Sunday, December 19, 2010

Complaint 'hushed up', according to local priest

FR MICHAEL CLEARY and CANON VAL ROGERS: ONE OF the first complaints against Tony Walsh was "hushed up" according to the parish priest of Ballyfermot at that time.

The mother of a 14-year-old boy contacted canon Val Rogers in 1979 seeking action after her son alleged that he was abused by Walsh in 1978 and 1979.

Although the abuse ended after the boy told his mother, the only action taken, according to the report, was for Fr Michael Cleary to go to the boy's house to "educate him on issues of male sexuality". 

The boy's mother told the commission that Fr Cleary also apologised.

In 1985, canon Rogers told Msgr Alex Stenson that matters were "hushed up" at the time of the complaint, the second to be made against Walsh.

Walsh's housekeeper later recalled Fr Cleary breaking into Walsh's room and arguing with him although she did not know what that argument was about.

In 1988 after Walsh signed a contract with the archdiocese undertaking to restrict his contact with children he nominated Fr Cleary as his "spiritual director".

In April 1990, archbishop Desmond Connell and Msgr Stenson met Walsh and told him the only options available to him were voluntary laicisation or dismissal. But msgr Gerard Sheehy intervened on his behalf warning the archbishop of a "canonical minefield".

Msgr Sheehy spoke to canon Rogers and Fr Cleary and was satisfied that they understood the problem and would use their influence to persuade Walsh to voluntarily apply for laicisation.

By January 1991, Walsh was living in Halston Street in Dublin where canon Rogers and Fr Cleary were to monitor him.

At this time Fr Cleary organised for Walsh to attend a psychologist.