Thursday 17 October 2019

Serial offender's past is still being probed

Edel Kennedy

Thomas Naughton is a serial paedophile who has had more than 20 complaints of child sex abuse made against him.

But the Murphy report believes there are "many more" victims of the priest who preyed on altar boys.

Naughton was ordained in 1963 at St Patrick's Missionary Society, Kiltegan, Co Wicklow, where he has been living under supervision for the past few years. He spent time in Africa and is suspected of having abused children while working in the West Indies.

On his return to Ireland in 1976, he worked in a number of parishes before being sent to Valleymount, Blessington, Co Wicklow. The first known complaint against him was made in 1983 when two parishoners approached Bishop Donal Murray, who was an auxiliary in the Dublin diocese at the time, with concerns about Naughton's behaviour.

Therapy

They were worried he was "too close to the altar boys" but refused to be specific -- something Dr Murray later used in his defence when questioned by the Murphy Commission. He said no specific complaint of child sex abuse was made at that time.

The following year Naughton was transferred to Donnycarney, Dublin, where he carried out a serious sexual assault on an 11-year-old altar boy, Mervyn Rundle. He was later referred for therapy but Dr Murray failed to tell the psychiatrist treating Naughton that the priest had been accused of child sex abuse on more than one occasion. And the commission found that Naughton was a "reluctant participant" in therapy.

In 1986, Naughton was moved to Ringsend where, despite his background, he was given responsibility for some work in schools. Two years later he was relieved of his duties in Ringsend.

At least four complainants have come forward from Valleymount, but it is suspected that up to 12 children were abused. There were also complaints from Ringsend and a "number of complainants" have settled civil claims against him. In 1998, he was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to six charges of indecently assaulting four altar boys between 1984 and 1988. His sentence was reduced on appeal to two-and-a-half years.

"During the currency of the Commission, a number of complaints have been received and are in the process of being investigated," the Commission stated.

Despite two convictions for child sex abuse Naughton is still a priest of the Dublin archdiocese.

Irish Independent

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