Irish News

Friday 1 August 2014

Notorious paedophile priest was caught out by his own arrogance

Published 11/08/2011|05:00

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Fr Eugene Greene went to the gardai when one of his victims attempted to blackmail him

FATHER Eugene Greene is the most notorious paedophile to have operated in the Raphoe Diocese, starting his abuse of young boys in the 1960s and continuing until he was caught by his own pomposity 30 years later.

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When one of his victims attempted to blackmail him, Greene felt confident enough to call gardai to lodge a complaint.

It was to be his own arrogance which led to his downfall and a 12-year prison sentence -- not the Catholic Church. He believed he could report the blackmail and get away with it.

But he hadn't counted on a thorough investigation by local detectives who spent months interviewing dozens of victims and chronicling their horror in statement after statement.

Greene went to gardai on December 20, 1997, to make his blackmail allegations. Two years later he faced 115 sample charges relating to the buggery, gross indecency and indecent assault of 26 young boys. He pleaded guilty to 40. The only evidence against Greene was that of his many victims.

Complaints

Not a single piece of paper existed in Raphoe Diocese records on allegations going back three decades even though complaints had been made against him by parents on several occasions.

Greene would groom his victims, many just eight years old, by offering them drink and cigarettes.

He would take some of them out to collect turf and allow them to drive his car on the return journey back to the parochial house.

One victim would tell gardai later: "It was worse than hell. I felt so alone. I had nobody to turn to. I did want to tell my own dad but I said to myself if I told them they would say 'No, the priest can never do that'."

He was sentenced to 12 years and was released on December 8, 2008.

There was uproar from victims when it emerged that former parishioners had collected €50,000 for Greene. Voices of the Faithful, a support group, said the scale of donations to Greene indicated a "most serious state of denial of the most horrific crimes in Donegal".

In his book 'Breaking the Silence' retired Garda Martin Ridge details investigations into three paedophiles. It outlines his investigation into the abuse crimes of Fr Eugene Greene, schoolteacher Denis McGinley and an unnamed third man against boys in various parishes in west Donegal.

Irish Independent

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