Middle-aged man claims young priest he met through gay dating site sexually assaulted him

A middle-aged man has claimed he was sexually assaulted on Catholic church property by a young cleric he met through a gay dating site.

By Sarah MacDonald

It is understood that Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has been made aware of the allegations.

The gardaí’s sexual assault unit has reportedly also been informed but cannot launch an investigation until the alleged victim comes forward to them.

It is alleged that the young member of the clergy first met the individual in 2015 on the site which is geared towards those interested in mature men.

In his profile, the young cleric expressed a preference for men aged between 50 and 90.

The man alleges he visited the cleric at a presbytery in 2015 and stayed there overnight.

He claims that he left to go to bed early, and was later awoken by the cleric who proceeded to sexually assault him.

The man, who is described as a rural-based professional, this week informed an inside source in the church of what had occurred in the Catholic presbytery.

The man told the source that he had not yet approached the gardaí as he was fearful that this would result in his sexuality being revealed.

The alleged victim claimed that after he tried to confront the cleric about the alleged assault, he received a number of aggressive messages from the young cleric. The man has told the source he was fearful that the young cleric would tell others that he was gay.

An inside source in the church told the Irish Independent that he had this week emailed all the relevant information to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

He said that he had also spoken to Dr Martin twice by telephone, once on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday evening.

Some of the material emailed to Dr Martin relates to one sexually explicit image and one facial image of the cleric which he had emailed to his alleged victim.

“I believe this young man is not suitable for priesthood,” the source told the Irish Independent.

The source expressed concern that the young cleric, who recently took a vow of celibacy, “may do this (sexual assault) again in the future”.

The Irish Independent asked the archbishop if he was aware of the allegations and if he was investigating them or reporting them to gardaí.

However, despite several requests for a comment, no response was forthcoming from the archbishop.

The allegations come as the archbishop lands in Rome ahead of the Irish bishops’ ad limina visit to the Vatican, which will see all of the country’s Catholic bishops meet Pope Francis next Friday.

While a papal visit in 2018 is likely to be high on the agenda, last year’s scandal in Maynooth seminary is also likely to figure prominently.

The Pope has on a number of occasions made his concerns about priestly formation known.

In his profile on the gay dating website, which is no longer online, the young cleric describes himself as ‘versatile’ when it comes to sex. The description said that although he likes deep conversations, he also enjoys “no-strings-attached” sex “every now and then”.

Last August, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin announced he was withdrawing some of his seminarians from Maynooth after it was revealed that some trainee priests were using the gay dating app Grindr.

The latest scandal emerges as the Irish bishops signalled that they are unwilling to bring before Pope Francis calls by members of the Irish laity for married priests, despite the crisis in vocations and collapse in priestly numbers.

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