Monday 23 October 2017

DPP examines abuse 'cover-up'

Charges may follow two-year probe into Murphy commission findings

Tom Brady Security Editor

PROSECUTORS are to next month begin sifting through new garda files that examined the alleged cover-up of clerical sexual abuse in the Dublin archdiocese by bishops, gardai and state officials.

A two-year investigation into the findings of the Murphy commission is expected in the coming weeks.

The revelation comes on the second anniversary of the report's publication.

A second and final file on the outcome of garda inquiries in allegations of the covering up of abuse will be forwarded to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and then sent to the DPP, who will determine if criminal charges should be brought.

An initial file on the first half of their investigation was sent to the DPP.

The team of 10 investigating detectives, headed by assistant commissioner John O'Mahony, was set up in November 2009 to determine whether the clergy and others had criminal cases to answer.

The officers had to look at 36 cases, which were outlined by the commission, and then decided to break up the findings into two sections.

Handled

The inquiry's remit is to examine the findings of Murphy in relation to how complaints of abuse were handled, carry out investigations and inquiries, and present recommendations to the commissioner.

The detectives encountered a number of obstacles as they were unable to rely on evidence gathered by Murphy as the State gave a legal undertaking that the testimony would not be used in criminal prosecutions.

And a number of people, who could help certain aspects of the inquiry are now dead or living overseas.

There were also difficulties with the legislation that existed at the time of the alleged offences, as it meant that sex crimes were treated as misdemeanours, removing some of the onus on those who failed to report them to the gardai.

New laws are to be introduced in the wake of the publication of the Cloyne report this year and, in future, priests will be jailed for up to five years if they fail to report paedophiles to gardai, even if they are told of the abuse in the confession box.

The Murphy commission on Dublin concluded that archbishops handled child sexual abuse complaints badly, with none reporting knowledge of abuse between the 1960s and 1980s. A number of auxiliary bishops were also criticised.

The commission found that some gardai considered the investigation of clergy outside their remit and, in some cases, complaints received by gardai were reported to the archdiocese rather than being investigated.

After the report was published, four bishops tendered their resignations. Two auxiliary bishops also offered their resignations but Pope Benedict did not accept them.

The same garda team has also begun an investigation into the findings of the Cloyne commission.

sam smyth, page 31

Irish Independent

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