Saturday, January 14, 2017

Middle-aged man claims young priest he met through gay dating site sexually assaulted him

CW Editor Note: this story was published in the Irish Independent newspaper today, Saturday 14th. January 2017. 
As can be seen with the original story here, there are no names mentioned other than that of the current Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, but we here in CW have the actual names and have highlighted them in red.

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A middle-aged man has claimed he was sexually assaulted on Catholic church property by a young cleric (Deacon Michael Byrne) he met through a gay dating site.

It is understood that Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has been made aware of the allegations.

The gardaí's sexual assault unit has reportedly also been informed but cannot launch an investigation until the alleged victim comes forward to them.

It is alleged that the young member of the clergy (Deacon Michael Byrne) first met the individual in 2015 on the site which is geared towards those interested in mature men.

In his profile, the young cleric (Deacon Michael Byrne) expressed a preference for men aged between 50 and 90.

The man alleges he visited the cleric (Deacon Michael Byrne) at a presbytery in 2015 and stayed there overnight.

He claims that he left to go to bed early, and was later awoken by the cleric (Deacon Michael Byrne) who proceeded to sexually assault him.

The man, who is described as a rural-based professional, this week informed an inside source (Bishop Pat Buckley) in the church of what had occurred in the Catholic presbytery.

The man told the source (Bishop Pat Buckley) that he had not yet approached the gardaí as he was fearful that this would result in his sexuality being revealed.

The alleged victim claimed that after he tried to confront the cleric (Deacon Michael Byrne) about the alleged assault, he received a number of aggressive messages from the young cleric (Deacon Michael Byrne)

The man has told the source (Bishop Pat Buckley) he was fearful that the young cleric (Deacon Michael Byrne) would tell others that he was gay.

An inside source (Bishop Pat Buckley) in the church told the Irish Independent that he had this week emailed all the relevant information to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

He said that he (Bishop Pat Buckley) had also spoken to Dr Martin twice by telephone, once on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday evening.

Some of the material emailed to Dr Martin relates to one sexually explicit image and one facial image of the cleric (Deacon Michael Byrne) which he had emailed to his alleged victim.

"I believe this young man (Deacon Michael Byrne) is not suitable for priesthood," the source (Bishop Pat Buckley) told the Irish Independent.

The source (Bishop Pat Buckley) expressed concern that the young cleric (Deacon Michael Byrne), who recently took a vow of celibacy, "may do this (sexual assault) again in the future".


The Irish Independent asked the archbishop if he was aware of the allegations and if he was investigating them or reporting them to gardaí.

However, despite several requests for a comment, no response was forthcoming from the archbishop.

The allegations come as the archbishop lands in Rome ahead of the Irish bishops' ad limina visit to the Vatican, which will see all of the country's Catholic bishops meet Pope Francis next Friday.

While a papal visit in 2018 is likely to be high on the agenda, last year's scandal in Maynooth seminary is also likely to figure prominently.

The Pope has on a number of occasions made his concerns about priestly formation known.

In his profile on the gay dating website, which is no longer online, the young cleric (Deacon Michael Byrne) describes himself as 'versatile' when it comes to sex. The description said that although he likes deep conversations, he also enjoys "no-strings-attached" sex "every now and then".

Last August, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin announced he was withdrawing some of his seminarians from Maynooth after it was revealed that some trainee priests were using the gay dating app Grindr.

The latest scandal emerges as the Irish bishops signalled that they are unwilling to bring before Pope Francis calls by members of the Irish laity for married priests, despite the crisis in vocations and collapse in priestly numbers.

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