Saturday, February 02, 2013

Irish missionary in African abuse claim

Irish Spiritans LogoLegal proceedings have begun against an Irish missionary priest alleged to have abused an African student at a Spiritan-run school in Sierra Leone.

Elvis Kuteh alleges the priest abused him in the late 1970s when he was a pupil of a school run by the Holy Ghost Fathers, now the Spiritans.

Mr Kuteh, who is in his 40s, now lives in the UK. His solicitor, Michael E Hanahoe and Co, has 12 months in which to serve the summons on the defendant.

If the case proceeds, this will be the first time an African will have abuse allegations against an Irish missionary priest heard in Ireland.

Abuse campaigner Mark Vincent Healy, who is supporting Mr Kuteh’s case, said the case was being brought under the Brussels Convention.

“Where both the plaintiff and the defendant are resident within the EU, the action can be taken within the EU under the Brussels Convention, for actions that actually took place outside the EU,” he said.

Mr Healy, who was abused himself as a pupil at St Mary’s College, Rathmines, Dublin, by a Spiritans priest, said Mr Kuteh’s case could “open up a path to justice” for survivors abused by Irish priests in other jurisdictions.

He said that while in the past those abused in Africa had “no opportunity for either justice or redress”, the case “could open up redress against all missionaries worldwide”.

A Spiritans spokesman said they could not comment on specific legal proceedings.

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