2 Nov 2010

New report on Catholic cover-up of abuse in Dublin details "horrific acts of depravity"

Yahoo News - Associated Press July 21, 2009

Ireland: Report shows `horrific acts of depravity'

by Shawn Pogatchnik | Associated Press writer

DUBLIN – A new report by investigators into the Catholic Church's cover-up of child abuse in Dublin details "horrific acts of depravity" that went for decades without prosecution, Ireland's justice minister said Tuesday.

The report to Justice Minister Dermot Ahern comes two months after publication of an even bigger investigation into how scores of church-run schools, orphanages and reformatories harbored child abusers in religious orders from the 1930s to 1990s.

Irish taxpayers have already paid out nearly euro1 billion ($1.4 billion) to more than 12,000 victims from that system.

Ahern said he would publish the new report, which probes how the Dublin archdiocese's bishops dealt with scores of priests accused of child abuse from 1975 to 2004, after Attorney General Paul Gallagher vets it for legal problems.

The justice minister suggested that the government might be advised to censor details involving criminal cases against three Catholic priests expected to face trial in Dublin next year. The Justice Department said the review could take several weeks.

"I am anxious that the matters dealt with in the report are put into the public domain as quickly as possible," Ahern said.

The Dublin report took three years to produce under the direction of a Dublin High Court judge, Justice Yvonne Murphy.

It covers the cases of 46 priests implicated in abusing hundreds of children — and, in almost all cases, being transferred to new parishes by bishops who didn't tell police or other child-protection authorities about the crimes or dangers. The 46 cases were drawn from a much larger pool of priests suspected of harming children.

Several of the cases are already well known to the Irish public, thanks in part to a former altar boy, Andrew Madden, who in the early 1990s became the first abuse victim to sue the church in Dublin for protecting sex-abuser priests. The Dublin archdiocese paid him a confidential out-of-court settlement — but he went public with the deal after church leaders claimed they had admitted no wrongdoing in his case.

The priest who raped Madden, Ivan Payne, was convicted in 1998 of raping at least eight boys and removed from the priesthood.

Madden predicted that the Dublin report would fire a new wave of anger at the church.

"The thing that will really shock people this time is simply seeing how many senior church people in Dublin knew exactly what was going on," he said in an interview. "They had so much evidence of the dangers these priests were posing to children, but they just kept moving them on to new parishes."

In Madden's case, the priest who sodomized him was sent to a different part of Dublin — where he was placed in charge of that parish's altar boys.

Catholic abuse scandals have done exceptional damage to the church's standing in Ireland, a once-devout nation where Mass attendance has slumped over the past two decades.


On the Net:

Dublin abuse commission: http://www.dacoi.ie/

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