Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sex abuse complaint lodged with Vincentians

A SEX ABUSE complaint was lodged yesterday with the Vincentian Order about the period the notorious Fr Donal Gallagher spent as a priest in a Cork city parish.

Fr Gallagher spent 10 years at Sunday’s Well, from 1962-1966 and from 1968-1974, before moving to Dublin.

According to the Dublin Archdiocese report published on Thursday, a total of 14 complaints were made against him in Dublin but the report authors said they expect he abused many more.

Fr Gallagher abused girls at St Mary’s School for the Deaf in Dublin, many during confession, but there were also complaints about him assaulting young boys.

A spokesman for the Vincentians confirmed that a complaint had been lodged with them in relation to Fr Gallagher’s time in Cork and that it would be fully investigated and all necessary authorities informed.

The victim said last night that "it was common knowledge in Sunday’s Well that he was a priest to be avoided".

It’s understood that while in Cork Fr Gallagher worked with the Sunday’s Well children’s choir and was also chaplain to the deaf in Cork City. He was also in charge of altar boys and was heavily involved with basketball in the city.

"He was known to many of the young girls as ‘Any Tickles’ as that is what he would say before he would try to publicly grope you. He pawed at us and did it publicly among groups of children so you were all confused as to whether this was allowed or not. Altar boys at the time also knew that he was danger and he was known to put his hands down the boys’ trousers," she said.

"His big threat was that if an altar boy complained he would ‘throw you off the altar’. That was worse than being expelled back in those days. He told me that he would have me kicked out of the Church.

"He was completely depraved. We all knew it, but parents had put huge trust in him... He was hugely looked up to," she said.

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