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Retired priest cleared of indecent assault charge

A judge directs a jury to find Fr Dan Duane not guilty of charges relating to an alleged incident in the early 1980s.

Image: gavinsblog via Flickr

A CORK JUDGE has directed a jury to acquit a retired priest of charges of indecent assault over an alleged incident around 30 years ago.

Fr Dan Duane, a retired priest in the Diocese of Cloyne, had been accused at Cork Circuit Criminal Court of kissing a teenage girl on the lips, and fondling her, when she went to his house to speak to him about a family problem.

The woman had given a statement to Gardaí saying she had become upset when telling Fr Duane about the issue, when he kissed and molested her for around a minute. She claimed to have been so shocked that she only mentioned the incident once, to a friend, in the following years.

This morning, RTÉ News reports, Judge Seán Ó Donabháin directed the jury to find Duane not guilty, saying the woman’s delay in making her complaint was inexcusable.

The woman worked in a profession which encouraged victims to make complaints, he said, and he had worry about the delay in reporting the incident.

He also noted that the Duane had shared the house in which the assault was alleged to have occurred with a curate and a housekeeper, and they could have been asked to provide statements if a complaint had been made earlier.

Read more on the acquittal at RTÉ.ie >

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Gavan Reilly

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