Abuse cover-ups 'across all dioceses', say victims
Published 14/07/2011 | 05:00
GROUPS supporting the victims of clerical sex abuse have said the damning Cloyne report indicates other dioceses have covered up sex abuse by the clergy.
Reacting to the publication of the 400-page report yesterday, victims said it was worrying that the Catholic Church continued to fail children as recently as 2009.
Maeve Lewis of the One in Four support group pointed to the publication of previous reports into the Ferns and Dublin dioceses, which also highlighted failures by the church to protect children. The 2005 Ferns report listed more than 100 allegations of sexual abuse, paedophilia, rape and other crimes against minors by 21 priests in the diocese over 40 years.
Four years later, the Murphy Report into the Dublin Diocese named a number of bishops and auxiliary bishops who failed to properly investigate abuse claims and failed to protect children from sexual abuse.
"All three dioceses that have now been investigated have been found guilty of the same policy of deliberate cover-up and the reckless endangerment of children, and there is no reason to believe that the other 23 would be different," Ms Lewis said.
"While individual bishops retain the power to decide how guidelines should be applied, the same problems are going to arise.
"Despite endless promises from the church, the Cloyne Report must raise major concerns about children's safety in other dioceses."
High-profile victim and campaigner Andrew Madden said we could "take it as read that there was the same level of cover-up across the Catholic Church in Ireland".
Mr Madden stopped short of calling for an investigation into the remaining dioceses.
But he said the publication of the investigations was often the only justice victims got, adding the Catholic bishops "cannot be trusted with allegations of child sexual abuse".
Children's Rights Alliance chief executive Senator Jillian van Turnhout said the report highlighted the "systematic disregard of children, their rights, and their inherent human dignity by Catholic Church officials".
"The culture of inaction by the Vatican magnified the problems," she said.
"Here is yet another distressing report that clearly demonstrates how children were continually failed by adults whose priority should have been the safeguarding of their rights and best interests."
Chief executive of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop described the findings as a "terrible indictment of the inertia" within the diocese towards child protection.
She added that the Catholic Church no longer had the excuse of saying they were on a "learning curve".
Advocacy director Norah Gibbons pointed out that there had been numerous reports over the past two years highlighting failures within child-protection systems.
"The law of the land has to be clarified on this issue and everyone held accountable to it."
Colm O'Gorman of Amnesty International said the report showed how the State relied on assurances from the church that children were being protected.
And he insisted the Government's strong words yesterday must now be "backed up with action".