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#83203 - 10/26/05 11:08 AM Church, police, state: all failed r*ped children
Kirk Wayne Offline

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 499
Loc: Shrewsbury UK
Angelique Chrisafis, Ireland correspondent
Wednesday October 26, 2005
The Guardian

A devastating report into one of the world's worst clerical sex abuse scandals has found that children throughout County Wexford were abused over a 40-year period while the Catholic church, the police and the Irish state failed in their duty to protect them.

At least 21 priests were accused of more than 100 cases of rape and sexual assault against children in the diocese of Ferns from 1962 to 2002. The rural area of south-east Ireland is believed to have the highest proportion of accused clergy in a Catholic diocese anywhere in the world.

The report, headed by the retired supreme court judge Frank Murphy, is Ireland's first state investigation into the Catholic church's handling of abuse allegations against priests. It found that the church's negligence in dealing with allegations went as far as the Vatican.

Colm O'Gorman, a victim of child rape by one priest in Wexford, told Irish state broadcaster RTE: "The report says very clearly that the Vatican carries a responsibility for the rape and abuse of children."

The report is likely to spark public anger in Ireland, where the once all-powerful Catholic church has been hugely damaged by revelations of abuse.

The most notorious serial rapist named in the report is Father Sean Fortune, a violent bully who blackmailed his victims into silence. He came to his first parish, Fethard-on-Sea, in the late 1970s with a background of child sex abuse allegations while at the St Peter's College seminary in Wexford town. He was allowed to set up local youth groups and invite boys for overnight stays at his house. In the report, 25 complaints were made against him. Concerned parishioners had organised a delegation to two bishops and written to the Papal Nuncio, the Pope's ambassador in Ireland, but nothing happened.

When complaints were made against Fortune in 1987, the church sent him to London to do a communications course and seek therapy. On his return, he was made director of media outlet the National Association of Community Broadcasting, where he was later accused of raping a 15-year-old boy in a studio booth.

In 1999, in the first week of a trial on 29 charges of sexual abuse against eight boys, Fortune, 45, barricaded himself into his small home in County Wexford, protected by steel security shutters and CCTV, and committed suicide.

Yesterday's report found that for 20 years, Bishop Donal Herlihy, who was in charge of the Ferns diocese, treated sexual abuse of a child as a moral problem and did not recognise it as a serious criminal offence. When complaints were made, he would penalise the priest by transferring him to a different job for a period before returning him to his old position. He also ordained "clearly unsuitable men into the priesthood" when he knew or ought to have known thay might abuse children.

A second senior clergyman, Bishop Brendan Comiskey, was said to have consistently failed to have priests step aside because he considered it unjust as allegations of abuse were not substantiated. He resigned in April 2002.

Irish police were blamed for not keeping records of informal complaints of abuse, including an allegation that 10 girls were sexually assaulted by a priest at the altar in the parish church of Monageer.

The current Bishop of Ferns, Eamonn Walsh, apologised unreservedly for the horrific abuse people in the diocese had suffered. The taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, said immediate action would be taken on the "shocking" report.


#83204 - 10/28/05 01:21 AM Re: Church, police, state: all failed r*ped children
Ivanhoe Offline

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907
Does anyone remember what happened to the idea of prosecuting the Catholic church using the RICO act? That's the one that they use to prosecute organized criminals. Why isn't this considered organized crime, at least the cover up is. Hmmm, maybe Interpol could be persuaded.


"No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence."
George Eliot

#83205 - 11/03/05 05:12 AM Re: Church, police, state: all failed r*ped children
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Abuse on this scale has to be organized, the abusers involved must have had some degree of involvement with each other and some degree of protection.

How else could this have gone on at this scale for for so long?


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#83206 - 11/05/05 09:49 PM Re: Church, police, state: all failed r*ped children
Rustam Offline

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 474
Loc: UK
I have been watching Irish TV about the report, itís amazing to me how open and honest the debate is, itís a social revolution; the government response to the report looks really promising. What happened in that part of Ireland looks so far to be the worst case of clergy abuse in the catholic world, with 10% of the clergy abusing children. It looks like there will be more enquiries in other areas, no doubt they will show similar levels of horror.

Irish society had such heavy collective denial, child abuse could not happen in our holy church going society such things only happened in immoral godless lands. I think the whole society knew and refused to know the extent of abuse, the strength of faith itself provided an extra level of denial and a society where religion was so central made seeing the truth impossible. An author wrote a novel about an incestuous father son relationship in 1965, it was banned in Ireland as immoral and he lost his job teaching in a priest run school. For such a god fearing society talk of the issue was considered immoral and Ďdirtyí.

I donít think the priests needed to organise, they had a free hand under their own theocratic repressive rule. Itís hard to describe just how hideously powerful they were. The church provided a haven and protection for abusers, as an institution it was rotten from top to bottom, thatís not to say that there wasnít a few priests who tried to do something about it, one priest I saw interviewed was demoted and silenced when he tried to highlight the problem.

It gives me hope to see Ireland at last facing up to the epidemic of sexual abuse and that future generations wonít suffer this horror at the hands of the catholic church.


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