection reviews found 288 allegations were made against the Catholic Church.

Image: Shutterstock

A CATHOLIC PRIEST who abused more than 100 children continued to have access to young people for two years after the first allegation against him came to light.

The Salvatorian Order has come under fire for allowing the abusive priest to live ”without intervention or restrictions” between 2002 and 2004, despite it being known he had abused a female relative as a child.

The priest later admitted to abusing more than 100 children and was convicted in 2007 of sexually abusing several girls over a 25-year period.

Catholic File picture Source: Shutterstock/Gorinov

The case of ‘Father A’ was outlined in one of 30 reports released by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) today.

The reviews of 30 religious orders found 288 allegations were made against 90 priests, brothers or sisters between 1950 and 2002, with one allegation being made in 2013.

Just 10 criminal convictions have been made as a result of the allegations.

No supervision

The NBSCCCI found the Salvatorians were “particularly poor” in relation to the monitoring of Fr A.

When the first allegation of abuse was made against the priest in 2002, the Salvatorian Order withdrew him from his parish and it was advised that he should not be allowed access to children.

He was moved to Rome, but nobody was informed of the real reason and so he was not placed under any supervision, the report says.

There is no record on file of any restrictions having been placed on Fr A, nor of any precept forbidding him to have public ministry, and more importantly, ministry with children.

The review found it was “very possible” that he continued to abuse children between 2002 and 2004.

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In 2004, Fr A returned to Ireland on holiday. While here, he learned that a young woman had made a sexual abuse allegation against him.

As a result, he drove to her family home to discuss the matter with the girl’s mother, the report says.

This action by the priest is inexplicable unless he believed himself to be in some way immune from the consequences of his abusive behaviour.

After this incident, Fr A was referred to a residential assessment unit in the UK, where he admitted to being a serial abuser.

Another order, the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, was also criticised for not implementing its child safeguarding protocols.

Teresa Devlin, CEO, said that apart from the Salvatorian Order and the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, the vast majority of the reports were positive

With so many elements of the church improving safeguarding for children so much, complacency might sneak in. But the fact that we had an allegation as recently as 2013 shows that we cannot allow that to happen.

Read:  No convictions on over 50 abuse allegations against religious orders

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