Monday 23 October 2017

Ex-clergyman in jail after child abuse conviction

Melanie Fin

A FORMER Church of Ireland clergyman is in custody after being convicted of indecently assaulting a minor.

Bishop Richard Clarke of Meath and Kildare sent a letter to clergy in his diocese informing them that former Reverend Glenn Milne pleaded guilty in court last week to abusing a minor.

The case, heard at Trim Circuit Court, involved a teenage boy who had been a pupil at a Church of Ireland school in Westmeath. Milne pleaded guilty to the offence, which happened in December of last year.

Milne served as rector of Castlepollard for eight years before resigning from his post last year.

A former British Army chaplain and an honorary clerical secretary to the Diocesan Council, he has been remanded in custody.

Bishop Richard Clarke sent a letter, dated November 11, to clergy in the diocese saying how it was "with great sadness" that he was telling them about the abuse case.

"Young people deserve only care and support from members of the clergy. For this to be abused in any way is appalling. This matter has I know brought devastation to all concerned," he said. "We do not yet know what publicity may be engendered by these events but I felt that you as former colleagues of Glenn Milne should be made aware of the situation by me as your bishop."

Bishop Clarke added that no excuses could or should be made for Milne's actions.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the diocese said its first concern was for Mr Milne's victim.

He said Bishop Clarke contacted the young person and his family at an early stage, offering any pastoral care he could and this offer remained open.

"But everyone else involved has been profoundly damaged, and should also be in people's prayers," he said.

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