Seventy Irish priests working in US accused of sexual abuse
AMERICAN victims of clerical child abuse have revealed a direct link to scandals in Ireland, with the discovery that 70 Irish-born priests who worked in the US have been accused of paedophile crimes.
This dramatic disclosure follows the admission by the archdiocese of Boston that the list includes the late Fr Brendan Smyth, who worked briefly in Arlington two decades ago.
It had previously been thought that at that time he was on the run in the Republic from police in Belfast.
The Boston archdiocese was responding to the demands of victim-support groups, which have alleged in the wake of the Murphy Report that church leaders in Ireland sent accused priests to dioceses in other countries, including the US.
The revelations come as Irish victims of clerical child abuse have reacted furiously to the refusal of a retired Dublin auxiliary bishop to accept the finding of the Murphy Report that church authorities covered up paedophile crimes and either transferred offenders to other parishes or sent them abroad.
Bishop Dermot O'Mahony, who was censured in the report for his handling of complaints, has attempted to rally Dublin priests to his defence by openly challenging Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
Last month, Archbishop Martin claimed that Bishop O'Mahony showed neither remorse nor apology and withdrew permission for him to administer the sacrament of confirmation.
Last night, prominent abuse victim Andrew Madden, who first outed the notorious Fr Ivan Payne, said Bishop O'Mahony should reflect on the damage done to so many children by what he did and failed to do.
Maeve Lewis, executive director of the One In Four victim-support group, said the bishop appeared to be questioning the validity of the Murphy Report's conclusion that there was a deliberate policy to cover up allegations of sexual abuse.
She added: "It is this culture of denial which facilitated the sexual abuse of children in the first place.
"If this response to the Murphy Report is widespread, then the Catholic Church will never be a safe place for children."
The US revelations came after an organisation called BishopAccountability.org published a list of 70 priests from Ireland who had been accused of molesting children, either in Ireland or while they were working in the United States.
This followed a public letter to Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, head of the Boston Archdiocese, asking him to identify any priests who have faced accusations of abuse elsewhere and who had worked in the area.
The Boston archdiocese disclosed that it had granted faculties to three priests on the list, including the late Brendan Smyth. The faculties permitted the clergymen to celebrate Mass and perform other duties.
In addition to Smyth, they include Joseph T. Maguire, a priest from the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, who was convicted of molesting more than a dozen boys in the state, and who died in 2005.
The archdiocese said that a review of its records shows that it was not aware of any accusations having been made against the priests when they were granted faculties, and that it found no records of accusations while the priests were there.
A spokesman said Smyth, the notorious Norbertine monk from Kilnacrott Abbey, in Co Cavan, who died in prison in 1997, was given permission to work as a priest in the archdiocese for two days in 1991.
But the Boston archdiocese has insisted that it has no record of any accusations being made against Fr Smyth while he was working for two days in St Camillus parish in Arlington.