DUBLIN: Cloyne Report Into Child Sex Abuse By Clergy In Detail Available Now: UPDATED

13 Jul

John Magee - Report found he had deliberately misled people

Bishop criticised

Bishop John Magee

Bishop John Magee

The Cloyne Report scrutinises how both Catholic Church and State authorities handled allegations of abuse against 19 clerics in the Co Cork diocese.

The Cloyne Report scrutinises how both Catholic Church and State authorities handled allegations of abuse against 19 clerics in the Co Cork diocese.

Judge Yvonne Murphy and two fellow commissioners were not tasked with establishing whether child sexual abuse took place or whether there was a basis for suspicions or concerns.

The inquiry was ordered by the Government in 2009, following revelations that child protection practices in the diocese were inadequate and in some respects dangerous.

Report details and reaction:

1502 There are 46 parishes in the Diocese of Cloyne, in 1996 there were 163 priests in the diocese, 12 of them came within the remit of the report.

1501 The Commission says in its report that the Papal Nuncio replied to a request for information relevant to its investigation by saying he was ‘unable to assist you in his matter’.

The Nunciature did not he said determine the handling of cases of sexual abuse in Ireland and would not be in a position to assist.

The Commission says that the Department of Health claimed privilege over a number of documents relevant to its investigation. The report notes that the Diocese of Cloyne, in particular Archbishop Clifford and Bishop Magee fully co-operated as did the Gardai and HSE.

But it did note that in one case Gardai were unable to assist because ‘these complaints were investigated but files cannot be found’.

1500 The Commission held 55 formal hearings during its inquiry both at its offices and at other locations around the country.

The Commission says its work in the Cloyne Diocese cost €1.9 million, which does not include third party costs.

NEWS UPDATE AS REPORT IS BEING PRESENTED IN DAIL EIREANN:

The Cloyne Report has found that Bishop John Magee falsely told the Govt and HSE that his diocese was reporting all abuse allegations to authorities.

 
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Cloyne report introductory |Cloyne report in detail

The Cloyne Report has found that former Bishop John Magee falsely told the Government and the HSE that the Catholic Diocese was reporting all allegations of clerical child sexual abuse to the civil authorities.

It also found he had deliberately misled people by creating two different accounts of a meeting with an accused priest.

Bishop John Magee, whose resignation was accepted by the Vatican last March, is criticised for his handling of allegations.

The Commission of Inquiry has also raised concern that there is no evidence of a Garda investigation into two allegations of abuse against one priest.

The report was initially submitted to Government last December, but legal complexities meant it was not approved for publication by Cabinet until today.

Running to 400 pages and detailing findings on 19 priests who faced abuse allegations over a 13-year period, the report deals with how the Cloyne Diocese handled abuse allegations as recently as 2009.

The report draws attention to one case where despite Garda assurances, the Commission can find no evidence of Garda investigations into allegations by two women against a single priest.

The Commission states it is concerned and it does not accept there was a proper investigation into the complaints against the priest named as ‘Fr Corin’.

The report also details how an allegation against Bishop John Magee himself in 2008 was dealt with.

The Bishop allegedly embraced the 18-year-old youth and kissed him on the forehead – the behaviour was deemed inappropriate but not reportable.

Helpline

The Health Service Executive will operate a confidential freephone helpdesk for people who have suffered sexual abuse anywhere at the hands of clergy.

The initiative coincides with the publication of the Cloyne Report.

The helpdesk, which can be contacted on 1800-742800 from 8am until midnight, opened at 3pm.

It will work in collaboration with eight counselling and advocacy agencies to ensure that people who make contact with the helpdesk can access a service appropriate to their needs.

NEWS UPDATE:

The Vatican was “entirely unhelpful” to any bishop who wanted to implement procedures for dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse in the Irish Catholic Church, a report has found.

The Commission of Investigation Report into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne states that a decision by the Vatican to brand a framework document on child sexual abuse, agreed by the Irish Bishops Conference in 1996, as “not an official document” effectively gave individual Irish bishops “the freedom to ignore” the guidelines.

The Vatican response “can only be described as unsupportive especially in relation to the civil authorities,” the commission said in its 341 page report.

The effect of this was “to strengthen the position of those who dissented from the official stated Irish Church policy”, according to the report, which examines allegations made against 19 priests between 1996 and 2009.

The commission says the response of the diocese was “inadequate and inappropriate” and that the primary responsibility for the failure to implement the agreed child sexual abuse procedures lies with then Bishop of Cloyne John Magee, who resigned in March 2010.

“It is a remarkable fact that Bishop Magee took little or no active interest in the management of clerical child sexual abuse cases until 2008, 12 years after the framework document was adopted,” the report says.

“It became clear during the course of this investigation that Bishop Magee had, to a certain extent, detached himself from the day to day management of child sexual abuse cases. Bishop Magee was the head of the diocese and cannot avoid his responsibility by blaming subordinates who he wholly failed to supervise.”

It says that Bishop Magee wrongly told the government and the HSE that the Cloyne Diocese was reporting all allegations of clerical child sexual abuse to the authorities. It also said he deliberately misled people by creating two different accounts of a meeting with a priest accused of abuse.

The inquiry, led by Judge Yvonne Murphy, said the fact that some child sexual abuse allegations were not reported to gardai was the diocese’s “greatest failure”.

There were 15 cases between 1996 and 2005 which “very clearly” should have been reported by the diocese. Nine of the cases were not reported.

“The most serious lapse was the failure to report the two cases in which the alleged victims were minors at the time of the complaint was made,” the commission said.

The diocese also failed to report any complaints to health authorities between 1996 and 2008, as agreed under the framework document, and it failed to appoint people to provide support to victims or perpetrators of child sexual abuse.

“Given the diocese’s knowledge of clerical sexual abuse and its effects on complainants it was wrong of the diocese not to put in place a proper support system for complainants,” the commission says.

The report was commissioned in January 2009 by then minister for children Barry Andrews after the public outcry which followed publication in December 2008 of a review of child protection practices in Cloyne by the Catholic Church’s own child protection watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children.

The commission was asked to investigate the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in Cloyne by church and State authorities between January 1st, 1996 – when the church’s first published guidelines, its Framework Document, came into play – and February 1st, 2009.

It was approved for publication at the Cabinet meeting yesterday and was formally published this afternoon by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald.

Findings against one priest are being withheld as he is currently before the courts.

The report says the Vatican approach “gave comfort and support” to individuals such as Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan, who handled child sexual abuse policy in the Diocese of Cloyne for many years without supervision.

Mgr O’Callaghan failed to understand that the requirement to report was for the protection of other children, the commission said, and he said he did not notify of complaints against deceased priests until May 2003.

Mgr O’Callaghan told the commission: “I regret now that I did not intervene to counter the choice of the legal route when just settlements should have been made earlier with survivors” “I regret also that I tended to show favour to accused priests vis-à-vis complaints in some cases.”

The report is largely complimentary about the role of gardaí but does raise concerns about its approach in three cases.

In one, an investigation was “clearly not commenced”. In a second case, a statement that was taken from a young man by a garda who was due to retire was put in a drawer and forgotten about. In a third case, the evidence given to the commission by a garda differed from statements he had made to prior Garda investigations

The commission said the response of health authorities was “adequate” but that “the primary responsibility for the protection of children rests with the State and it is not convinced the State’s laws and guidelines are sufficiently strong and clear for this task”.

The report also examines how an allegation against Bishop Magee from 2008 was dealt with. He is alleged to have embraced an 18-year-old youth and kissed him on the forehead, which was deemed to be inappropriate but not reportable behaviour.

NEWS UPDATE:

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said the Cloyne Report detailed “another difficult and sorry chapter” in the story of how both Church and State authorities in Ireland responded to the sexual abuse of young people.

While the report is largely complimentary about the role played by gardaí, it does raise concerns about its approach in three cases.

In one, an investigation was “clearly not commenced”. In a second case, a statement that was taken from a young man by a garda who was due to retire was put in a drawer and forgotten about. In a third case, the evidence given to the commission by a garda differed from statements he had made to prior Garda investigations.

Mr Callinan apologised to the victims saying it was a matter of regret to him that people did not receive the appropriate attention and action from the Garda to which they were entitled.

“The policies and structures now in place are very much victim-focused and designed to ensure that no one has a similar experience today.”

He stressed the importance of reporting sexual crime to the gardaí.

“I want to assure the community that we have invested much time, energy and resources into ensuring that both our policies and people are effective in this sensitive and challenging area. Anyone making a complaint to gardaí will be met with sensitivity and with professionalism,” he said.

Mr Callinan has asked Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne to examine the report to see whether, in addition to action already taken, any further action can be taken against the abusers referred to in it.

Anyone wishing to provide information in relation to the report or who want to report information about the commission of a criminal offence arising from the report can contact the dedicated telephone line established at the offices of Assistant Commissioner, National Support Services, Harcourt Square in Dublin on 01-6663612.

A list of other helplines is available on Aertel p127

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