Wednesday 16 October 2019

No reaction, no remorse as sentence handed down

Edel Kennedy

AT an initial glance, he looked much like he did then. Thin, a receding hairline and sharp blue sunken eyes. But today, we know the heinous abuse he and the Catholic hierarchy kept secret.

Today, we know he is a paedophile who ruined the lives of scores of children and that his actions pushed some of those children to later attempt suicide.

Walking into court with the aid of a cane, he was asked whether he had anything to say to his victims. "No, nothing," he replied.

Shuffling into one of the wooden benches, he waited patiently for Mr Justice Michael O'Shea to begin proceedings.

The only time he moved was when he took a comb from his pocket. Then, standing up, he clutched the back of the seat in front for support and, with a shaky hand, he spent a few moments combing his snow-white hair.

The shaking we later found out is because he suffering from the early stages of Parkinson's disease. Incontinence, prostate and cholesterol problems and osteoporosis are also among the health problems the 78-year-old suffers from.

He stood for the five minutes during which the judge passed his sentence -- and only spoke to say 'I do' when asked if he understood the instruction to pay a bond and keep the peace upon his release from prison. But there was no reaction to the two-year sentence -- and he dutifully followed the gardai to the court's cells.

No reaction, no remorse.

But others were not happy. Mervyn Rundle, who secured a record settlement from the Church after being abused by Naughton, said he hoped the paedophile was never released.


He also hit out at what he believed was a lenient sentence, pointing out that Naughton received a two-and-a-half year sentence on appeal for abusing Mr Rundle.

"No sentence is long enough," he said.

He also criticised Bishop Donal Murray, whose resignation will be announced today. "I'd like the authorities to put him through the proper criminal proceedings," Mr Rundle said last night.

Michael O'Brien, of Right to Peace, a victim support group, said Naughton should have been "locked up for life".

And Andrew Madden, who was abused by Fr Ivan Payne, repeated his call for the bishops named alongside Bishop Murray in the report -- Bishops Moriarty, Drennan, Walsh and Field -- to resign.

"They joined with other bishops to issue a statement on December 10, 2009, to say that they are shamed by the extent to which child sexual abuse was covered up in the Archdiocese of Dublin, yet individually they claim to have done nothing wrong," he said.

Meanwhile, current Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said: "Tom Naughton was an abuser who damaged the lives of many innocent young people.

I hope those involved in the proceedings will find some solace and justice in his having to serve a jail sentence for his crimes."

Irish Independent

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