Monday, June 30, 2008

Love-cheat priest Joseph Creegan sues church for unfair dismissal

A MONSIGNOR sacked after having an affair has stunned the Catholic Church by bringing a landmark action against them - for unfair dismissal.

Joseph Creegan, whose married mistress confessed to their 18-year fling, has rocked the Vatican by seeking cash for lost wages through an employment tribunal.

Lawyers for the church are set to argue that Creegan did not work for them...but for God.

A senior priest and expert in canon law insisted last night: "His relationship is with God, he is a servant of God, not of the diocese or the bishop."

The former monsignor is bitter that he not only lost his job but his grace and favour house in Dundee.

He now works in a tax office in the city and shares a £350,000 house with former parishioner Anne Ogden in Balmerino, Fife.

Described as an "enforcer" for the church, Creegan is said to have compiled a dossier which details raging alcoholism and secret affairs in the Catholic Church.

Its contents are said to be explosive - fuelling speculation that the diocese will settle his case with a massive payout rather than hear damaging allegations aired at a tribunal.

A source said: "He has threatened to reveal all he knows about scandals he claims he has helped to cover up in Dunkeld diocese over the years."

Monsignor Creegan's relationships with two women were exposed earlier this year by the Sunday Mail.

In January, we revealed Creegan had been spending nights at the home of Anne Ogden, 48.

That prompted his jealous long-term 62-year-old mistress to confess to Bishop Vincent Logan.

She told him they had a secret sexual affair for 18 years, holidayed together and jointly owned a boat.

Creegan later became involved with Ogden when he was supposed to be counselling her through the break-up of her marriage.

Ogden's husband Graham later described the priest as "a dark cloud hovering over our marriage".

Bishop Logan quickly suspended Creegan.

An explosive statement issued by the church read: "Bishop Logan acted as soon as he was given specific and irrefutable evidence about the allegations which had been made earlier.

"Mgr Creegan has accepted the decision.

"Bishop Logan deeply regrets any hurt and upset which has been caused to people by Mgr Creegan's conduct over the years."

Shortly after, Creegan was sacked and told to get out of his grace and favour riverside apartment paid for by the diocese. Yesterday Creegan refused to comment on the tribunal.

The Dunkeld diocese also declined to make a statement.

The case was set to be heard tomorrow in Dundee but will be postponed as church lawyers have asked for more time.

The news that Creegan has taken his case to court has sent shock waves through the Roman Catholic community.

His case could now go all the way to the House of Lords.

Sarah Sheils, an employment law specialist with Thompsons Scotland, compared the action with that of Church of Scotland minister Helen Percy.

In 1997, Percy took a sex discrimination claim against the Kirk to the House of Lords before she settled her case out of court for £10,000.

She claimed she had been forced to resign by elders after admitting sexual impropriety - but the same elders turned a blind eye to male ministers accused of the same thing.

Sheils said: "The diocese will argue that he is a servant of God and not an employee of theirs.

"If they succeed, then his case will fall because only employees can go to a tribunal.

"He will then have to decide if he wants to appeal and it could easily end up at the House of Lords, who have yet to rule on whether members of the clergy are employees with the same rights as everyone else."

Alan Draper, a Dundee University lecturer and former adviser to the Bishops Conference, said: "It really is shocking that the hierarchy are once again acting in this manner.

"Regardless of the morality of the man or what he is supposed to have done, he has been denied due process.

"If you or I were to be sacked, we would have access to due process and a fair hearing."

But one senior priest and legal expert insisted: "There is no employer/employee relationship.

"Once a priest is incardinated into a parish he is on his own. A priest can walk away, disappear any time he likes, there are no priest police to bring him back."

"It's a bit like an NHS GP. They work for themselves but they almost always get their living from the NHS. But the NHS does not employ them."


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Anonymous said...

Let him sing! He's a prick and no court of law will alter the fact. And if he nails several miscreants in his testimony, he will only do us all a faovor--the expense not withstanding.

Anonymous said...

The second last paragraph sounds like it also applies to PP's here in Ireland

"Once a priest is incardinated into a parish he is on his own. A priest can walk away, disappear any time he likes, there are no priest police to bring him back."

In other words apart from their actual Church or religious work they can literally do as they please even if it is something frowned upon and not approved of by the Church - once they are not found out all is well.

Interesting where money is concerned the way the Church can TWIST the laws and meanings and disown even their own.