Tuesday 24 October 2017

Adult survivors make 197 new abuse allegations

John Cooney

A TOTAL of 197 new abuse allegations by adult survivors were reported to the Catholic Church's national child protection office from April 1 last year until the end of March 2010.

Of these, 87 were made against priests in the 26 dioceses of the Republic and the North, while 110 clerics were in Religious Orders and missionary societies.

All allegations were reported to the statutory authorities in the jurisdiction in which the alleged offences occurred.

Eighty-three of the alleged perpetrators are dead, but 114 are still alive.

Of those living today, 35 have already been laicised or dismissed from their congregation or orders.

A number of these fresh cases were found to be further allegations relating to individuals who were already identified as being a risk to children.

According to the National Board for Safeguarding Children's second annual report, the standard form of disclosure in the church involves adults talking about experiences they had as children.

None of the 197 allegations originated from children or young people.

Some went back to events that took place in the 1950s and 1960s. But they were emerging for the first time and were reported as new allegations.

The new allegations involving living perpetrators can be further divided into those that are out of ministry entirely, those who remain in some form of limited ministry and others who are retired.

In respect of the 47 allegations reported from the dioceses against living individuals, 24 of these are out of ministry entirely.

Ten are still priests but are within some form of limited ministry. Five have been laicised and eight are retired but not active as clerics in any form of ministry.

All have been reported to the statutory authorities.

Amongst the Religious, 67 allegations related to individuals who are alive today.

Five are in limited ministry and 32 are out of ministry entirely. The remaining 30 have been dismissed from their orders or congregations.

Of all those in some form of limited ministry, the National Office was provided with information by the relevant church authority upon which they based their decision to allow the individual to continue in such limited ministry.

A review of child-protection policies at Catholic dioceses in the North -- including the Diocese of Raphoe -- is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The board said it was committed to a nationwide audit of all church authorities and the first phase would be done by December.

The former Bishop of Raphoe, Seamus Hegarty, has been challenged to account for his handling of clerical child abuse allegations during his time in office between 1982 and 1994.

Comment, page 23

Irish Independent

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