11 Dec 2010

Irish priest on child protection board resigns after giving victim's confidential statement to accused priest

IrishCentral - June 25, 2010

Accused priest given victims file in new church scandal

Child protection delegate handed over a confidential file containing evidence of child abuse to the priest at the centre of the allegations

The Catholic Church are currently investigating claims that the child protection delegate in the diocese of Clone handed over a confidential file containing evidence of child abuse to the priest at the centre of the allegations.

Fr Bill Bermingham was appointed child protection delegate for the the Clone diocese by the Catholic Church's National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) in 2008.

The NSBC is currently seeking to meet with Birmingham to determine his motivations behind the handing over of the confidential file to the accused.

It was revealed that Birmingham took an informal statement from a woman last year and gave a copy of the statement to the accused priest before he was questioned by the police.

It has also emerged that several other priests saw the confidential statement.

The alleged victim was made aware of the leaking of her statement and subsequently lodged a formal complaint to the NSBC a few months ago.

Archbishop Diarmuid Dunne has been informed of the incident as has the Catholic Church's clerical abuse helpline, Faoiseamh and victim support group, One in Four.

According to the Irish Examiner, Birmingham has not responded too any requests for an interview and the Clone diocese has refused to comment on the situation until the Dublin Archdiocese report is published in the Autumn.

One in Four chief executive Maeve Lewis said she was "horrified by" the actions of the Clone diocese but refused to make any further comments as the victim is one of her clients.

"This action may not have broken specific Church protocol but it is a horrific betrayal of a victim," said Lewis.

Birmingham was appointed child protection delegate for the Clone diocese after child protection standards were found to be "inadequate and in some respects dangerous".

The victim who wishes not to be named released a damning statement: "Nothing has changed whatsoever in the past 18 months despite claims to the contrary.

"I feel like I have been run over by a number of trains in the way I have been treated by the Church in the past year.

"I am so angry and appalled any information about me could be passed on to anyone else. Yet I am told no criminal law was broke. Where is the justice for the likes of us?"

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BreakingNews.ie - Ireland June 26, 2010

Cloyne's child-protection priest resigns in abuse-case controversy

The priest in charge of child protection in the Diocese of Cloyne has resigned over allegations he acted improperly.

Fr Bill Bermingham's resignation follows reports that he gave information to a priest regarding a sexual abuse complaint against the priest.

Archbishop of Cloyne Dermot Clifford accepted the resignation and praised Father Bermingham for his "unstinting and selfless" work to safeguard children in the diocese.

Last night, Fr Bermingham issued a statement saying he believed he had acted in accordance with the guidelines laid out by the HSE and the Church when dealing with child protection.

He was responding to media reports that when dealing with a complaint of clerical sexual abuse, he had handed over the details of the case to the priest being investigated.

In another statement released this evening however, Fr Bermingham says that, despite his best intentions, his handling of the case served to undermine the confidence of victims of child abuse.

He says that for this reason and in the interests of those who have been offended and in the interests of the Church’s policy for the safeguarding of children, he has asked the Archbishop to relieve him of his role of child protection Officer in the Diocese of Cloyne.

In a staement on the Diocese of Cloyne webiste, Fr Bermingham said he was "deeply upset that the complainant feels distressed by my actions. This was never my intention."

Archbishop Dermot Clifford accepted Father Bermingham's resignation and praised his integrity and commitment to the safeguarding of children in the Church.

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