Commission of Investigation: Report Into the Catholic Archdi

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Re: Commission of Investigation: Report Into the Catholic Ar

Postby admin » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:03 am

Chapter 38: Fr John Kinsella


38.1 Fr John Kinsella was born in 1948. He was ordained in Dublin in 1973 for a diocese in the UK. From September 1973 to December 1973 he served as a temporary replacement for the parish priest in Enniskerry who was ill. The arrangement for this temporary replacement was made by the Dublin Archdiocese. All the complaints of child sexual against Fr Kinsella abuse which are known to the Commission arose during this period. He moved to work in his UK diocese in January 1974. He had various problems which resulted in his spending some time in Stroud and he was suspended from priestly duties for a period in 1993/1994. The Commission has no evidence that these problems were connected to child sexual abuse.

38.2 There are a number of complaints of child sexual abuse against Fr Kinsella. He has been convicted in respect of two boys and has served a term of imprisonment. His present whereabouts are unknown.

Complaint, 1995

38.3 The first complaint to the Archdiocese of Dublin concerning child sexual abuse by Fr Kinsella was made in March 1995. This followed revelations by the complainant in late 1994 and early 1995 in an RTE radio programme and a Channel 4 programme.

38.4 Monsignor Alex Stenson met the complainant in March 1995. Monsignor Stenson suggested that the complainant make a formal complaint to the Gardaí and that he take advice from his own solicitor. However, the complainant recalls that the manner in which those suggestions were made was aggressive and that he left the meeting feeling considerably annoyed.

38.5 Following that meeting the complainant did make a complaint to the Gardaí.

38.6 The complainant alleged that he and his brother had both been abused by Fr Kinsella while Fr Kinsella was attached to Enniskerry parish. Fr Kinsella had met the complainant‟s brother on a Dublin diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes shortly after he was ordained. After his return, Fr Kinsella visited the boy‟s home on the north side of Dublin and befriended his family. He offered to take the boy to Enniskerry. On the first such occasion in Enniskerry, the boy was required to sleep in the priest‟s bed and was then sexually assaulted by him. Two weeks later, he again called to the boy‟s home, collected him and brought him to Enniskerry, where he again sexually assaulted him, this time forcing him to have oral sex.

38.7 A short while later, Fr Kinsella took the two brothers to Enniskerry and on the first available opportunity, had the complainant sleep in his bed and sexually assaulted him. He also abused the complainant on another occasion in the presence of a third boy.

Church inquiries

38.8 Monsignor Stenson commenced an immediate inquiry into the allegations made by the complainant. He attempted to obtain an address for Fr Kinsella. As a result of various efforts on Monsignor Stenson‟s part, a priest in the UK telephoned Monsignor Stenson and informed him that Fr Kinsella was staying with him and that he and the local parish priest were aware of certain “goings on” with regard to Fr Kinsella. Eventually Fr Kinsella contacted Monsignor Stenson by telephone in June 1995. Monsignor Stenson suggested that he come to Dublin and meet him and the diocesan solicitor. He also suggested that Fr Kinsella bring along his own solicitor. The specific complaints made by the complainant were not discussed during this conversation. Fr Kinsella did confirm that he had acted as a relief priest in Enniskerry and knew of the complainant.

38.9 It appears that Monsignor Stenson did not meet Fr Kinsella.

Garda investigation and conviction

38.10 The Garda investigation was in progress. A number of other complainants made similar allegations to those made by the two brothers. A comprehensive investigation was carried out.

38.11 In February 1999, Fr Kinsella was convicted on two counts of sexual assault on each of the brothers. He was sentenced to a term of eight years in prison; five of these were suspended. He was released from prison in May 2001.

Civil claims

38.12 The first complainant sought help from the Archdiocese to meet the cost of counselling fees. The Archdiocese offered a victim support representative to the complainant. Negotiations did not resolve the areas under discussion and legal proceedings were issued in October 1997. The proceedings were settled in February 1999. The complainant‟s brother also settled his civil claim with the Archdiocese in September 1999.


38.13 Prior to Fr Kinsella‟s release from prison in May 2001, his brother wrote to Archbishop Connell regarding his plans for Fr Kinsella on his release. The Archbishop replied that he had raised the matter with his bishop in the UK diocese. The UK bishop signalled that he intended sending a representative to see Fr Kinsella before his discharge. The note contained the views of the bishop, namely that Fr Kinsella should voluntarily seek laicisation, in default of which the diocese would request that Rome deal with the matter. The bishop did not consider that he had an obligation to assist Fr Kinsella financially. The Archdiocese of Dublin, at this stage, had no authority over, and no responsibility for, Fr Kinsella.

38.14 Fr Kinsella seems to have disappeared after his release from prison. He did not contact his own bishop. He was not required to report to the Gardaí as the Sex Offenders Act 2001 (see Appendix 2) was not yet in effect.

38.15 His UK diocese told the Commission in 2007 that they had no address for him.

The Commission’s assessment

38.16 This was a difficult case for the Archdiocese because it involved a priest over whom it had no jurisdiction at the time the complaints were made nor did it have any easy way to contact him. Monsignor Stenson did make considerable efforts to contact him and did succeed. The Gardaí carried out a thorough investigation which resulted in his conviction and imprisonment.

38.17 It is a cause of concern that his current whereabouts are unknown but this is the case for many sex offenders.
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Re: Commission of Investigation: Report Into the Catholic Ar

Postby admin » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:04 am

Chapter 39: Fr Laurentius*107


39.1 Fr Laurentius is a member of a religious order. He was born in 1935 and ordained in 1966. He spent a number of years working in Africa. He then returned to Ireland where his main activity was as chaplain to a vocational school in Dublin from 1973 to 1983. He subsequently spent a number of years working in parishes in a first world country. Since 1994, he has been living in one of his order‟s houses in Ireland and, since 1996, he has not been allowed any public ministry.

39.2 Fr Laurentius is a promiscuous man who has had numerous sexual relationships with women in all of the countries and areas in which he ministered. He claims that his sexual relationships were all with adults. There are two complaints from named underage girls in Ireland.

Complaints while working abroad

39.3 While he was working abroad in the first world country, in 1990, complaints were made about his relationships with adult women. A nun reported to the local head of the order and the local bishop that a number of women were disturbed by his behaviour and a formal complaint was made by one of these women. Fr Laurentius had been counselling her in respect of her sexual abuse as a child and her marital difficulties. A sexual relationship developed between Fr Laurentius and this woman. She complained that he was exploiting her and she was concerned that he would abuse other vulnerable women.

39.4 The local head of the order108 discussed the matter with Fr Laurentius and with the bishop. Fr Laurentius denied that there was any exploitation involved; he said the woman had initiated the sexual contact and he had succumbed out of human weakness. Later, he told the local bishop and the head of the order that the woman had withdrawn the allegation and apologised. The head of the order told the bishop that he hoped the incident was “over and done with”. There is no evidence that either checked whether or not the woman had, in fact, withdrawn the allegation. The bishop agreed that Fr Laurentius should continue in his parish duties.

39.5 In January 1994 another woman contacted the order to complain that she had been indecently assaulted by Fr Laurentius. She had reported the assault to another priest in the parish who, although he thought she was fantasising, told her to contact the head of the order. Fr Laurentius made an apology in writing to this woman and accepted that he had assaulted her. The woman concerned accepted the apology but she was surprised and concerned that he would be returning to parish work. She was aware of concerns expressed by other women about him.

39.6 Fr Laurentius was sent for treatment to Jemez Springs, New Mexico in February 1994. In the letter of reference, the head of the order outlined Fr Launentius‟s background; said that he “finds celibacy in great conflict with his natural instincts and drives”; summarised the two specific complaints that had been made and explained that the order had had other complaints about his words and behaviour.

39.7 While in Jemez Springs, Fr Laurentius revealed that he had been sexually abused as a child. He also revealed that he had a relationship with a woman in Dublin whom he still loved. He said he had been involved with more than 40 women some of whom were under the age of 18. In an initial report, the doctors and therapists considered that he had benefited from the treatment but he needed strong support structures and safeguards and recommended that he not take part in any pastoral counselling of women, especially women who were needy. He was not to engage in direct one-to-one ministry with women nor have unsupervised contact with women.

39.8 In a later psychological report, it was stated that Fr Laurentius showed a better understanding of his sexual patterns and was able to acknowledge that some women were hurt by his actions. He had also admitted that he had treated women as objects. However, he failed to appreciate how his position as a priest coloured every aspect of his behaviour. He was unable to appreciate the power difference as a result of his being a priest. He also continued to express serious errors in his thinking regarding the sexual contact he had had with several youths. The report concluded that he had made significant gains while in treatment. However, he did require much more work to maintain, integrate and further his treatment gains. He genuinely cared for most of the 40 women with whom he had been involved but he assumed that, because he was not intentionally hurting these women, his behaviour was healthy for a secular man. He was regarded as remaining at considerable risk of more sexual contact with women and girls. This risk was increased by the fact that Fr Laurentius considered himself to be “cured” and a completely new man. As a result, it was highly recommended that he not have any one-to-one ministry with women. It was acknowledged that he would progress best in a community rather than working in isolation at a parish or mission and that he should have a long-term counsellor. The psychologist also stressed that, just because his focus was on adult women, it should not be forgotten that he had also had sexual contact with minors and that this was a major past and potential problem.

39.9 The assessments and reports from Jemez Springs were sent to the head of the order in Ireland. The head of the order in the country where the complaints had been made had asked for this to be done – he was concerned that such reports might be subpoenaed in his country. Fr Laurentius returned to one of the order‟s houses in Ireland in September/October 1994. In accordance with the continuing care recommendations of Jemez Springs, he signed a supervision contract with the order. A named supervisor was appointed. This supervisor was informed of his background. The contract did not mention any restrictions on ministry or on movement. The order has told the Commission that, at this stage, he was forbidden to have any one to one ministry with women. He was allowed to say mass in public and this could have involved supply work outside the order‟s house.

First Irish complainant

39.10 In May 1995, the first Irish complainant reported to the Gardaí that she had been abused by Fr Laurentius about 20 years earlier when she was aged 16 or 17. This complainant had been abused as a child in a residential institution and the abuse by Fr Laurentius occurred while she was living in a hostel run by the order that had run the residential institution. Fr Laurentius was a frequent visitor to this hostel and the complainant also visited him in the order‟s house. In December 1995, the Gardaí visited Fr Laurentius to tell him about the allegation and they invited him to make a statement after caution. He declined. He spoke to the Gardaí “off the record” about his difficult relationship with his father, his strong sexual urges and his difficulty with celibacy. He admitted having made mistakes and was anxious to speak openly. He later made a statement to the Gardaí in the company of his solicitor and he denied the allegations.

39.11 The order‟s advisory panel was informed of the allegation. The delegate of the order expressed concern at this meeting that other girls had been visiting Fr Laurentius around the time the alleged abuse occurred. The head of the order suggested that Fr Laurentius should remain where he was and be monitored. It was considered that it would be unjust to remove him without interview because his history was with adult women. It seems that the advisory panel did not see the reports from Jemez Springs. It was decided that a preliminary investigation would not be started but instead any investigation would be left to the civil law. However, there would be an initial assessment. It was concluded that there was a “semblance of truth” in the allegation from what had been gleaned from the assessment so far. It was decided to put Fr Laurentius on administrative leave. The conditions included no pastoral ministry and no public mass. He was allowed to say mass privately and to wear clerical garb. The bishop in the area where he was living was informed.

39.12 Fr Laurentius told the head of the order that he remembered being visited by a young woman but there had been no sexual contact.

39.13 Shortly afterwards, in March 1996, this complainant informed the order‟s solicitors that she intended to take civil proceedings against Fr Laurentius and the order. Such proceedings were never actually pursued. There was no direct contact between this complainant and the order and it does not appear that any offer of counselling was made.

39.14 The Gardaí, having investigated the complaint, did not recommend prosecution because of the lapse of time and insufficient evidence. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided not to prosecute as there had been a considerable delay in making the complaint. The delay involved was approximately 20 years.

Second Irish complainant

39.15 In March 1997, another complainant emerged. She complained that she had been sexually abused by Fr Laurentius when she was 17. The head of the order and subsequently the delegate met her. She had been introduced to Fr Laurentius by a friend who thought he could help her with various problems she had, including sexual abuse by a family member when she was between seven and ten years old. She said Fr Laurentius seemed very kind and interested. He told her she would have to forgive her abuser. He then told her she was frigid and he could help her overcome this. He engaged in sexual activity with her over a year to a year and a half – this included full sexual intercourse. She described to the Gardaí how he effectively had power over her and she would do whatever he wanted. The abuse stopped when she met the man who was to become her husband. This was when she was about 19. She had attended a therapist in 1994 and 1995 and had given a similar account of her experiences there – this was two years before she complained to the order or the Gardaí. She had written a letter to her then boyfriend in 1978 which indicated that she had been engaging in sexual activity with Fr Laurentius before she met him (the boyfriend).

39.16 Fr Laurentius denied to the order that any sexual transgression of any kind occurred with this complainant.

39.17 The order and the complainant reported the allegation to the Gardaí. Fr Laurentius told the Gardaí in September 1997 that he did have sexual intercourse with her but that it was consensual and occurred when she was aged about 26. He said: “It was a really close good friendship, natural and happy and the sexual relationship developed at the end”. He said they had been friendly for eight to nine years before this occurred.

39.18 The investigating Gardaí were convinced that the complainant had been sexually abused. They recognised that this would be difficult to prove. They recommended that Fr Laurentius be prosecuted under Section 3 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 1885. This makes it an offence to procure a woman by false pretences or false representations to have unlawful sexual intercourse. Later, the DPP decided not to prosecute because the complainant was over 17 when the abuse occurred and the evidence suggested that she consented to the sexual activity.

39.19 The order notified the local bishop of the complaint but did not notify the Archbishop of Dublin even though the alleged abuse occurred when Fr Laurentius was working in the Archdiocese.

39.20 The second foreign complainant (who claimed she had been indecently assaulted as an adult) then started legal proceedings in relation to the sexual assault which Fr Laurentius had admitted. There were discussions between the order in Ireland and the order in the other country on how to handle the claim. The head of the order in Ireland told the head in the other country that Fr Laurentius was not in ministry and would not be. He also told him that the report from Jemez Springs was “absolutely confidential” to the head of the order in Ireland and could not be discussed.

List of women

39.21 In October 1997, Fr Laurentius provided the head of the order with a list of the women who had been in his life. He had had a sexual relationship with eight women while in Africa, 26 women while in Ireland, three women while doing supply work abroad (in another first world country) and nine women in the first world country where complaints were made (including the two whose initial complaints had brought the problem to light). He gave the ages of all these women including the ages of those whose names he did not give. According to Fr Laurentius, they were mainly in their 20s or early 30s. He named a number of 15-16 and 17-year-olds with whom he had a “friendship”. He described the number of times he had sexual intercourse with each individual. He said “full intercourse rarely took place and contraceptives were always used”. The list included the second Irish complainant, gave her age as 26 and said there was sexual intercourse once. It also included the first Irish complainant, gave her age as 17 and described the relationship as “friendship”.

39.22 Fr Laurentius was sent to the Granada Institute for assessment. It is not clear what background information was given to Granada. It was not given a copy of the Jemez Springs report but was aware that he had been in Jemez Springs. The order explained to the Commission that this may have been because the report stated that it may not be released to anyone without the written permission of the priest. Further, the delegate at the time considered that the assessment by Granada was an opportunity to get a second opinion and that sharing the Jemez Springs report might influence Granada‟s findings. A report from Granada in February 1998 stated that Fr Laurentius‟s sexual orientation was towards adult females and there was “no evidence of any erotic interest in children which precludes a diagnosis of paedophilia”. Granada concluded that Fr Laurentius had a well-developed sense of social intelligence and elevated level of disinhibition. He had high needs for excitement and stimulation and would flout convention in pursuit of this. It was recommended that he continue individual psychotherapy. He would derive little benefit from a strictly imposed structural regime. However, he would benefit significantly if he could be empowered to negotiate a mutually acceptable framework of accountability with his superiors. It would also benefit him if he could be constructively employed so as to foster further positive engagement in the religious community.

39.23 The order then proposed a new contract for Fr Laurentius. This would involve, among other things, not celebrating mass in public or engaging in any form of ministry. It would also require him to get permission to leave his house and to tell the local superior where he was going. Fr Laurentius considered that this later proposal was an infringement of his rights and dignity. It was suited for someone who had been convicted of child sexual abuse. He considered that the Granada report had effectively cleared him of any suspicion of child sexual abuse.

39.24 The advisory panel recommended the formal removal of his priestly faculties and wanted him to sign the proposed contract. He was also to be informed that he was not to be alone with any woman.

39.25 The order delegate met Granada in August 1998. Granada was firmly of the view that the priest had been conducting adult relationships. Granada considered that he had acknowledged his wrongdoing but the order delegate was more sceptical – it was more a question of “notches in his gun”. The concern of both the order and Granada at this stage seemed to be mainly the question of integration of Fr Laurentius in his community and reconciling conflicts in his life (between his vow of celibacy and his sexual activities).

Granada considered that the order was making itself into a type of guard for Fr Laurentius and this could not continue. Granada asked why the order did not tell him that he could not continue to be a member of the order.

39.26 Fr Laurentius himself thought there should be no restrictions as he was not a paedophile and he was not involved with any woman at this stage. The delegate and Fr Laurentius then met Granada. Granada said that restricting his ministry was not unreasonable given that, in all professions, engaging in sexual conduct with a client would mean the end of the professional career. All were agreed that he was not a child abuser.

39.27 The delegate met the second Irish complainant and her husband in December 1998. She mentioned the possibility of a civil case. The delegate concluded that there was probably some truth in what she was alleging.

39.28 In early 1999, the delegate met Granada to discuss the possibility of limited ministry – this would involve saying mass in public but not allowing confession or counselling, especially to women. The record of the meeting which was made by the order shows that Granada repeated that there was nothing to show that Fr Laurentius was a child or adolescent sexual abuser. They were in favour of his having limited ministry.

39.29 The advisory panel deferred consideration of the proposal that he be allowed to return to limited ministry in order to enable a full dossier to be prepared including all reports.

39.30 In May 1999, the order formally asked Granada to consider the question of Fr Laurentius‟s return to limited ministry. Granada acknowledged that their earlier report had concluded that Fr Laurentius was “not erotically attracted to children, and consequently did not pose a threat of sexually abusing children”. However, it had become apparent that he had difficulty making himself accountable to the religious order and had a history of repeatedly breaking ministerial boundaries and utilising his priestly status to gain access to female company. Consequently, Granada felt that it could not endorse his return to ministry with the public.

39.31 The second Irish complainant started civil proceedings and a settlement of these proceedings has been reached.

39.32 Fr Laurentius continued to complain about what he described as the “continuing and unjust denial of priestly ministry” and about the assessment processes. The head of the order did not accept Fr Laurentius‟s view and showed considerable patience in dealing with him. The head of the order, understandably, admitted to having difficulty in maintaining charity or even hope in dealing with this “fool”. The advisory panel was firmly of the view in 2001 that there was no question of his return to ministry because his violations were far too serious. It recommended that he be allowed concelebrate mass privately with other members of the order and hear the confessions of other members of the order. The advisory panel was of the view that there was “absolutely no question of child sexual abuse” where he was concerned. The head of the order made it very clear to him that he was unlikely to be granted priestly faculties ever again.

39.33 In 2003, the head of the order told Fr Laurentius that it had come to his attention that Fr Laurentius was counselling a woman. Fr Laurentius denied this. He was refused permission to officiate at a wedding. He was, however, allowed to travel abroad to attend a wedding in 2005.

The Commission’s assessment

39.34 It would have been entirely understandable if the order had asked Fr Laurentius to leave. The Commission considers that it is to its credit that it did not do so and that it tried very hard, after the first Irish complaint was made, to ensure that he was not a risk to girls and women.

39.35 The allegations made abroad are not within the remit of the Commission, both because they do not concern child abuse and because they are not related to the Archdiocese of Dublin. They are outlined here in order to show what the order in Ireland knew about Fr Laurentius when they were handling the complaints that are within remit. The first reported incident may well have involved consenting adults but the fact that he accepted that he had indecently assaulted the second woman who complained ought to have been a major cause for concern. Such an assault is treated by canon law in the same way as child sexual abuse (canon 1395.2).

39.36 The reports from Jemez Springs clearly show that he was considered a danger to women in general and specifically mentioned that he had been involved in child sexual abuse.

39.37 It was very clear that he was using his status as a priest and as a counsellor to meet women with whom he then had sexual relationships. This is clearly predatory exploitative behaviour and, at minimum, is unprofessional conduct. Doctors or therapists who engage in such conduct are liable to be disbarred.

39.38 The Commission has noted that Church authorities seem to be remarkably tolerant of breaches of their rules where sexual activity with adults is concerned.

39.39 The Commission finds it very difficult to understand how Granada can categorically state that Fr Laurentius was not involved in child sexual abuse when there is evidence that he admitted to such abuse while in Jemez Springs and when there are two complaints from 16/17 year olds in Ireland. The Commission acknowledges that consensual sexual involvement with a 17 year old is not a crime.

39.40 The Commission finds Fr Laurentius‟s list of his sexual conquests astonishing. The detail in respect of age and precise sexual activity is simply unbelievable. It is highly unlikely that a promiscuous man would remember such detail unless he actually kept a record. It is equally unlikely that he would know or remember the ages of all the women with whom he had been involved. In the Commission‟s view, this list is compiled with a view to establishing that he was not a child abuser. The Commission is even more astonished that Granada regarded this as his acknowledgement of his wrongdoing. The Commission considers that the common sense assessment of the order‟s delegate (“notches in his gun”) is much more realistic.

39.41 The order did not tell the Archdiocese of Dublin about the complaints at the time even though they related to Fr Laurentius‟s time in the Archdiocese. The order did inform the local bishop where Fr Laurentius was living.

39.42 The Gardaí dealt appropriately with this case.
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Re: Commission of Investigation: Report Into the Catholic Ar

Postby admin » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:05 am

Chapter 40: Fr Klaudius*109


40.1 Fr Klaudius was a member of a religious order. He was born in 1957 and ordained in 1985. He worked in the Archdiocese of Dublin in a number of different roles including hospital chaplain, prison chaplain, teacher, and in a parish. He spent a short time abroad doing supply work and had different positions in the management of the order. He was removed from ministry in 1995, was laicised and dispensed from the vows of his order in 2000 and died in 2005.

40.2 He admitted to abusing a number of children but the Commission is aware of only one formal complaint against him.

40.3 While Fr Klaudius was in the seminary, he had been assessed by a priest psychologist. This assessment concluded that he had issues relating to sexuality especially “difficulty over gender”. There is no written report of this assessment and the order took the view that there was “no indication of [Fr Klaudius‟s] problems existed during his formation”. Shortly before the complaint was received, he had attended a treatment programme at a therapeutic clinic. His presence there had no ostensible connection with any issues of sexuality or child abuse. During his time there, he revealed that he had been sexually abused when he was five or six years old.

Complaint, 1995

40.4 The complaint to the order was made in July 1995. It related to events which had occurred in the Archdiocese of Dublin in 1991 but Fr Klaudius was, at this stage, working in a school outside of the Dublin Archdiocese.

40.5 In 1995, the complainant‟s father told a member of the order that his son had been abused by Fr Klaudius four years previously when he was 17 years old. The member of the order reported to his superiors who arranged to meet both the young man and Fr Klaudius and to have a formal investigation. The young man described how his father had arranged for him to have therapy with Fr Klaudius because of some family difficulties. The abuse had occurred during these therapy sessions which were held in the order‟s house where Fr Klaudius lived. The abuse involved touching and masturbation. The boy told a friend about the abuse at the time and discovered that she already had suspicions about Fr Klaudius.

40.6 The young man told a local diocesan priest about the abuse at some stage. It is not clear when this was but the local priest thinks it was around 1995. This priest told the Commission that he advised the young man to contact the order. The young man did not want to report the matter to the Gardaí.

40.7 Fr Klaudius, in a sworn statement, admitted that something “of a sexual nature” had occurred between himself and the boy. He also admitted that similar incidents had occurred with another 17-year-old boy whom he did not name.

40.8 The issue of reporting this complaint to the Gardaí and the health board was discussed within the order and by its advisory panel. The complainant did not want it reported to the civil authorities. However, Fr Klaudius was working in a school at this time and had worked in a number of schools. The order was reluctant to report, even though the legal advice it received was that the complaint should be reported to the health board.

40.9 Fr Klaudius was immediately removed from the school where he was currently working and from public ministry and sent to a therapeutic centre in the UK. In this centre, he initially admitted to having abused a number of children. He gave the names of four others (apart from the complainant) and the approximate dates of the abuse. Two of these were his students while he was a teacher in the Archdiocese of Dublin. His method was to befriend vulnerable boys through normal contact at school, or in a pastoral setting, or he would create an image of himself as a healer to manipulate his victims with his “special powers”. He would use his counselling sessions for his sexual agenda which would arouse his victims and lead them to believe that they had provoked his advances. The therapist suspected that the true extent of his offending had not yet been disclosed and that he was a serious risk to boys between the ages of 12 and 17.

40.10 Later, he admitted to abusing a number of other students at the schools where he had taught and to targeting and grooming other unnamed boys. He provided a list which included five boys and one girl. The abuse was generally touching and masturbation but also included one act of buggery.

40.11 He claimed that he had himself been abused by nine different people during his childhood and adolescence.

40.12 In March 1996, the order‟s advisory panel agreed that the matter should be reported to the health board and the Gardaí. The Framework Document was in operation and it provided for such reporting. One member, who visited Fr Klaudius in the treatment centre, strongly supported reporting. The order was still reluctant to do this.

40.13 The local bishop in the area where Fr Klaudius had most recently been living was informed, but the Archbishop of Dublin was not, even though all the known abuse had occurred in Dublin.

40.14 Fr Klaudius left the treatment centre in October 1996. The centre considered that he had made progress but that he remained a risk to children. His behaviour could not be cured but could be controlled. He accepted that he used his position as a priest to create a position of trust and to abuse young boys.

40.15 He returned to Ireland to live in one of the order‟s houses in the Archdiocese of Dublin near a school in which he had admitted abuse. Neither the Archdiocese nor the school was informed of the complaint or of his presence in the Archdiocese. The order told the Commission that, in 1998, the school was told of his record by the then chaplain, who was a member of the same religious order.

40.16 Fr Klaudius entered into a behavioural contract with the order. This provided that:

There was to be a weekly hour long debriefing meeting. There would be no confidentiality at the meeting, as all offences would be reported to the proper authority. This meeting was to be an examination of everyday life, a review of day-to-day events past and planned, including holidays and time away from the house in which he lived. There would also be an evaluation of the meeting.

There would be a support structure for him which included group therapy in the Granada Institute and regular returns to the UK treatment centre.

He would have no ministry and he was not permitted to wear clerical garb outside the house where he lived.

His only recreation was to be with other members of his order and included writing, music, art, golf and adult swimming.

It was envisaged that he would partake in higher education in computer studies.

40.17 His support group included some family members. Soon after returning to Ireland, he admitted to the order that he had abused a family member.

40.18 The Eastern Health Board (EHB) was informed of the situation in March 1997. The immediate impetus for this was the recent admission about the family member (who did not live in the EHB area) and who was still a child. The order‟s contemporaneous records show that a health board social worker told the order that she intended to contact the school where the priest had admitted to abusing children. The order expected that there would be a “dig for victims” by the social worker.

40.19 In fact, the social worker did not contact the school. She told the Commission that it was indicated to the health board that contact had been made with the schools by the order. The HSE provided documentation in this case only after it had received a draft of this report. The health board for the area in which the family member lived was also informed. The abused child‟s mother was told and so was the local bishop in the area where the priest had been living.

40.20 Sometime in late 1997 or early 1998, Fr Klaudius began to groom a boy who delivered milk to the community. He then went back to the UK therapeutic facility which he had earlier attended for a further session of residential therapy and remained there for about three months. On his return, he was referred to the Granada Institute for ongoing treatment and considered leaving the priesthood and the order. Granada expressed the view that an offender of Fr Klaudius‟s age had a better chance of living an offence-free life if he left the order, earned his own living and made his own way in life rather than remaining in the order. On the other hand, the head of the order considered he had a better chance of not offending if he remained within the order.

40.21 In April 1998, the advisory panel recommended that Fr Klaudius should not have leave of absence and should be confronted with the fact that he would be subject to strict supervision for the rest of his life.

40.22 In 1998, the complainant looked for financial support from the order. The order said it would pay for counselling and training but would not give him money. Some counselling was arranged.


40.23 In July 1998, Fr Klaudius declared his intention to leave the order and seek laicisation. He asked for the continued support of the order to enable him to continue therapy and to have a support person. He also looked for financial support for accommodation and to enable him to train to become a consultant in career guidance. He sought £6,000 for accommodation and living expenses. Not surprisingly, the order considered his proposal to become involved in career guidance to be “wholly inappropriate”.

40.24 Fr Klaudius was still attending Granada at this stage. He was attending there once a week for either individual or group therapy. The estimated cost of attending for one year was about £7,000. The order consulted Granada about whether it was safe to allow him to live outside the order‟s premises while awaiting laicisation. Granada considered that it was, but a member of the advisory panel was not so sure.

40.25 He received £6,000 from the order and moved out from the order‟s house in August 1998. He started a FÁS course.

40.26 The order provided a short character reference for Fr Klaudius when he left. The reference described him as “intelligent, bright and sensitive. He is also industrious and hardworking” and went on to “recommend him for suitable employment”. The reference was described by its author as “very non-committal, but what else can I say”.

40.27 In December 1998, a family member told the order that Fr Klaudius was angry with the order for sending him to the UK therapeutic centre. The order met some of his family members for the purposes of maintaining contact and monitoring how the family was getting on.

40.28 The Archdiocese of Dublin was informed of the application for laicisation as various actions had to be taken by it in order to proceed.

40.29 In March 1999, the order gave the priest just over £1,800 to buy a computer and related equipment. In August 1999, he sought and received further financial support, another £6,000, from the order. He was now receiving a social welfare payment.

40.30 In April 2000, a community worker became concerned about his access to young people taking part in a development programme. Granada recommended that Fr Klaudius inform the programme officials about his past. It is not known if he did or if anyone else did.

40.31 In November 2000, Fr Klaudius was granted a dispensation from clerical celibacy and was removed from the clerical state. The Archdiocese was informed of this. He wrote to the provincial of the order in June 2001 expressing his gratitude for the support both during and after his time in the order. He specifically acknowledged receipt of a cheque for £20,000 which helped him “enormously to begin a new life”. He also asked for forgiveness for the shame he had brought on the order.

40.32 The Gardaí were informed of the complainant‟s allegation and of Fr Klaudius‟s admission in relation to the family member but, as no abused person made a complaint to them, there was no investigation.

40.33 Fr Klaudius died in June 2005.

The Commission’s assessment

40.34 The Commission considers that the order was wrong to delay the initial reporting to the health board. Reporting did not occur until two years after the complaint was first made. This was despite the fact that Fr Klaudius was a teacher. In failing to report, the order acted against the clear advice of its own advisory panel and its legal advice. The order paid undue regard to the request/demand for confidentiality by the complainant and his father. While the delay in reporting was wrong, the Commission does not consider that the order attempted to obstruct, prevent or interfere with the proper investigation of the complaint.

40.35 There was totally inadequate communication between the order and the Archdiocese of Dublin about the complaint and the subsequent admissions. The order did not tell the Archdiocese about the complaint made or about Fr Klaudius‟s subsequent admissions of abuse. The Commission finds this extraordinary as the known abuse occurred mainly while he was operating under the aegis of the Archdiocese. The order did communicate with other dioceses where Fr Klaudius lived at various times but, extraordinarily, seems to have overlooked the Archdiocese of Dublin. This also meant that the Archdiocese could not inform the schools or the Department of Education.

40.36 The Commission is very concerned that the order had the clear impression that the health board would inform the relevant schools and this did not happen. The failure to inform the schools where this priest had taught and the Department of Education was a serious lapse by the health board.
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Re: Commission of Investigation: Report Into the Catholic Ar

Postby admin » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:07 am

Chapter 41: Fr Francis McCarthy


41.1 In December 1993, Fr Francis McCarthy sent a Christmas card to a young man whom he had abused when that man was 11 years old and when Fr McCarthy was attached to Dunlavin parish. He asked the young man to contact him to talk about old times. This was followed up by a letter from Fr McCarthy, explaining that he hoped to begin a new life on the missions in South America. He also made a number of follow up calls.

41.2 Contact was made between Fr McCarthy and the young man and a meeting took place at the priest‟s home. The young man revealed that he was now on the dole, that he was separated from his wife and that he did not have any prospects of work. He did intend trying to start a business. The young man asked for a loan of £10,000 to help get him started in his new business. Fr McCarthy replied that he could only raise £5,000 and that he would give it to him as a gift.

41.3 Over the next few months, the young man received a total of £12,000 from Fr McCarthy and reached an agreement that Fr McCarthy would pay an annual sum towards the upkeep of his children.

41.4 In the meantime, the young man had told his wife about the fact that he had been sexually abused by Fr McCarthy. She was adamant that he should report the matter to the appropriate authorities as she was worried that the priest might pose a threat to children on the missions.

41.5 The young man was not anxious to report the matter. He felt he had taken money from the priest on the basis that the matter was at an end.

41.6 In October 1995, following a visit to the Rape Crisis Centre, he did report the matter to the Gardaí and also to the health board. He said he had been advised by the Rape Crisis Centre that he had suffered more damage than he had at first thought.

41.7 On 1 November 1995, the Gardaí interviewed Fr McCarthy at his home and during the course of that interview he admitted sexually abusing the complainant in the 1970s.

Fr McCarthy’s background

41.8 Fr McCarthy was born in 1950. He was ordained in 1974. The assessment of him was that he would not be suitable for a teaching post. Following his ordination he was appointed a curate in Dunlavin parish. In 1979, he moved to Enniskerry parish as a curate, where he stayed until 1985. He was then transferred to London to serve as a chaplain to the Irish emigrant community in London. From 1986 to 1994, he was a curate in Ballyfermot parish and in 1994, he was appointed a curate in Howth.

Links with children’s homes

41.9 One of Fr McCarthy‟s classmates during the course of his studies in Clonliffe was Fr Bill Carney (see Chapter 28). As students they visited a number of children‟s homes. The Commission has evidence that Fr McCarthy visited St Joseph‟s, Tivoli Road, Dun Laoghaire and St Vincent‟s, Drogheda, Co Louth.

41.10 According to a statement received from the current superior on behalf of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary who ran St Joseph‟s, their visits began in 1973 when they were deacons. She said they approached the home and asked if they could help the children by engaging in activities with them. She said their offer was accepted as they came from Clonliffe College which was highly respected. She said they were in the final stage of preparation for the priesthood and they had skills from which the children would benefit, for example, sport, art and drama. They also helped with homework.

41.11 By the time they were ordained there were strong bonds between the two priests and the groups of children they visited. The children were allowed to visit Fr McCarthy‟s home and to go on holiday with him, sometimes accompanied by a member of the religious orders who ran the homes, and sometimes not. The Commission is aware of complaints from a number of former residents in those homes who alleged sexual abuse by Fr Bill Carney and Fr McCarthy during the course of those visits. Fr McCarthy was later convicted of abusing a child in one of those homes (see below). The Commission believes that, from their student days, both Fr McCarthy and Fr Carney used their positions as seminarians to target these institutions which they knew housed vulnerable children.

The handling of the Dunlavin victim’s complaint

41.12 It is doubtful if the abuse by Fr McCarthy would have become known prior to his getting a transfer to South America had he not made contact with one of those whom he had abused, which led to that person going to the Gardaí and to the health board as described above.


41.14 The young man who alleged he was abused by Fr McCarthy in Dunlavin told the Gardaí that, on the first occasion in 1974 that he could remember being abused, he was in the sitting room in Fr McCarthy‟s house. The priest asked him to sit on his knee; he was about ten years old at the time. He sat on his knee and he remembered the priest kissing him and putting his tongue into his mouth. He said he was brought up to his bedroom and he remembered the priest performing oral sex on him on this occasion. The sexual abuse lasted between ten and 20 minutes on each occasion and the incidents continued over the period 1974 to 1977 on Friday and Sunday evenings of each week. He told the Gardaí that Fr McCarthy had attempted to penetrate him anally but he did not ejaculate.

41.15 This complainant also alleged abuse by Fr Bill Carney. He said that Fr Carney used to visit Fr McCarthy in Dunlavin between 1974 and 1977 and that he and a friend from the area were invited to stay for a weekend at Fr Carney‟s house in Ballyfermot. Again the abuse took the form of an attempt by Fr Carney to penetrate him anally while he was sleeping in the bed with him.

41.16 He told Gardaí that Fr Carney and Fr McCarthy took a group of boys to Kerry for ten days and on one of those days Fr Carney fondled his penis with his hand but no other abuse took place. He said that no physical force was used by either priest on him to engage in these sexual acts.

41.17 He also recounted how he had obtained money from Fr McCarthy and how his wife wished him to report Fr McCarthy to “head office” but that he had told the priest that he would not do that. He gave the Gardaí a copy of two letters and a card that he had received from Fr McCarthy.

Garda interview with Fr McCarthy

41.18 In his interview with the Gardaí, Fr McCarthy admitted that he masturbated and kissed the complainant on a number of occasions. He denied any attempted buggery or oral sex and stated that it was his recollection that the incidents continued over a period of two years and not any longer. He said the abuse only occurred on Fridays.

41.19 He said that it was quite likely that he introduced the complainant to Fr Bill Carney. He accepted that he and Fr Carney took two groups of altar boys to Tralee for a week‟s holiday, but he said he was unaware of anything happening to the boys during that period.

41.20 He acknowledged that he had given a cheque for £5,000 to the complainant. He said that initially it was to be a loan and then he told him he could keep it as a gift. He also admitted he had given further payments to him and said that he felt he was being blackmailed by him.

Interview with Monsignor Stenson

41.21 Within 24 hours of his interview with the Gardaí, Fr McCarthy contacted Monsignor Stenson. Monsignor Stenson saw him immediately, on 2 November 1995.

41.22 Fr McCarthy recounted his interview with the Gardaí in relation to the complainant and stated that what he had told the Gardaí was true. He said the abuse had occurred between 1975 and 1979.

41.23 He also told Monsignor Stenson that, in or around 1986, he had been involved with another boy who was aged 12 and that there was inappropriate touching. He said that there was nudity involved but no buggery. He said that he had been involved in some horseplay with an 11-year-old boy in Ballyfermot in or around the same time. He also admitted touching an 11- year-old boy inappropriately in St Joseph‟s, Tivoli Road, around 1979/80.

41.24 He told Monsignor Stenson that in 1994 he had been visited by two children whose mother he had assisted because she was a single parent. He said that these two children were fearful of sleeping on their own and they joined him in his bed. He said he left to go to another room but they came to him again and he dozed off and when he woke up he found his hand between the legs of the young girl. She was aged 11 at the time.

Leave of absence

41.25 On the same day, 2 November 1995, Fr McCarthy applied to Archbishop Connell for a leave of absence, saying that Monsignor Stenson would explain why. On that day also, Archbishop Connell issued a decree initiating a preliminary investigation in respect of Fr McCarthy.

Further investigations

41.26 At this stage (early November 1995), the only complaint known to the Gardaí was that of the Dunlavin victim. Following the interview with Monsignor Stenson it was clear that Fr McCarthy had admitted to other sexual assaults. These were notified to the Gardaí by the Archdiocese and they were followed up by the Gardaí.

41.27 The mother of the boy and girl who had stayed over with Fr McCarthy the previous year was interviewed and she was of the view that nothing untoward had happened and that her daughter remembered nothing. Gardaí arranged for the two children to be interviewed and both said that they had not been sexually assaulted by Fr McCarthy.

41.28 Contact was made with another young man, in the USA, and he too said that he had no complaint against Fr McCarthy and that he had not been assaulted when he was 11 years old.

41.29 Contact was made with the former resident of St Joseph‟s and he did say that he had been assaulted by Fr McCarthy. He gave a detailed statement to Gardaí. He told Gardaí that there were three priests who used to visit St. Joseph‟s and they seemed to know each other, but the one that was there the most was “Fr Francis”. He told the Gardaí that Fr McCarthy used to come in and tell them stories at night but he often told the stories from beside his bed. While telling the story out loud he would feel the boy‟s penis and his testicles.

41.30 He said that he was brought away on weekends with a number of other boys. During some of those visits he slept with Fr McCarthy and they French-kissed.

41.31 He said he also had been brought to Kerry but he had resisted any attempt by the priest to sleep with him or to interfere with him.

41.32 He said that he had spoken to the person in charge at the home and told her about the assaults but not in detail. He said that after that Fr McCarthy was gone and they never saw him or were taken out by him again.

Statement from St Joseph’s

41.33 The nun who was in charge of the group of children that included the complainant from St Joseph‟s was interviewed by the Gardaí but she asked to reserve her position. She then gave a prepared statement in which she denied that the complainant had reported any alleged abuse to her. In a statement to the Commission, the current superior of the congregation said that :

“At some stage between 1975 and 1979 after a weekend visit to Fr. McCarthy‟s house a boy resident came back in a distressed state. The Sister in charge of this boy‟s group noticed this and spoke to the boy in question. He told her that while he was in bed he had been touched on the penis by Fr. Frank McCarthy and that he did not like it, hence the reason for his distress. The Sister discussed what had happened with the boy and ascertained that the boy had ended up sharing a bed with Fr. McCarthy. The Sister understood that the incident had occurred inadvertently during the night. She considered the matter to have arisen as a result of inadequate accommodation in Fr. McCarthy‟s house. However, she was concerned for the boy and spoke to Fr. McCarthy. She related the boy‟s distress to him. She suggested that the boys would not go out for weekend visits thereafter but that Fr. McCarthy could visit them in the home in Tivoli Road. At that stage, child abuse was not something within the awareness of the Sister in question and she did not appreciate the potential significance of what had been disclosed to her”. The nun said that she told no one at the time.

Meeting at Eastern Health Board offices

41.34 In addition to notifying the Gardaí, the Archdiocese also notified the Eastern Health Board. A meeting was convened for 6 November 1995 under the auspices of the Eastern Health Board. Those present included health board officials from the different areas where Fr McCarthy had served, the parish priests from those areas, the Gardaí, Monsignor Stenson, his assistant chancellor, Fr Dolan, and the archdiocesan solicitor. Information in regard to suspected victims was shared at the meeting and telephone numbers exchanged. A plan was drawn up to support any suspected victims and arrangements were made to offer counselling if it was required. The parish priests attending indicated that they would be making a statement to parishioners the following day. The text of one of those statements is as follows:

“Parish of St. Nicholas of Myra, Dunlavin Statement – November 7th 1995 I am sorry to have to tell you today that a complaint alleging child sexual abuse has been made to the Garda Siochana by a person who is now an adult against Fr Frank McCarthy who worked in this parish from 1974 to 1979. The Gardaí are investigating this complaint. Fr McCarthy has sought leave of absence from the parish of Howth where he has been stationed for just over a year and the Archbishop granted this with immediate effect.

I am sure this is as much of a shock to you as it is to me. I knew absolutely nothing about it until yesterday and the Archbishop heard of it on Thursday last. He has asked me to tell you of his personal concern and to assure you of his support. Along with Bishop Eamonn Walsh, the area Bishop, he will be keeping in close touch with us here. I will be available, and will try to respond to your concerns and questions. This is a difficult time for our parish and we need one another‟s support. Let us pray for each other. Let us also pray for the person who made the complaint and for Fr McCarthy both of whom must be under great stress at this time. I am leaving copies of this statement in the church and we are anxious that all parishioners be informed.”

41.35 These statements were widely covered in the media. The publication of this statement by the four parish priests provoked outrage from the former chancellor and then judicial vicar, Monsignor Gerard Sheehy, who expressed his feelings in a comprehensive letter to Archbishop Connell:

“As a starting-point, I refer to the recent public naming of Father Frank McCarthy of Howth. I have never met this priest, and I know nothing whatever about him or any of his activities. My very serious concern is this. He has now, at the Church‟s instigation, been named in the public media as a priest against whom an allegation of paedophile activity (a number of years back, it would appear) has been made. I can find no evidence of any formal charge having been laid against him, either in the ecclesiastical or in the civil forum. I have been told that this matter was first raised by the Gardaí; I do not know how far their investigations have gone. But I can find no evidence of any serious enquiry being made in the ecclesiastical forum – save only an obviously-leaked remark in the newspapers about some fairly-recent meeting at Archbishop‟s House involving the parish priests of those parishes in which he served before coming to Howth- itself, if it happened, an invasion of his good name as a priest, to the total disregard of the relevant canons of the Code. Yet, precisely and solely in the light of these facts, he has been publicly removed from ministering in the parish of Howth. The inevitable result, particularly in the current climate, is that his good name as a priest has been invaded and seriously damaged, probably irreparably”.

41.36 As in the Ivan Payne case (See Chapter 24) Monsignor Sheehy displayed little or no empathy or concern for the victims even where there was an admission by the priest that he had abused a number of children.

41.37 As Fr McCarthy had been a chaplain to a school at the time of the revelations, the Department of Education sought information from the Archdiocese about any other school appointments. These were investigated and no complaints emerged.

Conviction, 1997

41.38 In March 1997, Fr McCarthy pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the young boy from the orphanage and the young victim from Dunlavin. That victim asked that he not be sent to jail. He received a suspended sentence in July 1997.

Attendance at Granada Institute

41.39 Fr McCarthy was referred to the Granada Institute in November 1995. He received over 100 hours of therapy. In a 1999 report, Granada expressed the view that he posed little risk of abusing children. While acknowledging that he was at a low risk of re-offending, Granada nevertheless recommended that he should not work with children or be appointed to positions which would bring him into contact with children. It was also pointed out by Granada to Monsignor Dolan that it “is the practice that while men are in Core Treatment, they do not engage in ministry”.

Post 1995

41.40 Initially, Fr McCarthy indicated that he would apply for laicisation but, as time progressed and particularly when the court case concluded and resulted in a suspended rather than a custodial sentence, he sought permission to resume saying mass. He was allowed say it in a convent in Dublin.

41.41 Fr McCarthy featured on the Prime Time programme Cardinal Secrets. This led to some annoyance among the nuns in the convent where he had been given the facility to say mass. Many of them had no knowledge of his past and wanted him removed because their convent was associated with two schools. The Archdiocese had in fact informed the convent superior and had understood that his presence there was by agreement.

41.42 The Archdiocese did try to accommodate him with various administrative jobs but none proved very successful from an Archdiocesan point of view. In November 2004 Fr McCarthy petitioned the Pope to allow him to be laicised and this was granted in November 2005. Up until his laicisation he was supported from the Clerical Fund Society.

The Commission’s assessment

41.43 This case provides a good example of a case which the Archdiocese, the health board, the Granada Institute, the Gardaí and the Department of Education handled the various complaints well. It must be acknowledged that the Dunlavin complainant went to the Gardaí rather than to the Church authorities in the first instance. The first complaint was made towards the end of 1995. This was the time when the Archdiocese had decided to refer all allegations to the Gardaí and the health board and the Framework Document procedures were being introduced.
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Re: Commission of Investigation: Report Into the Catholic Ar

Postby admin » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:09 am

Chapter 42: Fr Sergius*110


42.1 Fr Sergius ministered in the Archdiocese in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. He is now retired. There have been numerous complaints lodged with the Archdiocese about him. These include complaints of child sexual abuse, sexual violence and physical and emotional abuse of minors.

42.2 In 1993, the Archdiocese received a complaint that Fr Sergius had been violent towards an adult woman and threatened her with rape. This was investigated by the Archdiocese. It emerged that he and the woman had had a sexual relationship in the late 1980s. She alleged that he had become abusive and threatening towards her after the relationship ended. He told the Archdiocese that he was now committed to the priesthood and that he did not need help or treatment.

Complaint, 1995

42.3 The first complaint of sexually abusive behaviour towards a minor was made to the Gardaí in October 1995. A 17-year-old girl and a 15- year-old girl who were working in a restaurant alleged that Fr Sergius had sexually harassed them in the restaurant. They said he had touched their legs and abused them as they walked by.

42.4 Fr Sergius denied any wrongdoing. Witnesses were interviewed. No witness observed any communication, either physical or verbal “which could be of assistance in sustaining a prosecution”. However, another waitress said that she saw Fr Sergius attempt to put his hand on one of the girl‟s hips but the advance was sidestepped. Another waitress told Gardaí that he had touched her on the legs but she had not reported the behaviour.

42.5 In December 1995, the Gardaí brought the allegations to the attention of the Archdiocese. The Gardaí told Monsignor Stenson that a file was going to the DPP. Monsignor Stenson was anxious not to interfere with the legal process and did not interview the witnesses. He did speak to Fr Sergius who denied the allegations and claimed that he had witnesses to prove his innocence.

42.6 In April 1996, the DPP decided not to prosecute because the allegations were in the nature of sexual harassment rather than assault and, while the touching was inappropriate, it was not criminal in nature.

General complaints

42.7 In December 1996, a complaint was made to the Archdiocese about Fr Sergius‟s behaviour. It was alleged that, at a party in a parishioner‟s house, he had been drunk, used offensive language and made racist remarks to some foreign guests. He then began telephoning the parishioner‟s wife and pestering her. At a subsequent gathering, it was alleged that he was again drunk and that he became aggressive and insulting. It was alleged that he kissed a woman and pulled a young girl down on the couch to talk to him. The girl “broke away from him in floods of tears”.

42.8 This complaint was relayed to the Archdiocese by the parish priest. The parish priest confirmed that there were other complaints about Fr Sergius‟s general behaviour. Bishop Ó Ceallaigh met the parish priest and then met Fr Sergius. The bishop had not been informed of previous incidents known to the Archdiocese – he was not aware of the violent nature of the relationship with the woman nor was he aware that the waitresses who were sexually harassed were minors. The bishop advised Fr Sergius to get help with his alcohol problem and offered to put him in touch with relevant professionals. Bishop Ó Ceallaigh had no further involvement with the case after this meeting. A further complaint was made in May 1997 which was similar to the December 1996 complaint.

Sabbatical leave

42.9 Fr Sergius applied for sabbatical leave in 1997 to go to a foreign diocese for two years. He was told that the Archdiocese would have to inform the foreign diocese about the complaints which had been made and the concerns which had been expressed. Archbishop Connell met Fr Sergius and told him that he would be welcome back in the Archdiocese after his two years abroad. Archbishop Connell wrote to the bishop of the foreign diocese saying that Fr Sergius was “a priest in good standing” but added the following reservations:

He could be aggressive in his use of language, especially if he has taken alcohol.

He had had a three year involvement with a woman; this had been “dealt with and is now regarded as a thing of the past”.

He had been accused of inappropriate behaviour towards a waitress in a restaurant. The “public authority did not pursue the matter. Whatever may have happened would have been an isolated incident under the influence of alcohol”.

The Archbishop expressed the view that Fr Sergius would act responsibly but undertook to take him back immediately if this was requested. The violent nature of his relationship with the woman and the more recent general complaints were not mentioned in the letter.

42.10 A standard contract was signed between the Archdiocese, the foreign diocese and Fr Sergius. The sabbatical leave was to run from September 1997 to September 1999. However, Fr Sergius returned home after just nine months. The Archdiocesan records do not show the reason for his early return. He was appointed to a parish in August 1998. It later became clear that the parish priest was not told of the problems which Fr Sergius had had in the past nor was his area bishop, Bishop Field.

Subsequent complaints

42.11 In February 1999, the principal and teachers of a school in Fr Sergius‟s new parish complained to the parish priest about his conduct at a meeting of the confirmation class. The parents alleged that Fr Sergius arrived late, smelled strongly of alcohol and was truculent in his demeanour. A meeting was held involving the board of management, the principal and class teacher and the parish priest. The parish priest expressed surprise that Fr Sergius had been appointed as chaplain to the school. This seems to the Commission to be an extraordinary statement. As the Archbishop is the patron of the school, the appointment of chaplain is delegated to the parish priest, so the parish priest must himself have asked Fr Sergius to deal with the confirmation class.

42.12 The parish priest expressed reluctance to speak to Fr Sergius because “he has a short fuse”. The board of management then asked to see the head of the Education Secretariat in the Archdiocese and Bishop Field was informed. Bishop Field told the Commission that he had not been aware of the various other complaints about Fr Sergius. He thought he was dealing with a priest whose problems were entirely related to alcohol. Bishop Field tried to get Fr Sergius to address the alcohol problem but Fr Sergius has always asserted that he does not have a problem with alcohol. Bishop Field told the Commission that he had no power to oblige Fr Sergius to get help or treatment for his alcohol problem, about which he was clearly in denial.

42.13 In November 1999, another complaint was made about drunken and inappropriate behaviour on the part of Fr Sergius. In September 2001, a woman complained that she was sexually harassed by him. He was drunk at the time.

Physical abuse of altar boys

42.14 In April 2002, the parents of three altar boys complained that the boys had been physically and verbally abused by Fr Sergius. The parents demanded that he be removed from any situation at parish level. The delegate, Fr Gleeson, met the parents immediately. He concluded that the priest was no longer to be considered safe around children. He considered the matter to be serious enough to merit Fr Sergius‟s removal from ministry and to have his alcohol and behavioural problems professionally assessed. He noted that the problems with Fr Sergius were “of long standing”.

42.15 Fr Sergius was asked to step aside from ministry. He was told that the decision would be reviewed pending treatment for his alcohol problems. Archbishop Connell sent a letter confirming the decision and asking him to seek “appropriate professional assistance” as the Archbishop would not be prepared to reinstate him without a positive medical report. The parents were informed.

42.16 Bishop Field recommended and organised treatment for Fr Sergius with the Granada Institute in May 2002. However, in June 2002, Fr Sergius informed Bishop Field that he would no longer be attending the institute and would instead be following legal advice on the matter. This was followed by a solicitor‟s letter to the Archdiocese in July 2002 requesting copies of all documents relating to allegations and investigations of the Archdiocese.

42.17 Fr Sergius had written to Archbishop Connell in late May 2002 reaffirming his innocence and expressing his intention to retire from the diocese with adequate financial compensation. However, he was not prepared to resign his priestly ministry. In July, Fr Sergius accused Archbishop Connell of imposing a severe, extreme and unjust suspension from ministry. Archbishop Connell immediately responded explaining that, once he had a report from Granada, he would be in a position to discuss the future. The report from Granada in July 2002 concluded that Fr Sergius‟s behaviour must be taken seriously as there were indicators that he was getting into serious difficulty. Furthermore, because he was not willing to attend for additional sessions with Granada, it was concluded that the problems and complaints were likely to continue. Fr Sergius would need to gain much deeper insight into his behaviour before he could return to ministry. Fr Sergius believed the findings of the report were invalid and that fault for the entire process was with the Archdiocese.

42.18 In September 2002, Archbishop Connell again reiterated that there would be no return to ministry unless there was a positive report from Granada. This time, Fr Sergius did return to Granada. A residential course to deal with his alcohol problem was recommended by Granada but Fr Sergius refused to attend. He said he intended to retire from the diocese. He was officially released from his duties in October 2002 and became a beneficiary of the Clerical Fund Society (see Chapter 8). The Archdiocese provided him with a house.

42.19 Fr Sergius remains very disaffected with the Archdiocese even though it has been generous to him. He still wants to engage in ministry in Dublin. It appears that he sometimes helps out in another diocese. Bishop Field was aware of this and explained that, as Fr Sergius was retired from the Dublin Archdiocese, he was in fact free to help wherever he wished; he was not under any ministerial restriction. The Commission does not know if this other diocese has been informed of his situation.

The Commission’s assessment

42.20 It may be the case that Fr Sergius‟s primary problem is one of excessive alcohol consumption. However, any priest who behaves in a sexually inappropriate way with minors, even if it happens only when he is drunk, should be treated in accordance with the guidelines on child sexual abuse. Fr Sergius should have been removed from ministry after the complaints from the young girls in the restaurant. He should not be allowed to minister until he deals with his alcohol problem. Retirement is not a substitute for removal from ministry.

42.21 His propensity to be sexually abusive was known to the Archdiocese so it should have been very concerned indeed about the complaints of the young girls. Bishop Ó Ceallaigh should have been informed of the full range of complaints against Fr Sergius when he was dealing with the December 1996 complaint.

42.22 His problems should have been made known to his parish priest and area bishop in 1998 and he should not have been allowed involvement with the confirmation class.

42.23 The Gardaí dealt appropriately with this case and there was no involvement by the health board.
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Re: Commission of Investigation: Report Into the Catholic Ar

Postby admin » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:11 am

Chapter 43: Fr Dante*111


43.1 Fr Dante was born in 1946 in the UK and ordained in 1973. He held various appointments throughout the Dublin Archdiocese as chaplain and curate. He suffered from stress related problems and was not always active in his roles. He retired from the Archdiocese in March 2005 on the grounds of ill health. He returned to live in his family home in the UK.

43.2 Four complaints against Fr Dante are known to the Commission. Three of the allegations relate to a trip to France for altar boys in 1985 which was chaperoned by Fr Dante. The fourth is unrelated to the trip. Fr Dante has always strenuously denied the allegations made against him.

First Allegation, 1995

43.3 There are three complaints or expressions of concern in relation to a trip to France by altar boys from the parish in which Fr Dante was a curate in 1985. The first was made in December 1995 and was more of an expression of concern than a complaint or allegation. A boy who had been on this trip told the Archdiocese that, beforehand, he and another senior altar boy would spend time in Fr Dante‟s house organising the trip and Fr Dante would have them sit on his knee. The former altar boy was also concerned about some of the more unusual rules of the trip. One rule was that underwear could not be worn when the altar boys reached the continent, that all boys were to sleep naked and that the bathroom door was to be left open when showering so Fr Dante could “check”‟ on the boys. Punishment was to be smacking on the bare bottom. The former altar boy stated that he was once punished in this way and “something about it didn‟t feel quite right”.

43.4 Monsignor Dolan visited this former altar boy and spoke to him and to his father. It emerged that another parent had expressed concerns about Fr Dante‟s behaviour. The former altar boy also told Monsignor Dolan that the boys had to undress in front of Fr Dante at night and that a different boy had to sleep in the same bed as Fr Dante each night due to a shortage of beds. This was also allegedly used as a form of punishment.

43.5 In March 1997, Archbishop Connell asked Bishop Eamonn Walsh to speak to Fr Dante about this expression of concern. Fr Dante denied the allegations, saying that there may have been threats made about punishment but nothing of an untoward nature occurred. Bishop Walsh concluded that the alleged incidents could be viewed as in the nature of strict discipline or containing some sort of gratification. It was seen as inappropriate behaviour rather than child sexual abuse. Monsignor Dolan interviewed Fr Dante about the specific aspects of the altar boy‟s statement. Fr Dante first denied having the boys sit on his knee, making the boys sleep naked or punishing on the bare bottom. However, over the course of the meeting, his account changed somewhat. He said the boys did not wear underwear in order to prevent their clothes getting wet during the day. The confined space meant clothes were hung on the bathroom door, therefore the door was left open during showering to prevent the clothes getting wet. He claimed there was always another boy present when this occurred. He conceded that he was very focused on disciplining the boys. As it was often difficult to catch them, he admitted that he may have slapped them as they ran from the shower but he could not remember doing so.

43.6 Monsignor Dolan believed these to be reasonable explanations. He noted that a print-out of the rules of the trip did not correspond to the altar boy‟s description of the rules. However, he was concerned that Fr Dante had given an altered account of his approach to discipline as their meeting progressed and there were, at this stage, two independent allegations of sitting on the priest‟s knee (the second one is the second allegation described below). Monsignor Dolan concluded that the case did not pass the threshold of suspicion of child sexual abuse but he suggested, among other things, that an assessment would be appropriate.

43.7 Shortly after the meeting, it was confirmed to Monsignor Dolan that Fr Dante would be attending the Granada Institute. Fr Dante believed this would be better for him and the diocese as it would help him cope with his stress problems. He was treated in Granada for the following seven months. A psychological report issued in August 1998 stated that, while Fr Dante suffered from stress and was pre-disposed to depressive moods, there was “no evidence to suggest that [Fr Dante] is erotically attracted to children”.

The report concluded however that it would be prudent for him not to minister to children given the nature of the allegations. Fr Dante was allowed to return to ministry and was appointed curate in another parish from 1 September 1999. He did not take up the appointment due to “severe stress”. He was receiving medical attention for his health problems and was living in diocesan accommodation. He was appointed a parish chaplain and chaplain to a hospital in July 2000. It seems that he actually carried out relatively little pastoral work in the parish because of his health problems; he did most of his work in the hospital.

Second allegation

43.8 Meanwhile, a second allegation was made which was unrelated to the trip to France. In 1996, a woman informed Monsignor Dolan that there had been an incident with her son and Fr Dante when her son was ten years old. She alleged that approximately five years previously Fr Dante had invited her son over to his house to learn about computers. On his second visit, Fr Dante allegedly invited the boy to sit on his knee. The boy refused and there was no further contact between the pair. The mother was adamant that the matter be kept in the strictest of confidence; she did not want her son to be questioned. The Archdiocese put this allegation to Fr Dante as part of its broader investigation. He expressed surprise that he had not been informed of the allegation sooner.

Third allegation

43.9 In late 2002, a third allegation, which was the second one concerning the trip to France in 1985, emerged. At some stage in 2002, a mother had spoken to a curate in her parish about incidents with her son during the trip to France in 1985. These were similar to those already reported. In December 2002, the allegations were brought to the attention of the parish priest who immediately contacted Fr Paddy Gleeson, one of the delegates at the time. Fr Gleeson met the curate and it emerged that this mother had brought her allegations to the attention of another priest approximately four years previously, in 1998. However, at that time she had requested that the matter stay confidential and so the Archdiocese had not been made aware of her complaint. The other priest confirmed that she had brought the matter to his attention. The curate had offered her the Faoiseamh helpline number and she in turn gave this to her son.

43.10 Fr Gleeson met the mother in January 2003. She alleged that, even before the trip to France, concerns had been voiced among the parents about Fr Dante‟s behaviour around children. She made the same allegations regarding the rules of the trip as were made in the first allegation but also spoke of one specific incident when Fr Dante had allegedly been aroused while disciplining her son. She claimed that all the boys ceased being altar servers after the trip. Her son was interviewed the following day. He reiterated his mother‟s allegation and added some further information. He, like the second complainant, claimed that he would be invited to sit on Fr Dante‟s knee when using the computer. On these occasions, Fr Dante‟s hands would be “all over the place”. He alleged that, even before the trip to France, Fr Dante would be around the boys at football training watching them undress and checking if they were wearing underwear by pulling down the front of their shorts. He said the boys were aware of Fr Dante‟s habits before going to France but they really wanted to go on the trip.

Fourth allegation

43.11 In January 2003, while the third allegation was being investigated, the parish priest spoke to the father of another altar boy. The father asked his son if he had seen anything on the trip to France. His son alleged that the boys had slept two to a bed and were made to sleep naked. He further alleged that Fr Dante had always slept with one of the boys. On a separate occasion when this boy was staying with Fr Dante, he had to undress in his presence. This was not investigated as a separate allegation by the Archdiocese as no formal complaint was made but it did strengthen the credibility of the other complainants.

The garda investigation

43.12 The Archdiocese informed the Gardaí of the third allegation in January 2003. In a follow-up letter Fr Gleeson asked, at the request of Cardinal Connell, that the Gardaí not contact Fr Dante until the diocese had informed him of the new complaint as the Cardinal was concerned about his unstable health. The Gardaí were also told of the other allegations/expressions of concern in relation to the trip to France.

43.13 The Gardaí began their investigation as soon as Fr Dante had been informed of the new complaint. They notified the HSE of suspected child sexual abuse in early March 2003. They interviewed the third complainant in April 2003 but he refused to sign his statement saying that he did not want to pursue the matter; he merely wanted to bring it to the attention of the Gardaí. His mother was also interviewed. In addition to what she had told Fr Gleeson, she informed Gardaí that, before the trip, Fr Dante had called to the house with a list of rules saying that he would collect the boys‟ clothes at night to prevent them getting out and that he had the right to punish the boys and hold their pocket money. In May 2004, the Gardaí concluded that no criminal offence had been disclosed as the third complainant would not make a formal complaint. However, the Gardaí did express concern at the inappropriate behaviour and this was notified to the health board. The Child Protection Service of the Archdiocese was informed of the outcome of the garda investigation and the conclusion was that child protection concerns should remain.

The Archdiocese’s response

43.14 Fr Dante‟s case was considered at a meeting in Archbishop‟s House in January 2003. The following day, Fr Dante was again interviewed. He now said that printed rules were given to all parents before the trip and that one boy had an accident on the trip and spent the night sleeping on the floor beside his bed as he needed to be monitored. He categorically denied the allegations of the third complainant and suggested that he and the boy had had a run-in which resulted in the boy being expelled from school.

43.15 Fr Dante was asked to step aside from ministry and he agreed to do this. He was also advised to seek legal advice. The case was referred to the advisory panel. The panel agreed that the correct procedures were being followed and it recommended that the hospital at which Fr Dante had been a chaplain should be informed. It was decided that the diocese should conduct its own investigation and, in this respect, the parish priest of his current parish should make discreet inquiries as to any further allegations. Those who had raised expressions of concern were to be informed that a formal complaint had been made. These recommendations were immediately acted upon. The health board and the hospital were informed.

43.16 Fr Dante began attending treatment sessions at the Granada Institute in March 2003. During his time in treatment, a health board child care manager sought clarification from the Archdiocese on what measures had been taken to ensure that Fr Dante was no longer a threat to children. Fr Gleeson replied, telling her that Fr Dante had been asked to step aside from ministry, had been referred to Granada for risk assessment, had been moved to alternative accommodation across the city and had been assigned a priest advisor. The matter came before the advisory panel again in August 2003 where it was noted that Fr Dante was continuing to deny the allegations but had been attending Granada, where he had suggested that he would be happy to retire from the priesthood.

43.17 A report from Granada was sent to the Archdiocese in February 2004. This showed that Fr Dante consistently denied any sexual abuse although he did accept the reasons for his ministerial restrictions regarding contact with minors. He also consistently denied any erotic interest in children. Fr Dante had told Granada that he had rigorously adhered to the restrictions imposed on him. Granada concluded that his isolation meant his health problems were entering a chronic pattern and recommended that he be allowed retire. It suggested that it would be desirable both socially and mentally for him to return to the UK to be near his family. In March 2004, Fr Dante requested retirement from the priesthood on the basis of his poor health. He asked that he be permitted to return to the UK to be near his niece who was a nurse and could monitor his health problems.

43.18 His request for retirement went before the advisory panel. It was recommended that the precept under which he was living be maintained (that is, no ministry) and the implications of providing proper supervision in the UK be considered. The Gardaí and the health board were to be asked for their views of such a move. In June 2004, the advisory panel went a step further and concluded that specific recommendations would be needed from the Child Protection Service as to the safest arrangements for his move. The health board told the Archdiocese that if Fr Dante were to move to the UK then all those with whom he would be living or would have contact would need to be informed of the allegations against him. However, Fr Dante himself would first need to be informed that this was happening.

43.19 Fr Dante was notified of the requirements of a move to the UK diocese at the end of May 2004. He resisted the notification requirements as stated by the health board and suggested he would seek legal advice on the issue. He met Philip Garland, Director of the Child Protection Service, in July 2004. Mr Garland explained that the notification requirements were essential. Fr Dante again denied all allegations made against him.

43.20 His formal request for retirement was sent to Archbishop Martin in September 2004 and was considered by the bishops. The advisory panel recommended that full retirement be supported by the Archdiocese. In early December it recommended that a formal precept be put in place which would be explicit about the need to avoid any unsupervised contact with minors and restrictions on providing any ministry for him. It also recommended that the Child Protection Service maintain contact with its UK counterpart. The Archbishop also requested that Fr Dante‟s niece be informed. Fr Dante did not want her informed and he said that he would inform his sister. The advisory panel recommended that his sister be fully briefed on his retirement. In this respect, the panel believed it would be prudent for the delegate to be present when Fr Dante informed his sister.

43.21 Fr Dante returned to the UK in February 2005. The Child Protection Co-ordinator for the diocese to which he was moving was informed that he would be moving to the diocese and of the child protection concerns that had been raised about him. A canonical precept was drawn up and approved by both the Dublin Archdiocese and the UK diocese to which he was moving. The precept laid down the following conditions:

• no public masses to be celebrated; he could do so in private but only those who were aware of his situation could attend;

• no permission to celebrate other Sacraments except the Sacrament of Penance in situations of danger of death;

• permission must be sought from the delegate of the Dublin Archdiocese to celebrate family occasions. The permission of the local bishop of the relevant jurisdiction should also be sought;

• no unsupervised contact formal or informal with minors;

• no clerical garb;

• must co-operate with the representatives of the relevant dioceses.

43.22 This was followed by a behavioural contract between Fr Dante and the parish in the UK in which he would be living. This specified that he:

• was not to wear clerical garb or involve himself in any liturgical activities in the parish community;

• was not to celebrate mass in public; he could celebrate in a private room and in the company of those aware of the reasons for his retirement;

• was to sit separately from children and families when attending mass in the parish;

• was to accept the advice of the parish clergy about what mass to attend;

• was to never be alone with children and must avoid any occasion where this may accidentally occur;

• was to make a conscious effort to avoid befriending those who would have regular visits from children;

• communicate any change of address or visit to another parish to the local clergy.

43.23 Shortly afterwards, the delegate in the UK diocese reported that Fr Dante was still in denial and had failed to inform his sister of the allegations. The advisory panel‟s concerns were vindicated. The UK delegate then briefed the sister due to his concern for her grandchildren who regularly visited. He also said that the information about Fr Dante would have to be shared with the parish deacon and the child protection representative but nobody else. The Dublin delegate responded by acknowledging the difficulty now faced by Fr Dante‟s family and agreeing that perhaps it should have been made a condition of his retirement that the Archdiocese be allowed to inform his family before the move to the UK. In April 2005, the UK diocese delegate told the Dublin delegate that Fr Dante‟s sister was shocked by the allegations; she was very angry at having been expected to look after him and she had confirmed that she would not take responsibility for being his monitor.

43.24 Fr Dante was nominated as a beneficiary of the Clerical Fund Society from 1 May 2005.

The Commission’s assessment

43.25 The complaints were dealt with by the Archdiocese appropriately and in accordance with the Framework Document. The Gardaí also dealt with them appropriately.

43.26 There was good communications between the Archdiocese, the Gardaí and the health board. There was also good communication between the Archdiocese and the UK diocese. The advisory panel was particularly effective in ensuring that this communication occurred and was clearly very aware of the need not to rely on Fr Dante himself to communicate with relevant people.

43.27 This case again raises the difficulty as to how the activities of priests accused of child sexual abuse are to be monitored. In this particular case, it appears that everything possible that could be done was done but the end result is that a priest about whom there are concerns is now living in an unsupervised regime.
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Re: Commission of Investigation: Report Into the Catholic Ar

Postby admin » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:12 am

Chapter 44: Fr Cassius*112


44.1 Fr Cassius was born in 1910, ordained in 1934 and died in 1975. A complaint was made to the Archdiocese in 1999 that Fr Cassius sexually abused a girl in the early 1960s. The alleged abuse involved multiple sexual abuses including oral sex and gang rape involving the priest.

The Complaint

44.2 The complainant alleged that the abuse took place in an industrial school in the early 1960s, when she was aged between seven and ten. Fr Cassius was serving at the time in the parish where the industrial school was located. It was alleged that Fr Cassius lived in a house annexed to the school chapel and that a nun from the institution delivered the complainant to him for the purposes of permitting the abuse. The complainant alleged that the nun was complicit in the abuse on these occasions and that the nun herself participated in the abuse and watched it taking place. She alleged that she was gang-raped by three or four men in that house and that Fr Cassius was one of the participants in the rape.

44.3 Both the Gardaí and the Archdiocese investigated the complaint.

The Archdiocese Investigation

44.4 Another nun who had been in that institution for one month in 1951 and returned there for a longer period after 1975 stated on inquiry from the Archdiocese that, during her time there, priests did not have free access to the institution and there was no significant contact between the Archdiocese and the institution. She did recall one priest (not the priest being investigated, but against whom this complainant made a similar allegation) having attended from time to time to examine children on religious knowledge.

44.5 Monsignor Dolan, the chancellor at the time that the complaint was made, had a search carried out in the diocesan archives for relevant material concerning the institution between the period 1940 and 1971. This search however did not reveal any letters of complaint from anyone nor was there any record of concern from any outside agency about the institution during this time.

44.6 Similarly, the Commission has not come across any material that would indicate that there was any complaint made about this priest to the Archdiocese during his life time.

The Garda investigation

44.7 This investigation began when a statement was provided to the Gardaí by the complainant in July 1999 through her solicitor.

44.8 Garda records refer to the statement as being incomplete, as the complainant‟s solicitor had terminated the interview because she felt that the complainant was close to having a mental breakdown. The complainant lived abroad and had left Ireland a few days later with a promise to return to complete her statement. As the Gardaí did not consider the statement completed, their investigation did not significantly progress beyond this time. The Gardaí did obtain a copy of the unedited version of a media program involving the complainant. They also tried to arrange for the return of the complainant for the purposes of the completion of her statement but were unsuccessful in so doing. The Commission understands that the complainant has now declined to make any statement and the matter is consequently no longer under investigation by the Gardaí.

Civil Proceedings

44.9 Civil proceedings were issued by the complainant in September 1999 against the Archdiocese. The Commission is not aware of any outcome to the civil proceedings.

The Commission’s assessment

44.10 The Archdiocese and the Gardaí did what they could to investigate this complaint. The priest was dead for 24 years when it was made so it was not possible to have a conclusive investigation.
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Re: Commission of Investigation: Report Into the Catholic Ar

Postby admin » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:13 am

Chapter 45: Fr Giraldus*113


45.1 Fr Giraldus was born in 1940 and ordained in 1970. He was a member of a religious order but was incardinated into the Dublin Archdiocese in the 1980s. The Commission is aware of two allegations of child sexual abuse against him; one of these was subsequently withdrawn.

First Complaint, 2000

45.2 An allegation of sexual abuse was made against Fr Giraldus in January 2000. It related to his time as a member of staff in a children‟s home outside the Dublin Archdiocese in the 1960s. The allegation was investigated by the Gardaí. Fr Giraldus emphatically denied the allegation. The Archdiocese made inquiries about his activities but no concerns emerged. The advisory panel recommended that he should not be asked to step aside from ministry nor should there be any change in his status. It recommended that the diocese await the outcome of the garda investigation before deciding how to proceed. However, in May 2000, the complainant withdrew his complaint against Fr Giraldus and explained that it was another staff member who had abused him.

Second Complaint, 2005

45.3 In April 2005, the head of the order of which Fr Giraldus had been a member received an anonymous letter alleging child sexual abuse by Fr Giraldus when he was a teacher at a Dublin secondary school and the writer was a pupil there in 1972/73. The alleged abuse involved touching the complainant and a number of other boys at a swimming pool. The head of the order communicated with the writer by email over a period. The writer lived abroad. The head of the order encouraged the complainant to go to the Gardaí and he explained that he would need to inform the Archdiocese of the allegation.

45.4 The order informed Philip Garland, Director of the Child Protection Service (CPS) in May 2005. It was agreed between the order and the Archdiocese that the Archdiocese would conduct an investigation and deal with the statutory authorities; the Archdiocese would provide victim support and all issues of litigation would be directed to the order.

45.5 The Child Protection Service contacted the still anonymous complainant by email. The support co-ordinator of the Child Protection Service then maintained frequent contact and offered support to the complainant throughout the following months. In June 2005, the complainant provided a signed statement. The Gardaí and the HSE were notified by the Child Protection Service.

45.6 The Gardaí expressed surprise that Fr Giraldus had not been removed from ministry and the HSE said that he presented a potentially high risk. The CPS recommended that he be asked to step aside from ministry.

Interagency meeting

45.7 The case was reviewed at an interagency meeting between the Archdiocese, the HSE and the Gardaí in early July 2005. The Gardaí confirmed that they had made contact with the complainant but had yet to launch a formal investigation as the complainant had not yet made a statement of complaint to them. The HSE confirmed that it would be satisfied if the Church followed through on its proposed actions, namely, that the priest be asked to step aside from ministry, leave his parish and go for assessment.

45.8 The Archbishop and the delegate then met Fr Giraldus. He denied the allegations and said he did not remember the complainant. He said he never touched a child sexually nor was he ever sexually aroused in a swimming pool. He admitted there would be horseplay at times but nothing inappropriate. He also admitted that he would have showered naked and that it would be possible that his swimming shorts might have come off when diving into the pool.

Stepping aside from ministry

45.9 Fr Giraldus was asked to step aside from ministry but was given permission to celebrate certain family events. He agreed to go to the Granada Institute for assessment. It was agreed that he would tell his parish team that he was taking a leave of absence. The Commission is somewhat surprised that this subterfuge was being used in 2005. He also had a support priest. Fr Giraldus moved out of his parish to a house he owned.

45.10 In mid July 2005, the complainant was informed that Fr Giraldus had stepped aside from ministry. His response was that he did not intend to pursue criminal proceedings provided the priest got professional help. In August, the complainant expressed his disappointment that he had heard of Fr Giraldus‟s denial of the allegations through a third party. He did not identify the third party involved. He said that he would cease to co-operate with the CPS if they were not more forthcoming with developments in the case. He also advised that he had met an obstacle when trying to give a Garda statement: he was required to be present to give the interview or to use Interpol or the police in the country where he was living, none of which he wanted to do. He further advised that he was seeking legal advice in Dublin.

45.11 Fr Giraldus attended Granada from September to November 2005. A report from Granada in January 2006 concluded that there were no grounds for restricting his involvement with or access to children nor did he need ongoing professional support or counselling. It noted that there was no concrete (meaning corroborative) evidence that Fr Giraldus had sexually abused the complainant and that there was an absence of any apparent erotic attraction to children.

45.12 The advisory panel, having seen this report, expressed its concern at the protracted length of the investigation and urged the CPS to press the Gardaí to get a statement from the complainant. Fr Giraldus was also anxious about the length of time he had been out of ministry and claimed that people were beginning to ask questions. The panel further recommended that advice be sought from the HSE on risk management in the case.

45.13 A second meeting between the Archdiocese, the HSE and the Gardaí was held in February 2006. Granada was represented at this meeting. The Gardaí indicated that there was no investigation at present as they did not have an official complaint. Granada reconfirmed that the priest had always asserted his innocence and his risk level was low. There was no evidence of an erotic interest in children or any evidence to restrict his access to children. Granada recommended that he be allowed to return to ministry but also uggested that he should be encouraged to retire. It is not clear why this recommendation was made. The HSE was uneasy about the situation in respect of the first complaint and with the fact that the order did not seem to have any concerns about the priest. It was concluded that the case should again go before the advisory panel for recommendation. It was also agreed that there would be a meeting with the order regarding its knowledge of the situation in the school during the priest‟s time there. The HSE would attend this meeting and would try to contact the first complainant. It is not clear why the HSE wanted to contact the first complainant as he had clearly withdrawn the complaint because he recognised that he had made a mistake of identification. The HSE did not, in fact, contact the first complainant.

45.14 The CPS updated the second complainant about the decisions which were made in the course of this meeting. The complainant confirmed that he was happy for the HSE to contact him. He also explained that it was purely the distance that was preventing him from making a statement to the Gardaí. The Archdiocese agreed to fund the cost of the complainant‟s journey to Ireland in order to make a statement to the Gardaí.

45.15 The CPS met the order in March 2006. The HSE was not at the meeting. The order informed the CPS that it had carried out a very detailed investigation regarding the school and swimming pool to which the allegations related but they were not aware of any concerns in relation to Fr Giraldus. The order representative confirmed that he would not have any concerns about Fr Giraldus in relation to child abuse issues. He also said that he knew the complainant and described him as a very trustworthy person.

45.16 The complainant came to Ireland in April 2006. He met the CPS, the order, the Gardaí and the HSE. He reiterated his assertion that Fr Giraldus had harmed others as he had heard boys tell stories of similar occurrences. He said that his reason for travelling to Ireland was the priest‟s denial of everything.

45.17 A further meeting between the Archdiocese, the HSE and the Gardaí was held in May 2006. The HSE said it had not followed up with the first complainant as there was no complaint. It also said it would be interested in trying to corroborate what the second complainant had said about the other boys. The Gardaí were of the opinion that there had been only one minor incident which would be difficult to prove and corroborate. They would continue to investigate. It was decided that Fr Giraldus should remain on administrative leave while the CPS followed up with the order regarding their knowledge. The HSE undertook to check its files in relation to the school in question. A final interagency meeting was held in July 2006. It was agreed that the case was unsubstantiated and it was not possible to determine the risk.

45.18 The Gardaí completed their investigations and forwarded a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). In December 2006, the DPP decided not to prosecute due to lack of medical or forensic evidence, delay, and the absence of witnesses to the alleged incident.

45.19 Fr Giraldus was restored to ministry in December 2006 and is currently in ministry.

The Commission’s assessment

45.20 The withdrawal of an allegation does not always mean that no further investigation should take place. However, the first allegation in this case was withdrawn because the complainant realised he had mistaken the identity of his abuser. In these circumstances, the Commission considers it reasonable to cease further investigation.

45.21 All concerned with the second allegation dealt with this case in accordance with the procedures and there was very good communication between the Archdiocese and the order and between the church and state authorities. The fact that the allegation was initially anonymous meant that there was a slight delay before the priest was removed from ministry and all the relevant people were contacted. The CPS was trying to get further information so the slight delay was reasonable. The Archdiocese facilitated the complainant in making his complaint to the civil authorities and is to be commended for that.

45.22 This is one of the cases in which the HSE did not provide documents to the Commission until it had received the draft of this chapter. The HSE attended the interagency meetings and was kept fully informed by the CPS but it is not clear to the Commission that the HSE had any real function at these meetings. It is understandable that the Archdiocese was relying, to some extent, on the HSE to provide a risk assessment but the HSE was not in a position to do that.
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Re: Commission of Investigation: Report Into the Catholic Ar

Postby admin » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:14 am

Chapter 46: Fr Aquila*114


46.1 Fr Aquila is a member of a religious order since the 1950s. As a brother in the order, he served in a school. He was ordained as a priest of the order in the 1960s. He served abroad for a number of years and was a chaplain in the Archdiocese of Dublin for some time. He is now retired from public ministry. He lives in another diocese where he has faculties to say mass but, at his own choice, does not have any appointment. He remains a member of the order but has no real involvement with it.

46.2 The Commission is aware of a total of three complaints alleging sexual abuse against Fr Aquila. All of the complaints related to his service in the school when he was not yet a priest.

First Complaint

46.3 The first complaint of abuse was made by a former student at the school to the Gardaí in February 2000 and involved an allegation of physical and sexual assault in the school in the 1960s. The allegation was that he had strapped a boy on his bare buttocks and subsequently applied ointment on the boy‟s buttocks on the premise of alleviation of the damage caused by the beating. During the course of the application of the ointment, he is alleged to have touched the boy‟s genitals. The priest admitted to strapping boys on bare buttocks while at the school and that he would have applied medication in such circumstances. He denied ever touching genitalia and regarded any discipline he meted out as in accordance with the “norms of the times”. He denied any sexual attraction to, or fantasies about, children. A Garda file was sent to the DPP who directed no prosecution in September 2000.

Church response

46.4 The Dublin Archdiocese learned of the complaint from the Gardaí in February 2000. Fr Aquila was immediately requested by the superior of his order to step aside from his position as chaplain. Fr Aquila was referred to the Granada Institute for assessment and a report was issued in September 2000. This report judged him to be well adjusted, having a strong network of support, no deviant sexual fantasies and to be a conscientious and hard-working person. As the psychologist determined that there was no evidence that Fr Aquila presented a risk to children, it was recommended that he be allowed to return to his ministry. Archbishop Connell confirmed that he was permitted to return as chaplain in September 2000, having checked with the chancellor, Monsignor Dolan, that there were no other known concerns about him.

Two further complaints

46.5 Between June and July 2001, the Archdiocese learned of two further complaints of alleged physical and sexual abuse from two other former students at the school. One of those complainants reported that “to the best of his memory”, he thought his abuser might have been Fr Aquila.

46.6 In August 2002, Archbishop Connell withdrew his nomination of Fr Aquila as a chaplain. Although Fr Aquila was initially going to contest this, he decided to retire in 2003.

46.7 In October 2004, the order‟s advisory panel considered the three complaints against Fr Aquila. While the panel considered the claims believable, it did not make any decision as to whether they did or did not happen.

46.8 It was decided by the panel and the superior of the order that no bar would be put on Fr Aquila as a priest. Over the next few years, Fr Aquila became disillusioned with the Church and his order in particular. He moved to the diocese where he grew up. In July 2006, the advisory panel considered that he was disengaging from the order and that this was a cause for concern. He was living outside of, and had no contact with, his order. The panel members agreed that contact should be made with him and that their concerns be expressed. The advisory panel met again in October 2006 and discussed an impending report due to be received from Granada via Fr Aquila‟s solicitors. There was some puzzlement as to why the report had not been received by the panel – the assessment had been carried out in November 2005. The panel was also unsure if it was the case that Fr Aquila, through his disengagement with the order, did not really want to return to active ministry.

46.9 The Granada assessment, which was carried out in November 2005, was made available to the order in November 2006. It reiterated that Fr Aquila was fit for ministry. The advisory panel recommended that he should be free to exercise public ministry.

46.10 The order applied to the bishop of the diocese where Fr Aquila was living to grant him faculties to say public mass. He did not want any appointment. The order provided the bishop with a full description of his background, of the complaints received and the assessments undertaken. Faculties were granted by the bishop.

The Commission’s assessment

46.11 The order, the Archdiocese and the Gardaí all dealt with this case appropriately. Regrettably, the process of dealing with the complaints seems to have caused great disillusionment to Fr Aquila. His present limited ministry and non-involvement with his order is his choice as it is clear that the order did not sideline him. The Archdiocese was correct in removing him as a chaplain when the complaints were made.
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Re: Commission of Investigation: Report Into the Catholic Ar

Postby admin » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:14 am

Chapter 47: Fr Blaise*115


47.1 In August 2001, a priest in the Portmarnock area received a letter from a man who claimed that in 1972, when he was 14 years old, he was abused by Fr Blaise. The abuse allegedly occurred when this priest was a parish priest. The complainant was inquiring about Fr Blaise‟s whereabouts in 2001 but stated that he did not want to take the matter further for fear it would cause stress to his mother.

47.2 The man also complained to the Gardaí in August 2001. The Gardaí made inquiries about Fr Blaise and they established that he had been the parish priest in the relevant area in 1972. However, he had died in 1987. A criminal investigation would not be conducted because he was dead. Nevertheless, the Gardaí told the complainant how to contact the chancellor, Monsignor Dolan, at Archbishop‟s House.

47.3 The matter was referred to the clerical abuse inquiry at the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) in Harcourt Square– see Chapter 5. The complainant at this stage was serving a prison sentence in the UK. The NBCI wrote to the complainant and provided him with a telephone number and an email address. They also informed him that they were currently involved in an investigation of clerical child sex abuse, and had received correspondence in relation to his complaint from the Garda station where he had made the complaint.

47.4 In May 2002, legal proceedings were issued on behalf of the complainant against the Archdiocese. The solicitor who issued the proceedings on behalf of the complainant had considerable difficulty in advancing the case because the complainant was in prison. He was moved to different prisons on a number of occasions during the course of his imprisonment. Eventually, on the application of the Archdiocese, the case was dismissed for want of prosecution. The Gardaí were unable to pursue the matter because the alleged victim did not make a formal statement. The Gardaí informed the church authorities that, to their knowledge, there was no other complaint about Fr Blaise.

The Commission’s assessment

47.5 Once the complainant had launched legal proceedings, the Archdiocese responded properly at all stages. It was clear that the solicitors for the complainant were having difficulties in getting instructions and eventually the case was dropped. No attempt was made to contact the complainant or to arrange to take a statement from him. The archdiocesan view was that it was his prerogative to make direct contact with the Archdiocese or to go through his solicitor; he chose the latter.

47.6 It must also be said that the internal investigation undertaken by the Archdiocese following the issuing of civil proceedings uncovered no suspicion of child sexual abuse on the part of Fr Blaise other than this allegation. All of his fellow priests who were interviewed said they found the allegation unbelievable.

47.7 There is another priest of the same name against whom serious allegations of child sexual abuse have been made in another diocese. This other priest is not of the Archdiocese of Dublin but did supply work in the Archdiocese. The possibility that the offender was in fact that other priest was not explored by any party.

47.8 Even though Fr Blaise had died, the Gardaí did what they could to assist the complainant.
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