Saturday 18 November 2017

Censored section in Murphy sex abuse report set to be published

Ruaidhri Giblin

A censored chapter in Judge Yvonne Murphy's report into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations by the Catholic Church and State is finally set for full publication.

Chapter 20 has remained censored on foot of a High Court direction that its full publication could damage the trial of a defrocked priest charged with the sexual assault of children in the 1970s and 80s.

Former priest Patrick McCabe was sentenced last week by the Circuit Criminal Court after having pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two 13-year-old boys.

Although sentenced by Judge Margaret Heneghan to two concurrent 18-month jail terms, he walked free from the court because he had already been in custody for longer than the sentences handed down.

As a result of his trial, there is now no further need for the blanked-out chapter to remain secret.

McCabe was extradited from California in June 2011 and had been in custody for 21 months awaiting sentence. His identity could not be revealed last year when he pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting five other boys.

The handling of complaints made against McCabe was the subject of chapter 20 in the Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin diocese, chaired by Judge Yvonne Murphy and known as the Murphy Report.

The inquiry was set up by Government to investigate how church and State handled clerical child sex abuse allegations in the Dublin diocese between 1975 and 2004.

The report examined the handling of complaints made against a representative sample of 46 priests, though complaints had been levelled against more than 100. The report was published in 2009.

Chapter 19, also censored for similar legal reasons, was not published until the sentencing in 2010 of Tony Walsh, "probably the most notorious" abuser, according to the report.

Among the 50 pages of chapter 20, many of which were published blank, it was stated that the McCabe case "encapsulates everything that was wrong" with the Dublin diocese's handling of child sexual abuse cases.

According to the report, Archbishop Ryan not only knew about the complaints against McCabe but had "protected him to an extraordinary extent. . . It seems that the welfare of children simply did not play any part in his decisions", it stated.

Judge Murphy went on to state that "connivance by the gardai in effectively stifling one complaint and failing to investigate another, and in allowing [McCabe] to leave the country was shocking".

Following McCabe's sentencing, one of his victims, James Moran, waived his right to anonymity.

He said on Wednesday that he was alarmed to discover it could be months before the remainder of the Murphy Report was published.

Mr Moran said the legal reasons for withholding parts of chapter 20 no longer existed, and he had written to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter asking him for the date of release.

No further victims of McCabe are due to come before the courts, so there are no implications for the Murphy Report, Mr Moran said.

"Surely the time to release it is now, so the Irish people and the wider world will discover the truth, even if unpalatable," he said.

In a victim impact statement submitted to the court, Mr Moran said his voice was being heard after a long and painful journey.

"I have waited nearly 37 years for acknowledgment and justice," he said, adding that he often thought of all the victims who had been too afraid or too ashamed to come forward and expose the contamination within the church.

McCabe had changed the path of his life for ever, and while he may never be able to forgive completely, he wanted to begin some kind of healing process, he said.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News