Sunday 19 November 2017

He started to prey on children before his ordination

Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

BILL CARNEY was a serial sexual abuser who preyed on young boys and girls before he was eventually defrocked.

But prior to the publication of the Murphy report he was better known around north Dublin as a talented golfer, and was even named golfer of the year at the Royal Dublin Golf Club in 1994.

Born in 1950, his abuse of children began at a very early age, even before he was ordained for the Archdiocese of Dublin in 1974.

While at Clonliffe College between 1968 and 1974, Carney went on visits to several children's homes in Dublin and Louth.

At least three former residents of these homes later claimed to have been abused by him.

After his ordination, Carney went on to serve in the archdiocese until 1989, although he was placed in restricted ministry during some of that time.

The Murphy Commission said it was aware of complaints or suspicions of child sexual abuse against him in respect of 32 named individuals.

However, there was evidence he also abused many more children.

The report said there was evidence to suggest on separate occasions he acted in concert with other convicted clerical child sex abusers, Fr Francis McCarthy and Fr Patrick Maguire.

The archdiocese has paid compensation to six of his victims.


The commission found that despite complaints there was a complete lack of competence on the part of the archdiocese in dealing with them.

It found the church authorities either did not understand the threat posed by Carney to children or understood it but did not regard it as a significant consideration.

As a teacher, Carney had access to children in residential care, took groups on holiday and went swimming with groups of children.

He taught at Ballyfermot Vocational School and was also chaplain to a convent in Walkinstown.

In the late 1970s, Carney made inquiries with the health board about fostering children but was refused. Gardai first became aware of his activities when two altar boys he had abused made complaints in 1983.

One of the boys said he had been fondled by the priest while sleeping in his bed.

Further victims were also discovered by investigators and charges were brought in relation to six boys.

Carney pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault. Four other counts were dropped.

The judge gave him the Probation Act after hearing he was receiving psychiatric treatment.

After being released from hospital he was given a temporary assignment in Clonskeagh parish and went to live with the Marist Fathers in Milltown. They were never told the reason he was sent to stay with them.

The Murphy report said a number of further allegations emerged after the 1983 case, but Carney was never prosecuted again by gardai.

He was finally removed from the priesthood in 1992 after being found guilty of child sex abuse following a secret Canon law trial.

Carney later became a taxi driver.

On one occasion a person who made an abuse allegation against him inadvertently got into his cab.

Carney left Ireland a short time later and went to live in Cheltenham, England, and later St Andrews in Scotland.

Irish Independent

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