Category Archives: Diocese of Killaloe in Clare

Bishop Walsh defends handling of abuse case

Bishop Walsh defends handling of abuse case

Thursday 04 January 2007 22.39

From the link:

Bishop Willie Walsh

Bishop Willie Walsh

The Bishop of Killaloe, Willie Walsh, has defended his handling of a case involving one of his priests who has been convicted of sexual abuse offences.

Bishop Walsh has told RTÉ News that he would not claim to have never made any mistake in his dealings with child sexual abuse issues – but that in one particular, controversial case, the Bishop of Killaloe said he had done nothing wrong.

But the support group, One in Four, has said this evening’s revelations by RTÉ raise real concerns that Bishop Walsh needs to address.

Last month Con Desmond, a priest attached to the Diocese of Killaloe in Clare, was given a three-year suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a ten-year-old boy a number of times in the early 1980s.

The offences occurred when he was Principal of the De La Salle boys’ primary school on Stephen Street in Waterford city.

Brother Desmond went on to become a priest and in 1990 was sent to the parish of Kilmaley in Clare.

The complaints against Fr Desmond by his victim in Waterford were not made until 2002.

Bishop Walsh told gardaí that in 1995, Fr Desmond came to him and told him that he felt under pressure due to the continued publicity in the media regarding child sexual abuse matters.

He said he was worried about something that had happened a few years back while he was teaching as a De La Salle brother.

Bishop Walsh said he told Fr Desmond that if he said anything in relation to sexual abuse, he would not be able to treat the matter as confidential.

Bishop Walsh told gardaí in Clonmel in 2003 that he insisted Fr Desmond see a psychiatrist, who carried out an assessment and reported verbally to him that he was satisfied Fr Desmond did not constitute any danger to children.

Bishop Walsh went on to tell gardaí that ‘in his initial conversation with Fr Desmond, he did not divulge anything or any information in regard to sexual abuse of children other than saying he felt under stress in regard to media publicity in this area, and that in the light of the positive psychiatric report and the fact that he had no complaint against him, he did not remove Fr Desmond from ministry’.

Bishop Walsh promoted Fr Desmond in 2001, making him parish priest in Killimer.

A year later, the Waterford man made his complaints and Fr Desmond was suspended from clerical duties.

In a statement to RTÉ this evening, Bishop Walsh said he had no knowledge that Fr Desmond had abused any child prior to, or after, his becoming a priest in the diocese until he was informed by the gardaí that a complaint had been made in October 2002.

Immediately on hearing of the complaint, he asked Fr Desmond to stand aside from his public ministry pending an investigation.

Bishop Walsh also stated he was satisfied that his handling of the case was correct.