Monday, July 22, 2024

Bishop Eamon Casey was a 'sexual predator', according to new RTÉ documentary

The former CEO of The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, Ian Elliott, has described Bishop Eamonn Casey as "a sexual predator".

A RTÉ documentary, in partnership with the the Irish Mail on Sunday reporter Anne Sheridan, examines the Catholic Church's handling of allegations against the former Bishop of Galway, who died in 2017.

His niece, Patricia Donovan, claims he first raped her at the age of five and that the sexual abuse continued for years.

Mr Elliot found her account of what she experienced “entirely credible”, describing Bishop Casey as, on balance of probabilities, “an offender, a sexual predator."

"The fact of the matter is that individuals have come forward and spoken about… numerous sexual activities, some consensual, others not. Many involved very young people. That is wrong and there is no justification for that, and it should have been stopped.

"Those that have been distressed and hurt should be helped and supported by the Church. That is a major priority.”

Patricia Donovan tells the documentary of "The horror of being raped by him when I was five.

"The violence and it just carried on in that vein. He had no fear of being caught. He thought he could do what he liked, when he liked, how he liked… He was almost, like, incensed that I would dare fight against him, that I would dare try and hurt him, I would dare try and stop him... It didn’t make any difference.

“I feel so absolutely and completely and utterly betrayed by the Church I was brought up in.”

The documentary, called Bishop Casey's Buried Secrets, also reveals how the Limerick Diocese paid over €100,000 in settlement to one of Bishop Casey’s accusers after Casey’s death.

In early 2006, the Irish Bishops announced that Eamonn Casey was moving back to Ireland from England to retire. By this stage, the Vatican had now received at least two allegations of child sexual abuse against Bishop Casey.

Bishop Casey consistently denied all the allegations of child sexual abuse made against him. Although all the complaints were reported to An Garda Síochána, he was never charged with, or prosecuted for, any sexual crimes.

He was prepared to go to court to defend his reputation after two of his accusers brought civil cases against him.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800-77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/ or visit Rape Crisis Help.

Bishop Eamon Casey's Limerick niece reveals he abused her from a young age

Former Limerick Leader reporter Anne Sheridan examines the Catholic Church's handling of allegations against the former Bishop of Galway, Eamonn Casey in a special documentary tonight.

The programme features an investigation conducted by RTÉ, in association with the Irish Mail on Sunday where Anne now works as a reporter.

Bishop Casey's Buried Secrets includes an interview with one of Bishop Casey’s accusers, his Limerick niece, Patricia Donovan.

Speaking for the first time on camera, she claims that he first raped her at the age of five and that the sexual abuse continued for years.  

Ian Elliott, the former CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Irish Catholic Church, who has direct knowledge of Patricia Donovan’s complaint against Bishop Casey, tells the RTÉ / Irish Mail on Sunday investigation that he found her account of what she experienced “entirely credible”, describing Bishop Casey as, on balance of probabilities, “an offender, a sexual predator. The fact of the matter is that individuals have come forward and spoken about… numerous sexual activities, some consensual, others not. Many involved very young people. That is wrong and there is no justification for that, and it should have been stopped… Those that have been distressed and hurt should be helped and supported by the Church. That is a major priority.” 

Patricia Donovan tells the documentary: “Some of the things he did to me, and where he did them… The horror of being raped by him when I was five, the violence. And it just carried on in that vein… He had no fear of being caught. He thought he could do what he liked, when he liked, how he liked… He was almost, like, incensed that I would dare fight against him, that I would dare try and hurt him, I would dare try and stop him... It didn’t make any difference.”

In 2019, Galway Diocese informed reporter Anne Sheridan that it had received just one allegation of child sexual abuse against Bishop Eamonn Casey. It has since confirmed that it had records at that time of “five people who had complained of childhood sexual abuse against Bishop Casey.”  These independent accusations relate to alleged events in every Irish diocese where Bishop Casey worked.      

Bishop Casey's Buried Secrets also reveals how the Limerick Diocese paid over €100,000 in settlement to one of Bishop Casey’s accusers after Casey’s death. The current Bishop of Limerick, Dr Brendan Leahy, who has access to documents relating to complaints made in his diocese says: “I express deep sorrow and regret to anyone who has been wounded by clerical abuse, including the people referred to in this documentary. They deserve our respect, belief and support. Without commenting on any specific allegation, I have no reason to disbelieve any of the allegations made.” 

In an exceptional public statement issued to the documentary, the Vatican confirms, for the first time, that Bishop Casey was formally removed from public ministry in 2007, following “allegations” that, RTÉ has established, included his niece Patricia Donovan’s complaint of child sexual abuse. That restriction continued for the last ten years of his life but was never publicly disclosed in Bishop Casey’s lifetime. 

The RTÉ documentary has also discovered evidence that Bishop Casey violated the Vatican’s sanctions on several occasions, presenting himself in public as a priest in good standing over several years. Galway Diocese has confirmed this but stated that the late Bishop Martin Drennan, who was responsible for policing the restrictions, reprimanded Dr Casey whenever he was made aware of such breaches. 

In early 2006, the Irish Bishops announced that Eamonn Casey was moving back to Ireland from England to retire. By this stage, the Vatican had now received at least two allegations of child sexual abuse against Bishop Casey.  Although the DPP decided not to prosecute him, Church investigations were ongoing. 

After repeated requests for information, the Vatican has now issued an exceptional statement to RTÉ, confirming that, by 2006, following unspecified “allegations”, “Bishop Casey had been requested not to publicly exercise the ministry” and that this was “reiterated formally” a year later. The statement also revealed that “He was never reinstated… despite insistence from him and on his behalf” and “regardless of the outcome of the civil procedures.” When RTÉ requested clarification from Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the President of the Vatican department responsible for handling complaints of child sexual abuse, he replied that: “Cases concerning Bishops are reserved to the Holy Father personally and only the Secretariat of State would be in a position to share information.”  

Bishop Casey consistently denied all the allegations of child sexual abuse made against him. Although all the complaints were reported to An Garda Síochána, he was never charged with, or prosecuted for, any sexual crimes. He was prepared to go to court to defend his reputation after two of his accusers brought civil cases against him.  

Despite his resignation as Bishop of Galway in 1992, he remained a Bishop until his dying day and claimed his removal from the ministry was unjust. The documentary hears from friends, colleagues and supporters, who still find it hard to believe the allegations made against him. However, the Vatican has declined to say what investigative process was followed or whether the sanctions it imposed on Bishop Casey were punitive or precautionary. 

Bishop Casey’s niece, Patricia Donovan, tells the documentary: “I feel so absolutely and completely and utterly betrayed by the Church I was brought up in.”  

Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese was legal advisor to the Irish Bishops on the day the story broke in 1992 about Bishop Eamonn Casey’s affair with a young woman, Annie Murphy, with whom he had a child.  She tells the RTÉ documentary:  "He was very beloved and there are people who are prepared to forgive everything. But then, maybe, do they know everything?"

First child sex abuse claim against disgraced Irish Bishop went 'missing' after it was sent from a diocese in Ireland to one in England

The first known child sex abuse allegation against disgraced Irish Bishop Eamonn Casey went ‘missing’ after it was reported from an Irish diocese to one in England, the Mail can reveal.

The allegation was sent from the Diocese of Limerick in Ireland to the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton in England in June 2001, where he was then working, and also to the Vatican.

The receipt of that complaint and the potential child safeguarding risks that it posed should have seen him suspended from his ministry in England, pending further investigation. The complaint should also have been reported to the police in the UK.

However, neither of those actions were taken and Fr Casey, as he was then known, remained active in ministry in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton for another four years.

He was only suspended from his position four years later when his own niece, Patricia Donovan, also living in the UK, came forward in 2005 and made a complaint of alleged child sexual abuse dating back to the late 1960s.

Dr Casey moved to the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton in 1998 after Church leaders in both Ireland and the UK were reluctant to accept him back into any parish following the six years he spent in Ecuador.

His time in the missions followed the dramatic fall-out from the revelations in 1992 that he had fathered a son with his distant American cousin Annie Murphy and he was forced to resign as Bishop of Galway.

This failure to take action by the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton against Bishop Casey will feature in a major documentary, Bishop Casey’s Buried Secrets, due to air on RTE One, Ireland’s national broadcaster, tonight at 9.35pm.

When the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton was asked what action, if any, they had taken on foot of the 2001 complaint, a spokeswoman said that they could find no record of that complaint on their files.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese Arundel & Brighton said: ‘Recent communications with RTE and the Diocese of Limerick have established that a member of our Diocese was informed of a safeguarding allegation concerning Bishop Eamon Casey in 2001, four years earlier than we had previously believed.’

‘Had this allegation been made today the police would have been informed immediately. We are deeply disappointed that this course of action does not appear to have been taken in 2001,’ they said.

After being alerted to this earlier allegation by RTE, the diocese said they were committed to undertaking an internal investigation into why no record of this complaint was on their files.

‘We have undertaken a very thorough search of diocesan records. Regrettably, given the passage of time, we have been unable to locate relevant written records or to speak to anyone able to shed light on Limerick Diocese’s communication in 2001,’ they said.

By 2001, when he should have been suspended, Fr Casey, as he was then known, had ministry in the village of Staplefield, in the parish of St Paul's, Hayward Heath, from 1998 until 2005, under the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton. In Staplefield, he was a curate in an arch-parish, covering three churches, and was also chaplain to a hospital of 320 beds.

Dr Casey was only suspended from ministry when his niece Ms Donovan came forward and reported him to UK police and gardai [Irish police] in 2005 for alleged sexual abuse.

The first known child sexual abuse allegation against Bishop Casey was made in 2001 by another party. That woman, who had also moved later to live in London, claimed that she had been sexually abused on two occasions by Fr Casey during his time as a chaplain to St Joseph’s Reformatory School in Limerick in 1956.

She later took High Court proceedings against Bishop Casey for personal injury damages, alleging that he had committed sexual assaults on her when she was aged 15 in Limerick. Eventually, she was awarded a settlement through the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

The Vatican has now confirmed that it banned Bishop Casey from ministry ‘before 2006’ and that his ban was reiterated to him formally in 2007 after they received multiple child sex abuse complaints against him, including the 2001 complaint and that made by his niece Ms Donovan in 2005.

At least five allegations against Bishop Casey have been made in every Irish diocese where he served – from the 1950s to the 1980s – but he was never charged or prosecuted for any of his alleged crimes and he consistently denied all allegations against him.

A spokesman for Limerick Diocese confirmed: ‘In 2001, Limerick Diocese received the first complaint in relation to Bishop Casey.’

The spokesman confirmed that the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton was informed by them of this complaint on June 7th 2001, and that the Papal Nuncio, responsible for communicating these matters to Rome, and the gardai were also informed.

The spokeswoman for the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton said that when complaint by Ms Donovan, Bishop Casey's niece, was received in 2005 swift action was then taken by their diocese.

‘As a direct result of that allegation nationally agreed safeguarding protocols were implemented with support offered to the person involved. The allegation was reported to statutory agencies with Bishop Casey immediately removed from public ministry,’ they said.

The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton said they received no other child safeguarding concerns in relation to Fr Casey during his time there.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor was Bishop in Arundel and Brighton when Dr Casey was offered a position there in 1998. Cardinal Murphy O’Connor died in 2017.

However, when the complaint was sent from Limerick, his successor Bishop Kieron Conry was named Bishop of Arundel and Brighton just a month earlier. He was consecrated on 9 June 2001 – two days after Limerick sent the complaint.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton said: ‘This incident was reported shortly before Bishop Conry was appointed. He has no recollection of the events in question.’

In September 2014, Bishop Conry announced his resignation as Bishop of Arundel and Brighton with immediate effect for having 'been unfaithful to [his] promises as a Catholic priest' and bringing 'shame' on the diocese and the Church.

He announced his resignation when it became apparent that the Mail on Sunday was about to reveal that he had been having an affair with an adult married woman.

Bishop Conry said his relationship with this woman, whose husband threatened to sue the Church after learning of their relationship from a private detective he had hired, was no more than a close friendship.

However, he admitted that another relationship six years prior had been sexual but would not say how long it had lasted. He said he decided to resign because 'it was the easiest way to avoid further embarrassment, disappointment… and shame for the church'.

Prior to Bishop Casey’s return from the missions, there had been much debate within the Church in both Ireland and the UK as to what position he would hold and where.

He was only suspended from his position in 2005 when his own niece, Patricia Donovan, came forward and made a complaint of alleged child sexual abuse dating back to the late 1960s

In 1998, a spokesman for Cardinal Basil Hume of the Diocese of Westminster said that there were many reasons it would not be appropriate for Bishop Casey to go to London on his return from South America.

Cardinal Hume's spokesman said at that time: 'The Cardinal would always wish to help anyone in need, pastorally, but there are many reasons why it would be inappropriate for Bishop Casey to be in London.'

The reasons why it would have been inappropriate were not detailed.

The Archdiocese of Southwark and the Diocese of Westminster have refused to comment, when asked by RTE, if they have received any allegations against Bishop Casey relating to his time in London as a priest in the 1960s.

Fr Casey was appointed to the Irish Emigrant Chaplaincy Service in England in 1960 and held this position until 1969. He was appointed chaplain to St Ethelbert’s parish in Berkshire in 1960 and became the first chairman of Shelter, the UK housing charity. In 1963, he began working with the Catholic Housing Aid Society, at the invitation of Cardinal Heenan, then Archbishop of Westminster.

His niece Ms Donovan reported her allegations in 2005 to the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, and to UK police, while Irish detectives also travelled over to the UK to interview her. 

The Irish Director of Public Prosecutions later directed in August 2006 that no charges be brought against her uncle. 

She has never received compensation from the Church but the Galway Diocese did pay for counselling for her.

Bishop Eamonn Casey's 'Buried Secrets' in Limerick to be revealed

Cormac McConnell: Bishop Casey brought ...

A MAJOR documentary on how the Catholic Church handled child sex abuse allegations against Bishop Eamonn Casey will be broadcast on RTÉ One tonight.

The Vatican has now confirmed that they formally removed him from ministry in 2007 after receiving multiple allegations from 2001 onwards, when the first known complaint was made.

The documentary is in association with the Irish Mail on Sunday and Mail reporter Anne Sheridan, formerly a reporter with the Limerick Leader.

The allegations received by the Church cover all three Irish dioceses where he served - Limerick, Kerry and Galway respectively - and span four decades, from the 1950s to the 1980s.

The Limerick Leader first reported in 2016 that High Court proceedings were filed against Bishop Casey and the Diocese of Limerick for personal injury damages in relation to one case taken against him in 2016.

Limerick Diocese has confirmed that it has received three allegations of child sexual abuse against Fr Casey relating to his time in Limerick in the 1960s. The Limerick Diocese received these three separate complaints in 2001, 2005 and 2014.

Two other complaints have been received by the Kerry Diocese and the Galway Diocese.

The documentary, Bishop Casey's Buried Secrets, will air further revelations this Monday night when it is broadcast on RTE One at 9.35pm. 

Two complaints against Fr Casey made in Limerick resulted in significant settlements being made. 

The first known complaint against Bishop Casey was received in 2001 by the Limerick Diocese. This later resulted in a settlement, which was confidential at the time, and was made through the Residential Institutions Redress Board after the woman dropped her High Court action against him and other named defendants.

Bishop Casey's niece, Patricia Donovan, from Limerick, made her complaint of alleged child sexual abuse against him in 2005. Her uncle was never charged in relation to her claims. Ms Donovan never received compensation from the Church but the Galway Diocese did pay for some counselling sessions for her.

A third complaint received in Limerick, made in 2014 and which went to the High Court in 2016, resulted in a settlement made by the Limerick Diocese of over €100,000 to another woman. The proceedings were lodged before he died and the settlement was awarded after his death.

Fr Casey consistently denied all the allegations against him.

He was never charged or convicted of any sexual crimes and remained a bishop until his death in March 2017.

After repeated requests for information, the Vatican confirmed to RTÉ that, by 2006, following unspecified "allegations", "Bishop Casey had been requested not to publicly exercise the ministry" and that this was "reiterated formally" a year later.

It also revealed that: "He was never reinstated...in spite of insistence from him and on his behalf" and "regardless of the outcome of the civil procedures".

The Vatican statement also reveals the ban was never lifted – despite appeals by Casey and his supporters that he should be allowed to return to ministry.

It was also never communicated to the public in his lifetime, with many members of the clergy and his parishioners struggling to understand why Bishop Casey was not allowed to say Mass. Under the restrictions set out by the Vatican on him, he was only allowed to attend Mass as a member of the congregation and could only say Mass in the privacy of his own home due to child safeguarding concerns.

The Vatican statement said: ‘We can confirm that Bishop Casey had been requested not to publicly exercise the ministry before 2006, in terms that were reiterated formally in 2007, and he was never reinstated in the following years in spite of insistence from him and on his behalf. When further allegations were produced in 2015, Bishop Casey was already suffering from various physical and mental problems. These were of the type that would have rendered his defence difficult.’

Former president Mary McAleese, who is a canon lawyer, and who is interviewed for this programme, said: "We know that there were significant allegations of sexually predatory conduct and from a number of different sources."

She said there may have been "a pattern of predatory behaviour" that would have to have been taken "very seriously and earnestly...because they are looking at it from the point of view of restoring him to a ministry where he would have full public access, and they may have been, and clearly were, worried about that, significantly worried about that".

The complaints sent from Irish dioceses to the Papal Nuncio for Rome’s attention covered the period of three serving Popes, from at least 2001 until after 2016, spanning the papacies of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and the current Pope Francis.

Canon law expert Fr Aidan McGrath said of the Vatican’s internal handling of the case: "A bishop himself, his only superior is the pope."

"So, who do you report a bishop to? That was never very clear, but certainly… any disciplinary action then would have been taken by the Congregation for Bishops. Now, they are not authorised to set up a tribunal and do an investigation… so they will weigh it up and then… acting on behalf of the pope, would have the authority to impose restrictions."

Multiple child sexual abuse allegations made against former bishop Eamonn Casey

THE FORMER CEO of The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland has described the former Catholic Bishop of Galway Eamonn Casey as “a sexual predator”.

Ian Elliott makes the comments in a new RTÉ documentary, Bishop Casey’s Buried Secrets, in association with the Irish Mail on Sunday. The documentary will air tonight.

The programme examines the Catholic Church’s handling of allegations against Casey, who died in 2017 aged 89.

It includes an interview with Casey’s niece, Patricia Donovan, who claims that he first raped her at the age of five and that the sexual abuse continued for years. 

It also reveals how a six-figure settlement was paid by the Catholic Church to one complainant after Casey’s death, and that the Vatican banned Casey from public ministry in 2007 following “allegations”. 

Casey is best-known for the revelation in 1992 that he fathered a child with an American woman, Annie Murphy, in 1974. 

Murphy wrote a book about their relationship and appeared on The Late Late Show for a famous interview with host Gay Byrne.

Elliott, who has direct knowledge of Patricia Donovan’s complaint against Casey, told the investigation that he found her account of what she experienced “entirely credible”.

He described Casey as, on balance of probabilities, “an offender, a sexual predator”.

Speaking for the first time on camera, Donovan tells the programme: “Some of the things he did to me, and where he did them… The horror of being raped by him when I was five, the violence. And it just carried on in that vein… He had no fear of being caught.

“He thought he could do what he liked, when he liked, how he liked… He was almost, like, incensed that I would dare fight against him, that I would dare try and hurt him, I would dare try and stop him… It didn’t make any difference.”

In 2019, Galway Diocese, where Casey was bishop from 1976 to 1992, told Irish Mail on Sunday reporter Anne Sheridan that it had received just one allegation of child sexual abuse against him.

However, the programme reveals that the diocese has since confirmed it had records at that time of  “five people who had complained of childhood sexual abuse against Bishop Casey.”

These independent accusations relate to alleged events in every Irish diocese where Casey worked.      

Six-figure settlement

The programme also reveals how the Limerick Diocese paid over €100,000 in a settlement to one of Casey’s accusers after his death.

The current Bishop of Limerick Dr Brendan Leahy, who has access to documents relating to complaints made in his diocese, says: “I express deep sorrow and regret to anyone who has been wounded by clerical abuse, including the people referred to in this documentary.

“They deserve our respect, belief and support. Without commenting on any specific allegation, I have no reason to disbelieve any of the allegations made.”

The Vatican confirmed to the documentary for the first time that Casey was formally removed from public ministry in 2007 following “allegations” which, RTÉ says it has established, included his niece Patricia Donovan’s complaint of child sexual abuse. 

That restriction continued for the last ten years of his but life but was never publicly disclosed in Casey’s lifetime.

The documentary has also discovered evidence that Casey violated the Vatican’s sanctions on several occasions and continued to present himself as a priest across several years. 

Galway Diocese has confirmed this, but said that Casey was reprimanded for it by the late Bishop Martin Drennan, who was responsible for policing the restrictions.

In early 2006, the Irish Bishops announced that Casey was moving back to Ireland from England to retire. By this stage, the Vatican had now received at least two allegations of child sexual abuse against him.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided not to prosecute him. Church investigations were ongoing.

The Vatican told the programme that by 2006, following unspecified “allegations”, “Bishop Casey had been requested not to publicly exercise the ministry” and that this was “reiterated formally” a year later.

It said that Casey “was never reinstated… in spite of insistence from him and on his behalf” and “regardless of the outcome of the civil procedures.”

The documentary states that when RTÉ requested clarification from Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the President of the Vatican department responsible for handling complaints of child sexual abuse, he said: “Cases concerning Bishops are reserved to the Holy Father personally and only the Secretariat of State would be in a position to share information.”

Casey consistently denied all the allegations of child sexual abuse made against him. Although all the complaints were reported to An Garda Síochána, he was never charged with, or prosecuted for, any sexual crimes.

Despite his resignation as Bishop of Galway in 1992, he remained a Bishop until his dying day and claimed his removal from ministry was unjust.

The Vatican declined to say what investigative process was followed or whether the sanctions it imposed on Casey were punitive or precautionary.

Bishop Casey’s Buried Secrets will be broadcast tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.

Bishop Eamonn Casey was banned for life by Vatican after multiple child abuse claims

The Vatican banned Bishop Eamonn Casey from public ministry for life after receiving multiple child sexual abuse allegations against him, the Irish Mail on Sunday can reveal.

A major RTÉ documentary in association with the MoS, which airs tonight, investigates how the Catholic Church handled at least five child sexual abuse allegations against the former Bishop of Galway.

It comes after it was previously revealed how four women complained of alleged child sexual abuse against Bishop Casey, including his niece.

Now it has emerged the Vatican reaffirmed the ban on the disgraced Irish cleric’s ministry after his niece, Patricia Donovan, made a complaint of child sex abuse against him in 2005.

In a rare statement, the Vatican confirmed it banned Bishop Casey from ministry before 2006, and reiterated that ban to him the following year.

The RTÉ documentary will broadcast further revelations about the controversial former Bishop of Kerry and Galway, who was forced to resign following his dramatic fall from grace in 1992 after he fathered a child with his distant American cousin, Annie Murphy.

The Vatican ordered him to leave the country and he became a missionary in South America before eventually returning to Ireland in 2006. Bishop Casey remained out of ministry for the last 12 years of his life, from at least 2005 to the day he died on March 13, 2017, aged 89.

The Vatican statement also reveals the ban was never lifted – despite appeals by Casey and his supporters that he should be allowed to return to ministry.

The statement said: ‘We can confirm that Bishop Casey had been requested not to publicly exercise the ministry before 2006, in terms that were reiterated formally in 2007, and he was never reinstated in the following years in spite of insistence from him and on his behalf. When further allegations were produced in 2015, Bishop Casey was already suffering from various physical and mental problems. These were of the type that would have rendered his defence difficult.’

Aside from any criminal investigation or civil case for personal injury damages, the Vatican also conducts its own separate investigations into alleged clerical sexual abuse. Under Vatican rules, clergy members must remain out of ministry until cleared by both State and Church.

However, strict restrictions set down for Bishop Casey’s return to Galway in 2006 were never lifted. At the time, he was suspended from clerical duties as the Vatican examined statements from his niece and other alleged victims. Under the restrictions, Bishop Casey was not allowed to say Mass in public; he could only attend Mass as a member of the congregation or say Mass privately in his own home.

He was also ordered not to give media interviews while the Vatican investigated the complaints against him.

However, Bishop Casey went on to repeatedly breach the Vatican restrictions. He officiated at Mass in several dioceses several times; he continued to wear clerical clothing and represented himself as a priest in good standing.

The complaints sent from Irish dioceses to the Papal Nuncio for Rome’s attention covered the period of three serving Popes, from at least 2001 until after 2016, spanning the papacies of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and the current Pope Francis.

Canon law expert Fr Aidan McGrath said of the Vatican’s internal handling of the case: ‘A bishop himself, his only superior is the pope.’

‘So, who do you report a bishop to? That was never very clear, but certainly… any disciplinary action then would have been taken by the Congregation for Bishops. Now, they are not authorised to set up a tribunal and do an investigation… so they will weigh it up and then… acting on behalf of the pope, would have the authority to impose restrictions.’

By 2005, the Vatican had received at least three complaints of alleged child sexual abuse on file against Bishop Casey. Two of these are related to his time as the Bishop of Kerry. Another dated back to his time in the Limerick Diocese in the late 1950s and 1960s.

The first known complaint against Bishop Casey was received in 2001 by the Limerick Diocese. This later resulted in a settlement, which was confidential at the time. Separately, the Kerry Diocese described the one complaint it directly received against Bishop Casey in 2005 as a historical child safeguarding concern.

But this was recorded as a child sex allegation on the Galway Diocese’s files. In 2005, Patricia Donovan also made her complaint, believing she was the first person to report her uncle.

She also claims that she was abused while he was Bishop of Kerry and that some of the alleged abuse happened in the Kerry Diocese.

Her initial complaint was not filed directly with the Kerry diocese. The complaint the Kerry Diocese received is distinct from Patricia’s.

The two other complaints in 2001 and 2005 had not been publicly reported at that time. But others would follow.

In 2019, the MoS revealed two complaints of alleged child sexual abuse against him in the Limerick Diocese later resulted in settlements. One of these was the complaint made in 2001.

This resulted in a settlement made through the Residential Institutions Redress Board after the plaintiff dropped her High Court action against Bishop Casey.

As a condition under the terms of the Redress Board, the woman was legally prohibited from speaking about the case. 

However, the MoS revealed details of her story in 2019, and in tomorrow night’s documentary – called Bishop Casey’s Buried Secrets – further details will be heard about the specific nature of her alleged complaints of sexual abuse for the first time.

It was also previously revealed how another case taken by a Limerick woman later went to the High Court after she also alleged she was sexually abused as a child. She was awarded a settlement of more than €100,000.

Her complaint was reported to the diocese in 2014 and relates to alleged abuse in the 1960s within the Diocese of Limerick. Ms Donovan, who lives in the UK, also made a criminal complaint to British police in November 2005, alleging she was abused from the age of five for more than a decade.

‘The horror of being raped by him when I was five’: Multiple child abuse allegations made against former bishop Eamonn Casey

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The former Bishop of Galway Eamonn Casey was a serial paedophile who abused his five-year-old niece, a new RTÉ documentary has claimed.

The feature-length documentary, Bishop Casey’s Buried Secrets, alleges that there were multiple complaints of child abuse against Casey, who died in 2017 aged 89.

In 1992, The Irish Times revealed that Casey had fathered a child, Peter, with an American woman, Annie Murphy, and paid her IR£70,000 out of the Diocese of Galway’s funds.

It was the first major sexual scandal to affect the Catholic Church in Ireland, but the charges of child abuse that have been made against Casey are far more serious than those that led to his resignation.

He was removed from public ministry in 2007 by the Vatican after allegations of child abuse had been made against him.

The documentary, to be broadcast on RTÉ One on Monday night, was made with the Mail on Sunday reporter Anne Sheridan.

His niece, Patricia Donovan, revealed publicly for the first time that she was raped by him when she was five and that the sexual abuse continued for many years.

She told the programme: “Some of the things he did to me, and where he did them. The horror of being raped by him when I was five, the violence. And it just carried on in that vein.

“He had no fear of being caught. He thought he could do what he liked, when he liked, how he liked.

“He was almost, like, incensed that I would dare fight against him, that I would dare try and hurt him, I would dare try and stop him. It didn’t make any difference.

“I feel so absolutely and completely and utterly betrayed by the Church I was brought up in.”

The documentary reveals that the Diocese of Galway, where Casey was bishop from 1976 to 1992, received five complaints of childhood sexual abuse against him.

Bishop Casey’s Buried Secrets also reveals how the Limerick Diocese paid more than €100,000 in settlement to one of his accusers after his death.

The current Bishop of Limerick, Dr Brendan Leahy, who has access to documents relating to complaints made in his diocese, says: “I express deep sorrow and regret to anyone who has been wounded by clerical abuse, including the people referred to in this documentary.

“They deserve our respect, belief and support. Without commenting on any specific allegation, I have no reason to disbelieve any of the allegations made.”

The documentary reveals that Casey disobeyed Vatican sanctions and continued to practice as a priest. He was reprimanded for this by the then Bishop of Galway, Martin Drennan.

That restriction continued for the last ten years of his life, but was never publicly disclosed in Bishop Casey’s lifetime.

In 2006, the Irish bishops announced that Casey was moving back to Ireland from England to retire. By that stage the Vatican had received at least two allegations of child sexual abuse against him, but the DPP decided not to prosecute.

The Vatican told the programme that Casey was “never reinstated . . . in spite of insistence from him and on his behalf”.

Bishop Casey’s Buried Secrets will be broadcast on Monday at 9.35pm on RTÉ One and is available worldwide on the RTÉ Player.

Niece of Bishop Eamonn Casey: ‘It was the worst kind of abuse…it was horrific’

A niece of Eamonn Casey, who claims she was raped and sexually abused by the former Bishop of Galway, said her fear that another young girl would be his next victim was what prompted her to report her allegations to gardaí.

Patricia Donovan, from Limerick, first reported Bishop Casey for alleged abuse in 2005, which allegedly took place from the late 1960s, starting when she was just five years old and continuing for more than a decade.

Ms Donovan spoke out for the first time in 2019 to the Irish Mail on Sunday, which extensively reported details of her allegations, along with separate abuse claims made by other women.

Now, more than 50 years after the alleged abuse, Ms Donovan’s own voice will be heard for the first time as she reveals her efforts to hold Catholic Church authorities to account in an RTÉ documentary made in association with the MoS.

Retracing how she finally decided to pick up the phone and report her uncle to authorities, Ms Donovan tells the documentary: ‘I had found out that he was visiting someone and staying overnight where there was a teenage girl, and that was what was in my mind when I picked up the phone. All I thought of was that girl.’

Ms Donovan previously told the MoS the alleged abuse happened in the three dioceses where her uncle served – Limerick, Kerry and Galway.

‘He was quite organised and selective, and I think he saw that I was vulnerable and quite sensitive. It was rape, everything you imagine. It was the worst kind of abuse. It was horrific. I stopped being able long ago to find any words in the English language to describe what happened to me. It was one horrific thing after another,’ she said.

Detectives in Limerick went to England to take a statement from Ms Donovan in January 2006 but, by August of the same year, the DPP directed that no charges be brought on 13 sample allegations.

Bishop Casey, who denied the allegations, later said he was ‘utterly amazed’ by the speed of the decision from the DPP, claiming he had only been interviewed by gardaí a few weeks previously.

Documentation seen by the MoS reveals numerous attempts by Ms Donovan in the intervening years to ensure her alleged abuser did not have access to, and could not potentially abuse, any other children.

In particular, she strove to ensure sanctions and restrictions imposed by the Catholic Church on his ministry were adhered to.

Disgraced Bishop Eamonn Casey repeatedly said Mass despite ban

Bishop Eamonn Casey's 'Buried Secrets ...


Bishop Eamonn Casey flouted restrictions imposed upon him by the Vatican in several dioceses and for years after the ban on his ministry was imposed.

The disgraced former Bishop of Galway was not permitted to exercise public ministry, including saying public Mass, by the Vatican from 2005 up to his death in 2017, after several child abuse allegations were made against him.

But such was the level of secrecy in the Church, the Vatican’s ban was not communicated to some dioceses in Ireland, and nor were the public informed.

A major documentary by RTÉ in association with the Irish Mail on Sunday – Bishop Casey’s Buried Secrets, which airs tomorrow night – reveals that, after he was formally removed from ministry in 2007, Bishop Casey officiated or concelebrated Mass in three different dioceses on numerous occasions over at least three years.

Bishop Casey’s niece, Patricia Donovan, who reported him in 2005 for alleged sexual abuse, had repeatedly tried to hold the Church to account since the ban on his ministry was imposed – particularly after he apparently officiated at her own mother’s funeral in February 2007. She also sought to ensure that he would uphold these restrictions.

Ms Donovan told RTÉ: ‘I reported him here [in the UK], and as soon as it went over to Ireland; that’s when they stopped listening to me. I absolutely believed that he would never say Mass in public again, and that the Church would actually enforce that.’

Ian Elliott, the former head of the Church’s board for safeguarding children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, also told RTÉ: ‘Whether he is concelebrating or whether he was positioning himself in a situation where he was wearing clerical garb, where he was looking to present himself as someone who was in good standing in the Church; that’s wrong and shouldn’t have happened.’

Bishop Casey breached the Vatican’s order in the Galway and Limerick dioceses on a number of occasions, following his return to the Galway Diocese in February 2006.

He was forced to leave the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton in England in 2006, on foot of the allegations by his niece in 2005 – and retired to Shanaglish in south Galway.

The Galway Diocese ultimately had canonical responsibility for him. A spokesman for the Galway Diocese stated: ‘He was prohibited by the Congregation [for Bishops] from exercising public ministry and this prohibition was repeated to him and maintained throughout his years of residing in the diocese. This prohibition was a source of upset to Bishop Casey and on a few publicly documented occasions it is known he violated this prohibition. To the extent that such instances became known to [then] Bishop of Galway [Martin Drennan], the prohibition was renewed formally to Bishop Casey.’

The Limerick Leader newspaper also reported in June 2007 that Bishop Casey returned to Limerick and officiated at a jubilee Mass. On that occasion, he was pictured wearing vestments and standing on the altar with Fr Seamus Power as he posed for photographs.

A spokesman for the Limerick Diocese confirmed: ‘Bishop Casey did not seek or obtain permission from the diocese to be involved in the jubilee Mass in Holy Rosary Parish in 2007. It appears from our enquiries that Bishop Casey arrived unexpectedly, sat at the side of the sanctuary and did not concelebrate or officiate at the Mass.’ 

The Limerick Diocese also confirmed it was ‘not notified of any restrictions’ that were in place at that time on Bishop Casey – restrictions that remained in place up until his death.

‘These include the priest being required to show a Celebret or letter from his own diocese and signing the sacristy register.’

In April 2010, three years after the Vatican formally reiterated the ban to him, Dr Casey took part in the funeral Mass for his grandnephew, killed in a crash in Co. Wexford.

Despite the restrictions, he delivered a passage of the Gospel of St Matthew and gave out Communion. He also joined in the Eucharistic prayer with local priest Fr John Carroll.

Fr Carroll, the priest officiating at the funeral Mass, told RTÉ he was not aware of any restrictions on Bishop Casey’s ministry at that time.

Fr Carroll said in a statement: ‘Permission was neither sought from – nor given by – Ferns Diocese (nor from or by any other group) – as I was not aware of any restrictions on his ministry.’

The sanctions imposed by Rome were eventually enforced, but due to the Vatican’s strict secrecy in handling sexual abuse allegations, few people knew why Bishop Casey was forbidden to say Mass. 

Some had presumed wrongly it was due to his affair with Annie Murphy, and many parishioners and members of the clergy believed the Church was being unduly harsh.

Canon law expert Fr Tom Doyle argues the public had a right to know why Bishop Casey was formally removed from the ministry ‘so that the people who continued to defend him, to put their trust in him would know what was really going on and also to avoid this from happening to anybody else, which did not seem to have been a consideration, with the Vatican at least’.

Investigation into allegations of abuse by Bishop Eamonn Casey to be aired

Disgraced Bishop Eamonn Casey was a ‘sexual predator’ and an ‘offender,’ the former head of the Church’s child safeguarding board has said.

In a major documentary in association with the Irish Mail on Sunday to be aired on Monday on RTÉ One, it will also be revealed that Dr Casey was accused of sexually abusing a child during his time as Bishop of Galway in the 1980s.

For the first time, complaints received by the Church also show that he allegedly had sexual relationships with a number of adult women in the 1960s – a decade before he fathered a son, Peter, with his distant American cousin Annie Murphy in 1974.

The Galway Diocese has said that these relationships with adult women, which were reported to them in 2011 and date back to the 1960s, were relationships where Bishop Casey ‘abused their trust’. He was also accused of making an unwanted sexual advance to another woman in Limerick, which was rejected, Church records show.

By the time of his death in 2017 members of the Catholic Church knew of all eight allegations against children and women – but nonetheless a decision was taken by the Galway Diocese to inter him in the Bishops’ Crypt within Galway Cathedral. 

The Galway Diocese has also confirmed they had more allegations on him in their files than it previously disclosed. It told the Irish Mail on Sunday in 2019 it had one allegation on file. But it later admitted it had five allegations of child sexual abuse on file.

The five allegations of child sexual abuse were reported in every Irish diocese he served – Limerick, Kerry and Galway – and took place from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Among those five complaints is one by Bishop Casey’s niece Patricia Donovan, from Limerick, who claims that she was raped and sexually assaulted by him from the age of five in 1967 for more than a decade. She reported her claims in 2005 but Bishop Casey was never charged or convicted for any sexual offence.

The Irish Mail on Sunday revealed that the Vatican banned Bishop Casey from public ministry for life in 2007 after it received a number of allegations against him. The ban on his ministry was placed on him before 2006, the Vatican said, and it was re-iterated in 2007. It remained in place until the day he died on March 13, 2017, but it was never communicated to the public during his lifetime.

Ian Elliott, the former head of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Irish Catholic Church, who has direct knowledge of Ms Donovan’s complaint, told Monday night’s programme: ‘I found the report, the story that Patricia had shared, to be entirely credible. I felt that she was relaying to me what she had experienced and that made me even more determined to ensure that the restrictions [on his ministry] were adhered to.’

Asked for his view now of Bishop Casey, he said: ‘That he was an offender, a sexual predator.’He added: ‘The fact of the matter is that individuals have come forward and spoken about numerous sexual activities, some consensual, others not. Many involved very young people. That is wrong and there is no justification for that and it should have been stopped. Those that have been distressed and hurt should be helped and supported by the Church. That is a major priority.’

The Limerick Diocese, which paid over €100,000 in a settlement to one of Bishop Casey’s accusers who took a case in the High Court in 2016 for damages for alleged sexual abuse, issued a statement on behalf of the current Bishop, Dr Brendan Leahy. 

Bishop Leahy, who has access to all documents relating to complaints made in his diocese, said: ‘I express deep sorrow and regret to anyone who has been wounded by clerical abuse, including the people referred to in this documentary. They deserve our respect, belief and support. Without commenting on any specific allegation, I have no reason to disbelieve any of the allegations made.’

The MoS also revealed that the very first known complaint of abuse made against Bishop Casey in 2001 went missing after it was received by the Limerick Diocese and passed on to the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, where he was working at the time.

The receipt of that allegation should have seen him suspended immediately pending further investigation. But instead he remained active in that parish, mainly as a hospital chaplain, for another four years until Ms Donovan reported him in 2005. He was suspended from ministry and returned to Galway, which had canonical responsibility for him, to retire.

The MoS revealed in 2019 that the late Bishop Casey faced at least four allegations of child sexual abuse, with two of those resulting in large financial settlements being made to two of the women.

In addition, Ms Donovan also publicly revealed for the first time in the MoS her allegations that she was raped and sexually abused by her famous uncle.

Now, on foot of a series of MoS exposés, RTÉ is set to air a 90-minute documentary on Monday night.

Entitled ‘Bishop Casey’s Buried Secrets’, it reveals further allegations of child abuse and other relationships with women, which have not been publicly disclosed until now. Speaking for the first time on camera, Ms Donovan claims he first raped her at the age of five and that the abuse continued for years.

She told RTÉ: ‘Some of the things he did to me, and where he did them. The horror of being raped by him when I was five, the violence. And it just carried on in that vein. He had no fear of being caught.

‘He thought he could do what he liked, when he liked, how he liked. He was almost, like, incensed that I would dare fight against him, that I would dare try and hurt him, I would dare try and stop him. It didn’t make any difference.’

The Diocese of Galway has now confirmed that in total they received eight allegations against Bishop Casey – five were allegations of child abuse, two involved sexual relations with women, and another complaint of an unwanted sexual advance was also received in Limerick.

Galway Diocese had confirmed that ‘two people came forward with complaints that, while they were adults, Bishop Casey had abused their trust and that such abuse involved sexual acts. These complaints were also notified to the Garda and HSE.’

A spokesman for the Galway Diocese confirmed: ‘At the time of his death, the diocesan records indicate awareness on the part of the Diocese of Galway of five people who had complained of childhood sexual abuse against Bishop Casey.’

For most of her adult life, Ms Donovan believed she was the only person who had accused him. 

But she learned via the MoS in 2019 two women had received substantial settlements, one through the Residential Institutions Redress Board and another following a High Court case.