Calls have been made for a full and public inquiry to be established into the sexual abuse of children in the Raphoe Diocese following yesterday’s release of the long-awaited audit of the diocese.
Speaking at the launch in Letterkenny, Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Philip Boyce conceded that the Raphoe Diocese’s record on allegations of clerical sexual abuse is likely to be “proportionally higher than any Diocese”.
Falcarragh man, John O’Donnell confronted Bishop Philip Boyce during the press conference on the report.
Mr. O’Donnell, who claims he was sexually abused by a choir member and that the church failed to act on his allegation, branded the report “too little too late”.
He said the abuse against him resulted in alcoholism and a broken marriage. He’s now calling for a full report into sexual abuse in the diocese and for more abuse survivors to come forward.
Speaking after the launch he stated: “I wasn’t afraid to go there today and face them. I think that more victims should have gone there today. Maybe it was too early for them.”
He welcomed the fact that the report was not published in the same week as the budget, but called the audit “a load of crap”.
The report, which was an audit of procedures in the diocese from January 1975 to August 2010, shows that 52 allegations were reported to both the Gardai and the HSE involving 14 priests who were all living at the time the review was conducted.
Eight of those whom allegations were made against are “out of Ministry” or have now left the priesthood. Four have been convicted for offences committed within the audit time frame.
Six priests who were the subject of allegations are still “in Ministry” or had retired at the date of the review.
The press conference heard that audit author, Ian Elliott, has not recommended any deeper investigation into child sex abuse allegations in any of the six diocese whose reports came out yesterday.
Bishop Philip Boyce said that while he would assist any investigation if it was requested he didn’t see it offering “any great advantage”.
“It’s heartening to know he (Mr. Elliott) has not called for that in these six dioceses. It wouldn’t be of any great advantage, but I will go with whatever is asked,” he stated.
During questioning he said all the written records of complaint were stored in a safe and handed over to him by his predecessor, Bishop Seamus Hegarty, whom he described as a “meticulous” record keeper.
He also denied that any records were ever knowingly destroyed.
He only became aware of a letter written by the father of an abuse victim of Fr. Eugene Greene during the priest’s trial in 1998, he added. The Bishop also reiterated an apology to the survivors of clerical sexual abuse in the diocese and acknowledged it had one of the worst records for abuse in the Irish Catholic Church.
“I don’t know the exact record of all the diocese, but I suspect that it has a very high proportion and proportionally higher than any diocese,” he told reporters.