Wednesday 17 January 2018

Smyth: decades of horrific crimes against children

Brendan Smyth is Ireland's most infamous sexual predator. His catalogue of abuse is one of the most serious scandals to challenge the Catholic Church. Here, we track his career over 50 years.

• 1945: Brendan Smyth, aged 18, joined the Norbertine Order of Monks, based in Killnacrott's Holy Trinity Abbey in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan.

• 1951: Began work as a priest in west Belfast and began abusing children.

• 1965: Sent to Rhode Island in the US on loan as a parish priest.

• 1968: After his return from the US, the Norbertines refer Smyth for treatment for child abuse for the first time to Purdysburn Hospital outside of Belfast.

• 1973: Sent for treatment to a hospital in Dublin.

• 1974: Institutionalised for a period at Stroud in Gloucestershire.

• 1975: Complaints made to bishop of Kilmore Francis Mc-Kiernan about abuse. Complainants sworn to secrecy at meetings attended by Cardinal Sean Brady, then a priest.

• 1980s: Sent to North Dakota, United States, where six boys were reported to have been abused.

• 1990: First complaint about Smyth's abuse was made to the RUC, by a Belfast family.

• 1991: Smyth charged with multiple offences, received bail and failed to turn up for trial.

• 1993, May: British attorney general wrote to Irish attorney general requesting Smyth's extradition.

December: Smyth returned voluntarily to Northern Ireland and handed himself up to the RUC.

• 1994: Jailed in Northern Ireland for the sexual abuse of children.

In November, the Fianna Fail-Labour government fell over attorney general's handling of extradition request for Fr Brendan Smyth to Northern Ireland.

• 1997: Sentenced in Dublin to 12 years for abusing children in the Republic. He died in prison from a heart attack one month later.

He was buried at the order's Co Cavan abbey and the grave covered with concrete to prevent vandalism.

The Norbertines buried him at Kilnacrott Abbey but were later forced to remove the title "reverend" from his headstone following a complaint by one of his victims.

Irish Independent

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