Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Archbishop McQuaid of Dublin Investigated for Sexual Abuse

Old picture of the revered and feared His Grace talking with the President of Ireland, Sean T. O' Kelly, and with Taoiseach, Sean Lemass;

Archbishop McQuaid was courted by Fr. Maciel to allow the Legion of Christ to open a house in Dublin in 1960; first he refused but then relented. See article following this news item. Notice discrepancy in LC posting regarding the year 1960/62

Group urges Ireland to study abuse claims against former Dublin prelate

Friday, December 9, 2011

By Michael Kelly Catholic News Service
ShareThis DUBLIN (CNS) -- An abuse victims' support group has urged the Irish government to set up a statutory inquiry to investigate whether there is any truth to allegations of sexual abuse against former Dublin Archbishop John McQuaid.

The support group One in Four made the request after The Irish Times said it had established that Archbishop McQuaid, who died in 1973, was the cleric referred to in a supplementary chapter of Judge Yvonne Murphy's report into abuse allegations in the Dublin Archdiocese.
A spokeswoman for Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the matter is the subject of a police investigation.

One in Four's executive director, Maeve Lewis, said an inquiry "is the only way to establish the truth of the matter. If (Archbishop) McQuaid is innocent of the allegations, then it will be an opportunity to restore his good name.

"If the allegations are true, then we must know the extent of the sexual abuse, who else was involved and, crucially, if the church or civil authorities of the time had knowledge of the abuse but failed to act. If records exist, they must be examined," she said.

Lewis noted that Archbishop McQuaid was the Dublin church leader for more than 30 years "and was, at that time, possibly the most powerful, influential and feared man in Ireland. If Archbishop McQuaid was, as is alleged, a sex offender himself, then it is no wonder that the secrecy and cover-ups which have characterized the church's handling of sexual abuse was so entrenched."
The Murphy Report, published in 2009, found that the reputation of the church and the avoidance of scandal had been placed ahead of the needs of children to be protected. It looked at the archdiocese's handling of more than 300 abuse claims lodged between 1975 and 2004. The report was critical of Archbishop McQuaid and three of his successors for failing to respond adequately to abuse allegations.
The supplementary chapter was published in July. It deals with two sex abuse complaints as well as a separate "concern" investigated by the Murphy Commission. One complaint alleges abuse of a 12-year-old boy by Archbishop McQuaid in 1961.

The prelate, who became archbishop of Dublin in 1940, is not identified by name in the supplementary report but is described as a cleric who "has been dead for many years."
The supplementary chapter reports that, in mid-2009, as the Murphy Report was being finalized, the investigating commission received information that "brought another cleric" within its remit. The complaint concerned an adult who, in 2003, alleged to social services that he had been abused by Archbishop McQuaid.

The 2003 complaint was not forwarded to Murphy due to what the commission described as "human error." It was only when Archbishop Martin discovered the allegation in May 2009 that the judge was informed.
The archdiocese then organized a further review of its files and found a letter "which showed that there was an awareness among a number of people in the archdiocese that there had been a concern expressed about this cleric in 1999." This is around the same time that journalist John Cooney published his book, "John Charles McQuaid: Ruler of Catholic Ireland," which first aired an allegation that Archbishop McQuaid had been accused of abuse. Historians at the time widely dismissed Cooney's claim.
Then in 2010, after the commission's report had been published, Archbishop Martin told it he had received another abuse complaint against Archbishop McQuaid. The 2010 complaint is the subject of a civil action against the archdiocese.

Copyright (c) 2011 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops


The Legion of Christ has been present in Ireland since 1960, when it opened its first novitiate in Dublin.
The novitiate in Ireland.
The novitiate in Ireland.
In April of 1960, the Legion of Christ opened its first house in Bundoran, County Donegal, preparing the land for a new novitiate on Irish soil. On June 3rd of 1962, thanks to the support of the Holy See’s Nuncio in Ireland, Bishop Antonio Riberi, and the benevolence of the archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid, the novitiate was inaugurated in Hazelbrook House, Malahide. The current Legionary novitiate has been located since 1968 on the Leopardstown road in the suburb of Foxrock, DublĂ­n.
In those days, Ireland’s Catholic tradition offered a very favorable environment for the formation of future priests and consecrated souls. For this reason, the first formation center for the consecrated women of the Regnum Christi Movement was opened in Dublin in the first months of 1970.
In the 1970s, the first language academies of the Legion were founded: first came Dublin Oaks Academy for boys, followed by its sister school for girls, Woodlands Academy, which was located in the same city. Since then, the Legionaries in Ireland have worked in clubs for teenagers and with Regnum Christi teams for youth and adults.
The project of founding a school for Irish children took a long time to materialize. The moment finally arrived in the year 2000 when they opened the Oakhill Junior School in the locality of Foxrock, Dublin. The school opened with great success, offering pre-school up to third grade.
At this time, the Legionaries and Regnum Christi members working in Ireland have developed other apostolates like the “Dal Riada” Center for Integral Development of the Family, which offers tools for family development in all its dimensions. Recently, they have also launched the "K4J" (Kids for Jesus) magazine of NET. The purpose of this program is to form and build up children’s clubs in Christian and families. They have also created the “Clonlost” Activities Center in Dublin, where youth and teenagers can receive academic and spiritual guidance in a healthy atmosphere.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cloyne Report into Clergy Abuse final chapter reveals

Final chapter of Cloyne Report unearths more damning evidence of cover up by Bishop and police

Chapter Nine published after High Court intervention

Shocking allegations of a cover-up into child sex abuse allegations against a Fr Ronat have come to light with the publication of the final chapter of the Cloyne Report – including claims that an investigating cleric tried to suggest a teenage victim was to blame.
The most troubling chapter of the Cloyne Report, Chapter Nine has finally been allowed into the public domain on the back of a ruling by Dublin’s High Court.
The Irish Examiner newspaper reports that the newly published chapter claims that the cleric asked to examine abuse allegations against Fr Ronat suggested the teenage girl was to blame.
The new section of the report also found that the bishop’s advisory committee tried to ensure the young woman’s complaints were not treated as child abuse while police buried an allegation of child abuse made by a young boy against the same priest.
The paper reports that Archdeacon Chris Twohig, a cleric drafted in to investigate the priest identified only as Fr Ronat, offered a disturbing analysis of allegations of abuse made by a young woman when aged 15-19.
Archdeacon Twohig asked in his report if it could be deduced that the girl was harassing or ‘besetting Fr Ronat.
He wrote: “Might it not be possible that (the girl) is the Ophelia of Hamlet - sweet bells jangled.”
The Cloyne Report found the Archdeacon’s report lacked any evidence of a genuine investigation and was not impartial.
“It seems to the Commission to be largely concerned with providing reasons why this might not be classified as child sexual abuse. It also, notably, seeks to lay the blame for what occurred on the girl,” the inquiry found.
The Examiner also reports that Fr Ronat, who also served as a career guidance counsellor, is accused of giving teenagers wine, hypnotising them and abusing while hearing confessions in his bedroom.
The 19th cleric against whom allegations have been made in Cloyne, Fr Ronat also defied instructions to stop all standard priestly duties and was found to have been turned up at confirmations.
Chapter Nine also found that former bishop and Vatican aide John Magee and his right-hand man Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan, the vicar general in the Cork diocese of Cloyne, failed the victims of clerical abuse.
The inquiry states that the pair deliberately misled authorities and did not report allegations as recently as three years ago.
Dr Magee, who resigned last year before the Cloyne Report was published, claimed that Fr Ronat only abused the girl when she was 17 - an age that ruled out paedophilia – even though she reported that she was abused from the ages of 15 to 19.
In total, 10 girls and one boy have made formal complaints against Fr Ronat, a pseudonym for the priest concerned as criminal investigations are ongoing.
The boy’s mother initially reported the abuse in 1996 but Monsignor O’Callaghan failed to report the allegations to police until 2003. No charges were brought and the inquiry is critical of the police reaction.
“The statement seems to have been put in a drawer and forgotten about until raised by this investigation,” it said.
Fr Ronat, who has yet to be convicted in relation to a child abuse matter, threatened to sue people complaining about him, the girl’s parents and even threatened legal action against then Bishop Magee.
It is also alleged that he used hypnosis on his victims.
The Cloyne Report had previously stated that failures in the handling of complaints against Fr Ronat rested mainly on Magee and the Monsignor, while at least three priests of the diocese also ignored complaints.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa (Reuters) - A Roman Catholic priest was arrested on charges he viewed child pornography in the rectory of his Pittsburgh-area church, the diocese said on Sunday.
The Rev. Bartley Sorensen, 62, pastor of St. John Fisher Church in Churchill, Pennsylvania, was arraigned on charges of
possession of child pornography, a third-degree felony, according to the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
He was being held on Sunday in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond, jail officials said.
Sorensen was arrested after a church employee walked into the rectory on Friday and saw Sorensen viewing a computer
image of a young boy naked from the waist down, with the words "Hottie Boys" on the screen, police said. She alerted
diocesan officials, who immediately contacted police.
Allegheny County detectives found pornographic images of young boys on his computer, police said. During an interview,
Sorensen admitted to possessing at least 100 pornographic pictures of children, police said. He has not been charged with
abusing children.
Accusations of child abuse and sexual impropriety against Catholic clergy in the United States have rocked the Catholic
Church since 2002, and the church has paid out some $2 billion in settlements to abuse victims.
The pornography arrest also comes amid a series of separate scandals that have seen a steady march of men make abuse
accusations in recent weeks against coaches at Penn State University, Syracuse University and most recently against a top
official at the Amateur Athletic Union.
The Pittsburgh diocese said in a statement that Sorensen had been placed on administrative leave.
"The viewing of pornographic images involving children is a disturbing and criminal act," the statement said. "The Diocese
of Pittsburgh is cooperating to the fullest extent in the investigation of this incident."
A priest for 35 years, Sorensen had been a pastor at St. John Fisher only for several weeks, having been previously assigned
for nine months to St. Anne Church in Castle Shannon, Pennsylvania. His past includes an assignment as chaplain at West
Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh.
The Rev. Ronald Lengwin, diocese spokesman, said the diocese had provided Sorensen with the names of several possible
attorneys after his arrest but it was unclear who he had retained for the criminal case.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Cynthia Johnston)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stronger Sanctions for Maciel and Paterno

Marci Hamilton, a prominent lawyer who specializes in child abuse wrote recently apropos the Sandusky scandal that Child Abuse deterrents need to be stronger