Sex-suspect priest 'dumped' in US
Parishioners had no idea abuse complaints were made against Irish cleric
Published 21/08/2010 | 05:00
THE late Archbishop of Dublin did a deal with an American bishop to "dump" an Irish priest embroiled in sex abuse complaints, on a US diocese, it was claimed last night.
Fr Patrick Joseph McCabe (74) faces extradition to Ireland after he was arrested on a federal warrant in San Francisco two weeks ago.
He faces charges he sexually assaulted six boys in Ireland from 1973 to 1981. Fr McCabe is currently in custody without bail in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, just outside San Francisco.
A man claiming he was molested as a 10-year-old by Fr McCabe filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa this week. He said the church knew the priest had been accused of abusing boys but had failed to warn the parish where he worked. The man's lawyer Joseph George, claimed the late Archbishop Ryan "made a deal" with the former Bishop of Santa Rosa.
The deal was to "dump" Fr McCabe on unsuspecting parishioners when he was assigned as assistant pastor at St Bernard's Church in Eureka, California from 1983 to '85.
"This person never disclosed that he had been molested until the last couple of weeks, when he realised what the diocese had done to him," Mr George said of his client.
Details of McCabe's case match those of an unidentified priest, described in last year's Murphy Report on child abuse, in the Dublin archdiocese.
It noted the first formal complaints of alleged sexual abuse against the priest surfaced in mid 1970s. Following consultations he was sent for treatment in England in 1981.
Two years later, Archbishop Ryan contacted Bishop Mark Hurley in the diocese of Santa Rosa "asking him to, as it were 'rid me of this troublesome priest' and Bishop Hurley agreed", according to the report. Mr George said he was in no doubt the priest referred to in the report was Fr McCabe.
In his lawsuit, filed in Sonoma County Superior Court, the US plaintiff, referred to only as John Doe 76, alleges he was sexually molested by Fr McCabe in 1984, in St Bernard's Church.
The 10-page document, in which the alleged victim is seeking unspecified damages for physical, mental and emotional suffering, claims that in or around 1983 the Archbishop of Dublin -- then Dermot Ryan -- spoke with Bishop Mark Hurley of Santa Rosa to allow Fr McCabe to run St Bernard's Church in Eureka.
"At no time did defendant diocese ever send an official, a member of the clergy, an investigator or an employee or independent contractor to St Bernard's Church in Eureka to advise the parishioners either verbally or through a church bulletin that there were credible allegations against Fr McCabe and to request that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered sexual abuse to come forward and file a report with the police department," according to the lawsuit. Bishop of Santa Rosa, Daniel Walsh, sent a letter this week to St Bernard's parishioners saying he learned a week earlier that Fr McCabe was assigned the parish of St Bernard in the early 1980s.
"Past clergy sexual abuse of minors is a great shame for the Church we all love," he said.
"But it is something that the Church must face and deal with in compassion and understanding for the innocent victims."