Saturday 10 December 2016

Sex abuser priest says: I’m no threat or danger to children

Rod Minchin

Published 30/08/2011 | 12:49

Bill Carney photographed in the Canary islands last year. Photo: BBC

A former priest exposed as a serial child sex abuser today claimed he posed no "threat or danger to children".

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Bill Carney was accused by the Murphy report, of abusing at least 32 children.



Carney, who was ordained in 1974 and defrocked in 1992, left Ireland and was traced to Spain before settling in Gloucestershire.



Earlier this year a newspaper in Gloucestershire published an article revealing he was living in the home of his ex-wife, close to a children's playground.



Today, the newspaper published a letter Carney had written in response to that article.



"Your article depicts me as a threat or a danger to children. Nothing could be further from the truth," he wrote.



"For over 30 years now I have been a recovering alcoholic and the only mark against my name is three points on my driving licence for doing 38mph in a 40mph area.



"In these 30 years there has not been the slightest suggestion of anything that would indicate that I am a danger to any child.



"I have lived in Northleach for about seven years and I have been in that playground once and again in my time and years in Northleach. Nothing has occurred to suggest that I was in any way, shape of form a danger to the welfare of any child."



Carney likened himself to Andy Coulson – the British Prime Minister David Cameron's former director of communications - and said: "The Prime Minister said he gave Mr Andy Coulson a second chance and that everyone does deserve a second chance.



"Over 30 years ago was a very low and sad time in my life, I was given a second chance.



"A chance to stop drinking and begin again to live a good life and be a good person. I grabbed that chance with both hands and I am today a good person doing my best to have a good life, one day at a time.



"I know in my heart what kind of person I am today and I know that I do not pose any threat of danger to any child, 30 years surely must mean and say something.



"I am a good honest Christian living as best I can one day at a time and your article and whatever others say, thank God, does not change that. All I ask for is a chance."



The report by the Commission of Investigation into the Dublin Archdiocese, headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy, said Carney had pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault in 1983 against two altar boys.



"He was one of the most serious serial abusers investigated by the Commission," the report stated.



"There is some evidence suggesting that, on separate occasions, he may have acted in concert with other convicted clerical child sexual abusers."



The report quoted a letter written by the tribunal that defrocked Carney in 1992 to Archbishop Desmond Connell, the then Archbishop of Dublin.



The letter stated: "Like alcoholism there is no hope of cure for the paedophile unless he comes to terms with his complaint.



"To this day the accused has refused - despite a civil court case and much other evidence - to admit that he suffers from this paraphilia."



Carney has never been tried for any of the allegations made in the report.



In March last year the BBC's Panorama found him living in Spain.



"I have read the Murphy report six or seven times," he told the programme.



"And I would dispute all of it except that I pleaded guilty to two charges in 1983 and the matter was dealt with by the court and I was sentenced."



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