Church accused of adding to trauma of survivor by trying to thwart case involving paedophile priest

— Catholic church’s claim he could not have been an altar boy because he was baptised Anglican proved to be incorrect but delayed case for a year, in a legal move being heavily criticised

The accusation adds to a litany of complaints about the legal tactics being utilised by the Catholic church in Australia for abuse cases.


The Catholic church has been accused of causing added trauma to a survivor after it tried to thwart his case involving a notorious jailed paedophile priest by claiming he could not have been an altar boy because he was baptised in the Anglican church, a move that delayed the case for a year.

The accusation adds to a litany of complaints about the legal tactics being employed by the church in abuse cases, including its repeated attempts to permanently halt cases where paedophile clergy have died, a practice first revealed in an investigation by Guardian Australia.

In late 2020, a survivor who wishes to remain anonymous, sued the Maitland-Newcastle diocese for alleged abuse at the hands of the notorious pedophile Father Vincent Ryan, a priest who, before his recent death, served more than two decades in jail for abusing dozens of children.

The survivor alleged he was abused by Ryan at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Cessnock in the early 1990s, when he worked as an altar server for Sunday mass.

His lawyers, Slater and Gordon, say the church took an aggressive approach to the claim, denying in court documents the abuse could have occurred because the plaintiff had been baptised in the Anglican church. The church alleged that this meant he could not have been an altar server at St Joseph’s and therefore could not have been abused.

The Slater and Gordon New South Wales abuse lawyer Jonathan Georgaklis said the suggestion delayed the claim by more than a year, as the survivor gathered statements from family and former acquaintances, some of whom he hadn’t spoke with in more than a decade, to prove he had served as an altar boy at St Joseph’s.

The process caused added trauma and significant legal expense. When he presented the fresh statements showing his service at the church, the church settled.

“It’s incredibly disappointing for abuse survivors to be treated so poorly by the institution that failed to protect them in the first place and is vicariously liable for the significant impact the abuse they suffered [had] on their lives,” Georgaklis said. “Abuse victims deserve better.”

The diocese said in response that it “regrets any further distress caused to survivors during proceedings”.

In a statement, it said the case was far more complex than simply a question about the religion of the survivor. The diocese said Slater and Gordon was focusing on one aspect of the case.

“[Slater and Gordon’s statement] does not acknowledge the evidence the diocese had from people who were involved in the church and the parish at that time the alleged abuse occurred that raised serious questions as to what actually happened,” the diocese said.

“The doubts that arose in investigating the claim were far broader than a simple question of the religion of the individual involved.”

The diocese said Slater and Gordon produced “credible, independent witness statements in November 2022”. That allowed the diocese to have sufficient certainty that the claim should be settled.

“Some legal firms present strong, well-prepared claims from the beginning that may allow the diocese to resolve the claim sooner than when there is enduring uncertainty.”

Guardian Australia has revealed a shift in the tactics of institutions in abuse cases – primarily Catholic orders operating in NSW – over the past 12 months.

Interviews with more than a dozen plaintiff lawyers and survivors, as well as an analysis of court records in 13 cases, reveal the church is routinely seeking permanent stays where clergy have died, arguing they can no longer receive a fair trial.

Permanent stays, where granted, halt survivors’ claims in their tracks and prevent them from reaching trial.

The church is also using the threat of permanent stays in such cases to low-ball survivors in settlement negotiations, abuse lawyers say.

The tactics, which will be the subject of a Four Corners episode on Monday night, has caused outrage among survivors.

They say the church, itself the architect of a decades-long cover-up of abuse, is effectively using the delay and ensuing death of perpetrators to argue that it can no longer receive a fair trial.

Institutions were emboldened by a decision in the NSW court of appeal last year, first reported by Guardian Australia, which ruled the death of the Lismore priest Father Clarence Anderson left the diocese unable to fairly defend itself against the allegations of a woman known as GLJ, who alleges that she was abused as a 14-year-old girl in 1968.

Court documents show the church had known of other abuse complaints against Anderson before GLJ’s abuse but failed to remove him from circulation, instead moving him between parishes, including Kyogle, Macksville, Maclean and Lismore. All four parishes showed complaints of abuse against Anderson, according to church records unearthed in the case.

GLJ’s lawyers, Ken Cush and Associates, have appealed the decision to the high court. The case is due to be heard in early June.

In another case, also revealed by Guardian Australia, the Marist Brothers Catholic order used the recent death of Brother Francis “Romuald” Cable, one of NSW’s worst Catholic school offenders, to attempt to block a claim by one of his survivors.

The Marists argued his death left the order unable to ask him about the abuse and therefore unable to receive a fair trial.

That argument was made despite the Marists being on notice of the claim for 22 months before Cable died.

They did nothing to seek his response to the allegations in that period.

Lawyers for the survivor, known by the pseudonym Mark Peters, accused the Marist Brothers of deliberately waiting for Cable’s death and then using it to stay the case.

The mother of another of Cable’s victims, Audrey Nash, whose son died by suicide aged 13, heavily criticised the church for its tactics.

“It’s disgraceful. Just disgraceful,” she said earlier this year. “More than that, it’s gutless … They learn nothing, they don’t change. In fact, they get worse.

“Now Romuald is dead, they’re trying to make out you can’t sue. I don’t know, it’s just awful. It really is. It’s worse than that, but I can’t say the words, the swear words.”

The NSW supreme court recently rejected the church’s attempt to use Cable’s death to stay the claim, finding the Marist Brothers should not have “the benefit of its own inaction”.

More recently, Scouts NSW was also successful in seeking a stay in a case where the perpetrator was still alive and available to give evidence about his former employer’s deficient child protection systems.

Despite his availability to give evidence, the courts found he would not be a reliable witness, because he may tend to give evidence that shifted blame onto his former employer.

That, combined with the absence of records and the deaths of other witnesses, left the institution unable to receive a fair trial against allegations it had failed to protect the survivor from harm, the court found.

The decision is being appealed.

The child abuse royal commission did not recommend reforms to end the ability of institutions to use stay applications in abuse cases, though critics say it could not have contemplated that they would be used in this fashion.

The royal commission did, however, make clear recognition of the barriers that delay survivors from coming forward for, on average, 22 years. The royal commission recommended that time limits on bringing claims be removed in recognition of the delay, leading to reforms across all jurisdictions.

Plaintiff lawyers and survivors, including John Ellis, say the use of stay applications where clergy have died goes against the intention of those reforms.

“In circumstances where there has been strong evidence in the royal commission of religious bodies being aware of abuses and covering them up, creating a situation where the leaders of the religious bodies became ‘the keepers of the secrets’, it is immoral for the same institutions to rely on the delay by survivors in coming forward … [and] the death of those ‘secret keepers’ to defeat the claims of survivors,” Ellis said earlier this year.

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic high school teacher returned to classroom after abuse claim

The Attorney General’s report on child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore includes 37 redacted names of officials, clergy and non-clerical members of the Archdiocese.

By , and

The parents never saw the Catholic brother as a threat to their son.

They encouraged his relationship with their boy, allowing him to take the child to baseball games and on overnight trips. They hoped he would inspire the boy to pledge his life to the church, as the man had done.

One night, while the two were sleeping in the same bed, the family friend fondled the boy’s genitals, his sister later reported to authorities. The allegation appears on Page 443 of the Maryland attorney general’s report on child sexual abuse and cover-ups within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The survivor himself described the abuse when contacted by the archdiocese in 2003, according to the report.

He felt responsible for what had happened, the report states, and for 10 years “guilt ate him alive.”

The report refers to the accused man only as “No. 153”; his name and the names of nine others accused of abuse are redacted under an order from the courts.

The Baltimore Banner has identified No. 153 as Ronald Nicholls, 74, of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, who taught social studies at the old Cardinal Gibbons High School in Southwest Baltimore in the 1970s. More recently, he served as a youth mentor and English language teacher at the Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Rehoboth, WRDE Coast TV reported.

Banner reporters matched details in the attorney general’s report to news articles, school yearbooks, property records and church directories to identify him.

Nicholls has not been charged with a crime. He is part of a cluster of eight men accused of child sexual abuse who taught at Cardinal Gibbons or lived in the school’s faculty residence in the 1970s. The archdiocese opened the all-boys school in 1962 and closed it in 2010 after years of declining enrollment.

Reached by phone, Nicholls was asked if he knew the attorney general’s report included one allegation against him.

“This is a personal issue. I’m not going to discuss that. Thanks,” Nicholls told a reporter before hanging up.

Four days later, an attorney sent an email to notify The Banner that Nicholls “reserves his right to pursue any and all defamation lawsuits if you or your company publish any article identifying his name.” The Banner asked the attorney four times if Nicholls denies being No. 153 in the report. The attorney did not respond to phone messages or emails.

The other church figures include the Revs. Joseph G. Fiorentino, No. 148; John Peter Krzyzanski, No. 151; Samuel Lupico, No. 152; and Joseph O’Meara, No. 155. The Banner also identified No. 156 as Michael V. Scriber, who attended a seminary and intended to join the clergy, according to the report, but who dropped out for academic reasons.

Spokespersons for the attorney general’s office and the archdiocese declined to comment for this article.

Also redacted are the names of five church officials who handled allegations of abuse. “Official C” has been identified as as W. Francis Malooly, the retired bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington. That identification was made last month by Terry McKiernan, the founder of, a Massachusetts nonprofit that collects documents related to clergy sexual abuse cases. The Baltimore Sun identified four additional redacted church officials and late Wednesday named the Rev. Thomas J. Hudson of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Western Maryland as alleged abuser No. 150.

Nicholls first came to the attention of the archdiocese in 2003 when the woman reported that he sexually abused her brother, the report states. The document describes the boy as 10 to 12 years old and does not specify the year the alleged abuse took place. His sister decided to speak up after Nicholls contacted her on social media in an attempt to reach him.

“She felt he did so because of the large volume of sexual assault allegations coming to light at the time and was worried about liability for his own abuse,” investigators wrote in the report.

The church reported the allegation to the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office and the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, an archdiocesan spokesperson said without specifying that No. 153 was Nicholls. The church also notified the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, writing that the “allegation appears to be credible,” according to the report. That’s because Nicholls had moved to Philadelphia by that time. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia did not respond to messages.

The sister said that she was told by the state’s attorney’s office that prosecutors will not do anything “because of the age of the victim,” according to the report. He was an adult when she reported the allegation. The office today could not find records of the allegation or any investigation. Legal experts say the act as described in the report would have been a misdemeanor at the time and subject to the misdemeanor statute of limitations, typically one year. Prosecutors are bound by the law as it existed when the abuse happened.

Nicholls is not the only former Cardinal Gibbons teacher accused of abuse. By 1969, three people who were later accused of child sexual abuse were teaching there, and a fourth lived in the school’s faculty residence, according to the report and a database maintained by

One of the men was accused of soliciting sex from and fondling several teenage boys who attended Mount St. Joseph High School, where he worked in the 1980s after leaving Cardinal Gibbons. Another alleged abuser who taught religion at Cardinal Gibbons was accused of repeatedly molesting twin brothers while serving as pastor of a Connecticut church.

The third person, the Rev. Kenneth Farabaugh, worked at Cardinal Gibbons for more than a decade and overlapped with Nicholls.

Years later, Farabaugh drove his car into a tree and was killed shortly before he was scheduled to speak with police about an allegation that he sexually assaulted a John Carroll High School student. Before his death, Farabaugh denied the allegation, but the archdiocese “questioned his credibility,” according to the report.

The other men accused of child sexual abuse who were associated with Cardinal Gibbons in the 1970s include the Rev. Robert Lentz, the Rev. John J. Sheehan and Brother Bob A. Lindemann, who was the high school’s assistant media director the same academic year Nicholls joined the staff.

The Banner identified No. 153 as Nicholls by matching details in the report to descriptions of Nicholls’ background and work history in a 2016 article from Camp Rehoboth Inc., a nonprofit community service organization dedicated to supporting the beach town’s gay and lesbian visitors.

The report describes No. 153 as a member of the Marianist religious order who left the group and was released from his final vows in 1980. Nicholls, the article states, left the Marianists in 1980 because he felt “too constrained by the order,” which requires members to pledge vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience.

The article’s description of Nicholls’ work as a teacher at Cardinal Gibbons in the mid-to-late 1970s matches the assignment history for No. 153. Yearbooks from that time show that Nicholls worked at the school as a social studies teacher for six years, starting in the 1975 school year.

Nicholls and Brother Matthew Betz both left the Cardinal Gibbons staff after the 1980 school year, as No. 153 did. But Betz was never released from his Marianist vows. He remained an active member of the religious order until his death in 1982, according to an obituary. He also joined the Cardinal Gibbons staff more than a decade before No. 153′s first known assignment in Baltimore.

Property records further connect Nicholls to the Marianists and to the report’s description of No. 153. Nicholls previously lived on Beechwood Avenue in Baltimore at an address listed in the Official Catholic Directory as a residence for Marianist brothers. Nicholls later moved to Philadelphia, according to property records and the Camp Rehoboth Inc. article. The report states that No. 153 also lived in Philadelphia.

The article goes on to describe Nicholls’ various jobs in New Jersey and Philadelphia after leaving Cardinal Gibbons. He taught elementary grades at a parochial school, drove a laundry truck and worked in catering as well as briefly for the Internal Revenue Service.

Nicholls’ name does not appear on the archdiocese’s list of credibly accused priests and brothers, nor does it appear on a similar list maintained by the Marianists.

Asked by the author of the Camp Rehoboth Inc. article what he wants as his legacy, Nicholls said he wants to be remembered well for the things he’s done.

“Especially, by the kids I taught and mentored,” he added. “I want to be regarded as having been a good influence.”

Complete Article HERE!

Area Catholic clerics on newly released state list

More than 20 abusive clerics who once served at area Catholic churches and schools were named in a state report released Tuesday.


More than 20 abusive clerics who once served at area Catholic churches and schools were named in a state report released Tuesday.

The six dioceses in Illinois failed to disclose hundreds of abusive clerics before the state opened what would become a yearslong investigation into sex abuse within the church, Attorney General Kwame Raoul said Tuesday.

A 2017 law eliminated Illinois’ prior statute of limitations for child sex abuse, under which a 20-year clock began ticking on a victim’s 18th birthday. But that law was only prospective; a 2009 Illinois Supreme Court decision affirmed that attempts to alter the statute of limitations retroactively violated the due process rights of the accused.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Springfield Diocese said he supports the investigation and feels it is time to bring all the crimes out into the public.

“The attorney general’s inquiry into the history of clergy sexual abuse of minors in this diocese has served as a reminder that some clergy in the Church committed shameful and disgraceful sins against innocent victim survivors and did damage that simply cannot be undone,” Paprocki said. “As bishop of this diocese, I cannot undo the damages of the past, but I have been and continue to be fully committed to ensuring we do all we can to prevent abuse from happening again.”

Raoul’s report, however, suggests Paprocki could have done more. It states that the diocese didn’t list substantiated child sex abusers placed online until November 2018 and it was not until September 2022 that Paprocki authorized the diocese’s homepage to include a link to a “List of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.”

The 700-page report was issued following a four-and-a-half-year investigation. It includes the names of 451 Catholic priests and religious brothers statewide who abused nearly 2,000 victims since 1950. It also named 32 Catholic clerics who had served in the 28-county Springfield Diocese that includes Madison, Macoupin, Jersey, Greene and Calhoun counties.

Named in Raoul’s report, along with their assignments and number of abuse survivors, were:

• Alvin Campbell (died 2002) with 34 survivors. Assignments included 1982, Mother of Perpetual Help in Maryville.

• Joseph Cernich with 4 survivors. The abuse was listed as occurring in 1983 at Saint Ambrose in Godfrey.

• Victor Lucien Chateauvert (died 1999) with at least 2 survivors. Assignments included 1978-1981 at Saint Joseph in Granite City.

• Garrett Neal Dee with 4 survivors. Assignments included 1968-1971 at Immaculate Conception in Alton, 1968: Dominican Sisters at Bethalto, 1973-1976 at Saint Boniface, Edwardsville, and 1980-1981 at Saint Elizabeth in Marine.

• Robert Degrand with 1 survivor. Assignments included 1991-1996 at Saint Elizabeth in Granite City.

• Robert Dodd (died 2018) with 2 survivors. Assignments included 1964-1968 at Saint Paul in Highland and 1968 at SIUE Newman Catholic Community in Edwardsville.

• Robert Eagear (died 1984) with 1 survivor. Assignments included 1928-1934 at Saint Bernard in Wood River and 1958-1970 at Saint Peter and Paul in Collinsville.

• George Faller (died 1975) with 3 survivors. Assignments included 1918-1919: Saint Paul in Highland, 1919 at Saint Simon and Jude in Gillespie, 1919-1922 at Saint Mary in Alton, 1922-1924 at Saint Anseim in Kampsville, 1954-1961 at Saint Boniface in Edwardsville and 1961-1969 at Saint Joseph in Benld.

• Ray Frazen (died 1987) with 2 survivors. Assignments included 1940-1942 at Saint Patrick in Grafton.

• Joseph Havey (died 2017) with 14 survivors. Assignments included 1970 and again in 1974 at Saint Margaret Mary in Granite City, and 1975-1976 at Holy Ghost in Jerseyville.

• George Kromenaker (died 2010) with 1 survivor. Assignments included 1952-1954 at Saint Mary in Alton.

• Thomas Gregory Meyer (died 2012) with at least 1 survivor. Assignments included 1990-1998 at Saint Peter and Paul in Alton.

• Orville Lawrence Munie (died 1993) with at least 1 survivor. Assignments included 1981-1983 at Saint Isidore in Bethany.

• Joseph Cullen O’Brien (died 1978) with 14 survivors. Assignments included 1942-1945 at Saint Peter and Paul in Collinsville, 1945 at Catholic Children’s Home in Alton, 1948-1950 at Saint Joseph in Granite City, 1968-1970 at Catholic Children’s Home in Alton and 1968-1970 at Saint Patrick in Alton.

• Frank O’Hara (died 2006) with 5 survivors. Assignments included 1959-1985 at Saint Kevin in Rosewood Heights.

• Daniel L. Ryan (died 2015) with 5 survivors. Assignments included 1984-1999 as Bishop of Springfield Diocese.

• Aloysius Schwellenbach (died 2000) with 4 survivors. Assignments included 1945 at Catholic Children’s Home in Alton, 1951-1952 at Saint Joseph in Granite City, 1964-1969 at Saint Margaret Mary in Granite City, and 1969-1970 at Saints Simon and Jude in Gillespie.

• Louis C. Shea (died 1996) with 2 survivors. Assignments included 1951 at Catholic Children’s Home in Alton and 1954 at Saint Anselm in Kampsville.

• Francis Tebangura with 2 survivors. Assignments included 1980-1988 at Saint Margaret Mary in Granite City, 1988-2001 at Saint Elizabeth in Granite City,  2001-2002 at Our Lady Czestochowa in Madison, 2002-2006 at Saint Mark in Venice, IL (sacramental priest) and 2002-2006 at Saint Mary in Madison (sacramental priest).

• Walter Weerts with 22 survivors. Assignments included 1955 at Catholic Children’s Home in Alton, 1957 at Camp Pere Marquette in Grafton, 1961-1963 at Saint Ambrose in Godfrey, 1963-1967 at Sacred Heart in Granite City, 1972 at Saint Paul in Highland, and 1979-1980 at Saint Boniface in Edwardsville.

• Frank Westhoff (died 2006) with 3 survivors. Assignments included 1959 at Catholic Children’s Home in Alton, 1961-1964 at Saint Patrick in Alton, 1980-1985 at Camp Pere Marquette in Grafton and 1984-1985 at Saint Margaret Mary in Granite City.

Complete Article HERE!

Bolivia’s Catholic Church acknowledges being ‘deaf’ to sex abuse victims

People protest with signs against sexual abuse by a priest outside the Bolivian Archbishopric office in La Paz, Bolivia, Friday, May 19, 2023. Milton Murillo, a Bolivian priest, has been remanded in custody on suspicion of abusing seminarians a decade ago, shortly after news broke of what has turned out to be the largest pedophilia scandal in the Andean country’s history, involving the deceased Jesuit priest.


Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Bolivia acknowledged Wednesday that the church had been deaf to the suffering of victims of sexual abuse, commenting as a pedophilia scandal involving priests is rocking the country.

In a statement, the Andean nation’s Catholic bishops said that “as a church, we are facing a painful moment … because we are certain that we have been directly or indirectly involved in the deep pain caused to innocent victims.”

The statement comes amid the fallout from the case involving a late Spanish Jesuit priest, Alfonso Pedrajas. According to a private diary accessed by the Spanish newspaper El País, Pedrajas allegedly abused dozens of minors in Catholic boarding schools in Bolivia in the 1970s and 1980s. He died of cancer in 2009.

Earlier this week, Jordi Bertemeu, one of the Vatican’s top sex crimes investigators, arrived in Bolivia.

The bishops said that while “we know there is no way to compensate for the damage caused, we are committed to do everything possible to … seek a reparation, with the support of professionals who provide assistance and help heal wounds and scars.”

The Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation — which remains confidential — and has called on the victims to testify. New cases of sexual abuse have been uncovered as a result of this probe and one priest was sent to pre-trial detention for three months earlier this month.

Bolivian President Luis Arce sent a letter to Pope Francis earlier this week, requesting that the church release any documents about sexual abuse by priests in Bolivia.

In the letter, Arce calls on church authorities to “move from pronouncements to concrete actions to prevent impunity.”

In their statement, the Bolivian bishops said the church would set up two commissions to “determine responsibilities.” They promised to provide updates, saying they would “contribute to a transparent investigation” by the justice system.

The Jesuit Society in Bolivia previously apologized to victims and pledged to support the investigation while denouncing Pedrajas’ superiors for an alleged cover-up. Many of the people singled out are no longer in office or have died.

Complete Article HERE!

Sexual abuse allegations made against priests in 19 Catholic diocesan colleges throughout State

— Protestant-run boarding schools declined to respond to request for details from The Irish Times

St Muredach’s cathedral in Ballina, in Killala diocese. St Muredach’s Diocesan College paid out a settlement of €100,000 following an allegation of child sexual abuse against a priest.

By Patsy McGarry

The sexual abuse of boys at boarding schools in Ireland was not confined to those run by religious congregations such as the Spiritans, Jesuits, Dominicans, Vincentians, Carmelites or Benedictines. Such abuse has also taken place in diocesan colleges run by local Catholic clergy, or junior seminaries as they were also called. Run by almost every Catholic diocese in Ireland, such colleges were usually where its priests and bishops were recruited. In recent years however, due to the clerical child sex abuse crisis, it has become practice to appoint new bishops from outside each diocese as it was felt familiarity with abuser priests encouraged cover-ups in the past.

It is unknown how many boys were sexually abused in these boarding schools, but The Irish Times, with the co-operation of Catholic Church authorities, has established that in this jurisdiction 19 such diocesan colleges have faced sexual abuse allegations against a total of 44 priests. Some 33 of these directly involve the local diocesan college, with similar allegations against a further 11 diocesan priests at other schools in the dioceses.

There are 26 Catholic dioceses on the island of Ireland, with the diocesan colleges of Derry, Armagh, Down and Connor, and Dromore in Northern Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland, neither the Archdiocese of Dublin, the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, nor the diocese of Waterford and Lismore had diocesan colleges.

Of the 19 remaining dioceses contacted for relevant details by The Irish Times, only Cloyne failed to supply details as to whether abuse allegations were made against priests at its diocesan college, St Colman’s in Fermoy, Co Cork. However, it is known that at least one priest at St Colman’s College faced abuse allegations, which led to High Court proceedings in 2008. The case was settled when St Colman’s College paid damages to the former pupil.

Survivors of abuse at fee-paying schools invited to come forward ‘without fear’ to scoping inquiry ]

In the diocese of Galway, eight priests faced sexual abuse allegations at its schools, of which five faced allegations from their period teaching at St Mary’s Diocesan College in the city. There were also allegations against three further priests at other schools in the diocese. All allegations were reported to civil authorities.

None of the accused priests in Galway faced prosecution while “some” were sanctioned by the Church. “Total costs in relation to all school-related cases was under €100,000. This was paid from non-parish related monies,” the diocese said.

The associated Clonfert diocese has received no allegations against priests who taught at its diocesan college, St Joseph’s, Garbally, in Ballinasloe.

Dioceses of Ireland
Dioceses of Ireland.

In Elphin diocese’s Summerhill College, Sligo, and St Aloysius College, Athlone, child sex abuse allegations were made against three priests. In four other cases allegations was either withdrawn or not sustained. All allegations were reported to civil authorities with no prosecutions following. No financial settlements were made by the diocese arising from any allegations.

In Ferns diocese, allegations of child sexual abuse were made against three priests concerning their time as teachers at St Peter’s College, Wexford, with allegations also against two priests at other schools in the diocese. All allegations were reported to civil authorities with one priest convicted in the courts, while two of the priests were laicised (dismissed from the clergy) by the Church.

Settlements were reached with 15 people who made allegations of sexual abuse by the Ferns priests, 12 following their abuse at St Peter’s College. The amounts involved were not made available by the diocese.

In Kilmore diocese, three priests who were teachers at St Patrick’s College, Cavan, were accused of child sexual abuse and another priest/teacher there was accused of unspecified abuse. He was also accused of unspecified abuse at another school in the diocese. All accused priests are deceased.

All cases were reported to civil authorities, but just one was fully investigated and it did not lead to a prosecution. The priest under investigation left the priesthood. One priest had died before an investigation could take place and the other died before an investigation was completed. There were no settlements in any of the cases.

The diocese of Cork and Ross recorded allegations against three priests who were on the teaching staff of St Finbarr’s Diocesan College, Farranferris, and against two other priests on the staff of two other schools in the diocese. All allegations were reported to the civil authorities.

One accused priest was prosecuted and convicted in relation to abuse in a parish before he was also accused of sexual abuse at St Finbarr’s. He was laicised and is deceased. No criminal prosecutions were initiated in connection with allegations at St Finbarr’s College or at the other schools. There have been no settlements in any of the cases.

Three priests at St Jarlath’s, Diocesan College of Tuam Archdiocese, faced abuse allegations; while one priest did so involving another school in the Archdiocese. All were reported to civil authorities. One of the St Jarlath’s priests was convicted in the courts while all three accused there faced sanction by the Church. Settlements of €60,000 were made with two men arising from the abuse allegations at St Jarlath’s.

At St Macartan’s in Monaghan, Diocesan College of Clogher diocese, two priests were accused of sexual abuse. Both were reported to the civil authorities with no prosecutions arising and no settlements were paid by the diocese.

Two priests at St Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, Diocesan College of Achonry diocese, faced allegations of child sexual abuse, as did a priest at another school in the diocese. Both priests accused of abuse at St Nathy’s were deceased when allegations against them were received by the diocese. All cases were reported to civil authorities.

Two child sexual abuse allegations were received by the diocese concerning the priest accused of abuse at another school in the diocese. A “substantial figure” was paid out by the diocese as settlement in relation to one of the allegations while a settlement was also paid by the Redress Board.

Allegations were received against one priest who worked at St Finian’s College, Mullingar, Diocesan College of Meath diocese, after his death. Allegations concerning another priest there were found by An Garda and Tusla to be “completely untrue and without any foundation whatsoever”. A settlement of €50,000 was agreed in the former case.

At St Brendan’s Killarney, Diocesan College of Kerry diocese, one priest was accused of child sexual abuse. He was reported to the civil authorities but did not face prosecution. He was sanctioned by the Church. No settlement was involved. No allegations about priests had been made at St Michael’s College, Listowel, also a Diocesan College of Kerry diocese.

Two priests were accused of child sexual abuse at St Munchin’s Diocesan College in Limerick. Both were reported to civil authorities, with one prosecution. One was removed from ministry. There were no settlements in these cases.

One priest was accused of child sex abuse at St Mel’s, Longford, Diocese College of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise diocese. He was reported to civil authorities but faced no prosecution or Church sanction.

At St Muredach’s in Ballina, Co Mayo, Diocesan College of Killala diocese, one priest faced child sex abuse allegations. He was reported to civil authorities but was not prosecuted, nor was he sanctioned by the Church. The diocese paid out €100,000 in settlement due to the abuse.

Similarly, one priest at St Kieran’s in Kilkenny, Diocesan College of Ossory diocese, faced abuse allegations. He was reported to the civil authorities but there was no prosecution, nor was he sanctioned by the Church.

At St Flannan’s in Ennis, Diocesan College of Killaloe diocese, one priest faced abuse allegations. He was reported to civil authorities but, as he was deceased by the time the allegations emerged, he faced no prosecution or sanction by the Church. A settlement was agreed in this case but details were “not specified for GDPR reasons”.

No priest at St Eunan’s in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Diocesan College of Raphoe diocese, faced abuse allegations but one priest faced accusations of abuse at another school in the diocese. These were reported to civil authorities, with no prosecution. The priest was sanctioned by the Church.

There have been no allegations of child sexual abuse against priests who taught at St Mary’s Knockbeg College, Carlow, Diocesan College of Kildare and Leighlin diocese.

No response from Protestant boarding schools

Repeated attempts over recent months by The Irish Times failed to get any response to a request for details surrounding allegations of child sexual abuse at what were or are Protestant boarding school for boys in the Republic.

The schools contacted were Bandon Grammar School Cork, Kilkenny College, Dundalk Grammar School, Rathdown School Dublin, Midleton School Cork, Wilson’s Hospital Westmeath, Villiers School Limerick, King’s Hospital School Dublin, Sligo Grammar School, St Columba’s College Dublin, Wesley College Dublin.

It is not as though sexual abuse was unknown in such schools. In his autobiography Full On, broadcaster and former government minister Ivan Yates describes his years at the since-closed Protestant boarding school Aravon in Rathmichael, Co Dublin, as “unremitting torture”, where he was sexually abused by the owner and headmaster, Charles Mansfield.

In 2016 eight pupils were suspended pending the outcome of an investigation at King’s Hospital School in Dublin into allegations that a teenage boy there had been sexually assaulted.

In 2008 King’s Hospital was party to six figure settlements, along with Swim Ireland, involving 13 female victims of convicted sex abuser Derry O’Rourke, who had been employed by the school as a swimming coach. The victims claimed O’Rourke was allowed remain there despite several complaints about him to the school from 1973.

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