independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

No charges for priest after probe

Father Hugh Kennedy was asked to temporarily stop working in St Peter's Cathedral last year

No criminal charges are to be brought against a west Belfast priest who stepped down after the church received claims about his conduct.

Father Hugh Kennedy was asked to temporarily stop working in St Peter's Cathedral last year while church authorities passed the information to the police and social services. He was already on sick leave at that point.

Specific allegations were not outlined, but at the time Fr Kennedy issued a statement insisting he was not a child molester.

Police have confirmed that their investigation is now complete. No file will be passed to the Public Prosecution Service.

The priest will remain on leave from duties while a separate internal investigation by the Catholic church is conducted.

Fr Kennedy was ordained a priest in 1981 when he was studying at the Irish College in Rome. He was appointed administrator at St Peter's in 2006.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Down and Connor said: "The Diocese of Down and Connor has received confirmation that, following an investigation by the relevant authorities, no criminal charges will be brought against Fr Hugh Kennedy.

"The normal review under the Church's Safeguarding Policy and Procedures and its own internal process has resumed."

Press Association

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