Wednesday 24 January 2018

Victims demand church leader resigns over 'gross failures'

BREDA HEFFERNAN

VICTIMS of clerical sex abuse have united in their call for the immediate resignation of Cardinal Sean Brady, saying he has been "personally implicated" in the cover-up of paedophile priests.

Colm O'Gorman, a founder of the survivors' support group One in Four, and himself a victim of paedophile Fr Sean Fortune, said the cardinal no longer has any credibility in dealing with the growing crisis within the Catholic Church.

He argued that rather than being a junior priest at the time of the meetings in 1975 with two victims of Fr Brendan Smyth, the then 36-year-old Fr Brady was a highly educated canon lawyer who was fully aware of the seriousness of the crimes detailed before him.

"He believed that this out-of-control paedophile had abused children and he did nothing to report this crime to the police either then or, it would appear, at any point over the next 20 years during which Smyth continued to rape and abuse in parishes in Ireland and the US with near impunity.

"Instead he took part in a cover-up of Smyth's crimes and swore his victims to secrecy."

Mr O'Gorman said the Primate of All Ireland must now follow through on a comment made during an RTE interview last December when he said that, if he was aware a failure by him to act had allowed a priest to continue abusing children, then he would resign.

"Cardinal Brady is now deeply personally implicated in the gross failures of the Catholic Church in the management of Smyth and his rampant sexual offending against children. And on that basis, and given his statement of December 2009, he must resign," he added.

The call was echoed by Andrew Madden, another survivor of clerical sex abuse, who said there was no trust between victims and the church.

"He said in December that he would resign... that time has now arrived. His failure caused the sexual abuse of more children. He needs to own up to that failure and step aside."

He said Cardinal Brady had failed to "put his head above the parapet" and challenge what was going on in the church at the time. Instead he "played his part" in allowing Smyth to continue abusing children.

"His position is completely untenable. I don't trust any of them at this stage. Cardinal Brady needs to make a statement as soon as possible."

Irish Independent

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