Bishop ‘did not know’ of sex abuse claims

Bishop ‘did not know’ of sex abuse claims

Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent

Fri, Jan 05, 2007

From the link:

Bishop Willie Walsh

Bishop Willie Walsh

Bishop of Killaloe Dr Willie Walsh has said he was not made aware in 1995 of any child sexual abuse incidents involving a priest of the diocese who last month received a three-year suspended sentence on pleading guilty to six counts of such abuse.

During the Circuit Court hearing in Waterford on December 20th last, prosecuting counsel Michael Delaney BL said it seemed the priest, Fr Con Desmond, had gone to his superiors in 1995 and confessed the assaults to “relieve his conscience”.

The court heard how he had thought he was under the seal of confession. However, he was told that if allegations surrounding sexual abuse emerged, he would be reported.

A former De La Salle brother, Fr Desmond (71) was principal of the De La Salle national school on Waterford’s Stephen Street when he assaulted a boy there between January 1st, 1982, and June 24th, 1983.

In 1984 Fr Desmond went to Maynooth to become a priest. He served in Killaloe diocese as parish priest of Kilmaley before moving to Knockerra. In December 2002 he was arrested on abuse charges.

Speaking to The Irish Times last night, Dr Walsh confirmed that in 1995 Fr Desmond had come to him expressing concern about the climate at the time where priests and clerical child sex abuse was concerned.

Father Con Desmond

Father Con Desmond

As confidentiality was the norm in conversations between a bishop and his priests, Dr Walsh said he felt he should advise Fr Desmond that should he speak of incidents of abuse, either involving himself or cases he had heard of, then he [Dr Walsh] could not regard that as confidential and should report it to relevant civil authorities.

That “ended the conversation”, Dr Walsh recalled last night.

However, he remained “bothered about it” and advised Fr Desmond to see a psychiatrist at the Granada Institute in Dublin, which treats both victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse. Fr Desmond did so and the psychiatrist later told Dr Walsh the priest was not a risk to children.

Dr Walsh recalled last night there had been no complaint against Fr Desmond at the time and no report of any complaint, and he was further reassured by the psychiatrist’s observations. “I felt, in natural justice, he should be left in his position.”

Fr Desmond remained in ministry until his removal in December 2002 following his arrest on the Waterford assault charges. “I can definitely say I had no information whatsoever [concerning Fr Desmond’s abuse] before or after his ordination until I received the complaints from the garda?,” Dr Walsh said last night.

“I suppose, in the light of further developments, if it came to light now, I probably would have acted differently.”

At pains not to appear to be making excuses, he recalled that when the 1995 conversation with Fr Desmond took place, he had been bishop for six months, had “very little experience”, and that there were neither civil or church guidelines in place on the handling of child sex abuse allegations. But then, as now, he has “always regarded the safety of children as paramount,” he said.

About victimsofrapebythercc

The Catechism offers a clear moral teaching: "Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them." (no. 2356) Note that rape is "an intrinsically evil act," meaning that it is evil at its very root, nothing justifies it, and it is objectively a mortal sin. An evil act was done against me, a crime, by a priest at St Thomas More Parish in Durham, NH. An evil and a crime I will no longer keep silent about. Those who perpetrate crimes against children, especially those of the Roman Catholic Church, should all be punished for their crimes against children. Anything less would be criminal.

Posted on January 20, 2015, in Bishop Willie Walsh, Child Sex Abuse, Clergy Abuse, Clergy Sex Abuse, Father Con Desmond, Priest Child Sex Abuse, Religion, Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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