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: http://www.alliancesupport.org/news/archives/001624.html
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.
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.
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 Bishop Willie Walsh, child abuse, child molestation, child rape, child rapists, child sex abuse, clergy abuse, crimes against children, Father Com Desmond, Granada Institute in Dublin, pedophile priests, priest abuse, priest pedophilles, priest rape, priest sex abuse, religion, roman catholic church, Roman Catholic Church Child Rape Scandal, Roman Catholic Church Child Sex Abuse, Roman Catholic Church Child Sex Abuse Scandal, Roman Catholic Church Pedophile Cover up Scandal, Roman Catholic Church Pedophile Coverup Scandal, Roman Catholic Church Pedophile Scandal, Roman Catholic Church Pedophiles, Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse Coverups, Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, roman catholic church sex scandal, roman catholic clergy, roman catholics. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.