Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Irish Church 'took nine years to reveal abuse case'

From the "Newsletter"

THE Catholic Church in Ireland waited nine years before disclosing a case of alleged child abuse, the News Letter has found.
In March 2006, then Archbishop Sean Brady stated publicly that the Church had disclosed all allegations of child sexual abuse against clergy to the police.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has told the News Letter that the Church had been aware of at least one of those cases of alleged abuse for nine years before Cardinal Brady led moves to disclose it.

A spokesman for the PPS told the News Letter that the complaint in question "was made to the Catholic Church in 1997 – the Catholic Church reported the matter to police by way of letter dated 7th March, 2006".

A spokesman for Cardinal Brady said they did not know what case the News Letter was asking about and that the PPS had refused to discuss it with the Church for data protection reasons.

"As a result we are unable to identify the specific cases listed in your letter and therefore to provide you with an accurate response to your query," said the Church spokesman.

The News Letter asked the PPS why the Church was not investigated for potentially withholding information on child abuse for over nine years.

A PPS spokesman responded that it is the PSNI's responsibility to investigate and that the complainant had asked for no further action to be taken.

The PSNI declined to make any specific comment on the apparent nine-year delay in reporting the case.

Instead, the News Letter was directed to a PSNI statement which affirmed that the PSNI would take its lead from the Northern Ireland Executive in supporting any inter-departmental response to clerical child abuse. A new dedicated PSNI team under the Serious Crime Branch was to take over clerical child sex abuse investigations from the start of this month.

The Northern Ireland Executive asked Health Minister Michael McGimpsey to take the lead on such abuse last year. In December, he announced he would submit a paper to his ministerial colleagues about the way forward.

A spokeswoman for Mr McGimpsey said yesterday that the Executive was still considering the paper.

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