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Priest cleared of sex assault allegations quits two weeks after return

Father Eugene Boland attended therapy to prepare him for his return to public ministry but his diocese said today it quickly became clear “he was not ready”.

Image: priest image via Shutterstock

A PARISH PRIEST who was cleared in 2012 of allegations of child sex abuse has resigned just two weeks after he returned to public ministry in his Omagh parish.

Father Eugene Boland returned to his parish in Cappagh, Omagh on 15 March after a three and a half year leave of absence following the allegations. He had been accused of assaulting a 14-year-old girl but was cleared of all charges by a jury in 2012.

A statement about the priest’s resignation today said he engaged in therapy to “help him cope with what he was experiencing and to prepare him properly for a return to public ministry and interaction with the people again”.

His return to ministry followed professional advice that he was ready for this. All too quickly, however, it has become clear to Father Boland and diocesan authorities that he is not ready. For that reason, Father Boland now needs more time for help and guidance in this regard and has been granted leave of absence from ministry.

A new parish priest will be appointed “in due course”, the statement said.

“Understandably, this is very confusing for many people,” it said. “However, it is hoped that in dealing with this carefully and promptly the needs of both the Parish of Cappagh and Father Boland will be addressed appropriately.”

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