Sunday, March 28, 2010

Women: Priests shared us for abuse

TWO women from north Cork have made official complaints to gardaí that they were both abused as children by the same two priests.

The two women believe there are more women who were sexually assaulted and raped by these men 20 years ago.

The two priests know each other and the women believe the priests "were aware of what the other was doing".

The complaints were lodged with the Cloyne diocese and with gardaí last year. Files have been sent to the DPP.

Fr B was accused of four counts of child abuse between 1995 and 2005 in the NBSC report. The DPP failed to prosecute in any of these cases.

The Cloyne diocese also began a secret canonical hearing against the priest last year but it was deferred when victims refused to co-operate until the Dublin Archdiocese’s Commission of Investigation into the handling of clerical abuse complaints had published its report into Cloyne.

The report is on course to be finished by the end of June and it will then be handed to the Minister for Children Barry Andrews, who will decide its date of publication.

Last night a number of the Cloyne abuse victims said they had found "no cheer" in the Pope’s decision earlier this week to accept the resignation of Bishop John Magee.

They said clerical abuse victims would only get justice when "abusing priests are imprisoned for their actions and bishops are taken off in handcuffs for covering up the rape and assault of children".

"I won’t be happy until the bishops are all tried and convicted for covering up abuse and for letting abusing priests have access to children. If I stole a teapot from a restaurant, I would be convicted. They stole our lives," said one.

Another Cloyne abuse victim said bishops who failed to take action against child abusers "don’t deserve the dignity of resignation".

"They stole our dignity. They stole our lives yet they have the dignity of handing in their resignation. I too want to see legal action against bishops who knowingly protected abusers," she said.

Former Cloyne priest Fr Matthew Ring, who left the diocese due to his dissatisfaction at Bishop Magee’s handling of abuse claims, last night said he believes the state must introduce an independent advocacy service for all sexual abuse victims.

Fr Ring now works as a social worker in Britain.

"Victims are threatened by authority figures, including solicitors, and to encourage people to come forward, such a service should be provided by the state so that victims feel supported in their efforts to obtain justice," he said. "It’s the least that can be done."

Earlier this week the second priest at the centre of the 2008 NBSC report was re-interviewed by gardaí in north Cork and an updated file sent to the DPP after further information came to Garda attention.

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