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Abuse Priest Freed From Jail 26 October 2002

One of the most high-profile Irish Roman Catholic priests to be convicted of child sex abuse was released from prison today at the height of renewed controversy over the issue.

Father Ivan Payne, 59, was freed from the Curragh jail, in Co Kildare, after serving four-and-a-half years of a six-year sentence imposed for 13 sample counts of indecent assault on nine boys between 1968 and 1987.

The remainder of Payne’s jail term was suspended in line with normal practice.

A member of the church’s Regional Marriage Tribunal for almost 20 years until his suspension in 1995, he remains a priest and is in the care of the Dublin Archdiocese, but has no ministry or other appointment.

He will receive an income from the church authorities the equivalent to that of a retired priest. Payne abused patients in a Dublin hospital for sick children while chaplain there, as well as altar boys in the Irish capital’s Cabra and Sutton parishes.

His victims ranged in ages from 11 to 14. It has been estimated that his abuse has cost the Dublin Archdiocese around €400,000 in compensation and legal fees, including the sum of €30,000 euro paid to a man who, in 1994, became the first clerical child sex abuse victim in Ireland to go public.

Archbishop of Dublin Cardinal Desmond Connell has come under intense pressure over the past two weeks following questions raised in a TV programme about his handling of sex abuse allegations against priests.

Yesterday, Dublin’s Rape Crisis Centre reported a big surge in calls to their 24-hour telephone helpline following the programme.

Earlier this week the Irish government said there would be an inquiry into clerical sex abuse and initiated moves to set up a special police unit to investigate priests involved in sex abuse.

Payne Released after 4½ Years in Prison

The Irish Times - Monday, October 28, 2002 by Joe Humphreys

Convicted child abuser Father Ivan Payne was released from jail at the weekend after serving 4½ years of a six-year sentence.

Father Payne (59) will remain a priest in the care of the Dublin archdiocese but he has been barred by the Catholic Church from administering the sacraments.

He was convicted in 1998 after pleading guilty to 13 sample charges of indecently assaulting nine boys on dates from 1968 to 1987.

The offences were committed on patients in Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, while he was chaplain there, and on altar boys in locations in Glasnevin and Sutton. The victims were aged between 11 and 14 at the time.

At his trial, he apologised to his victims, their families and friends, as well as his own family and friends.

Father Payne was a member of the church's Dublin Regional Marriage Tribunal from its inception in 1976 until he was suspended in 1995.

A spokesman for the Dublin archdiocese confirmed last week that Father Payne (59) would be provided with accommodation by the archdiocese and an income equivalent to that of a retired priest.

It is estimated he has cost the archdiocese €400,000 in compensation and legal fees. This includes £30,000 paid to Mr Andrew Madden, who in 1994 became the first clerical child sex abuse victim in Ireland to go public.

This sum had been provided in what the archdiocese described as "a loan" to Father Payne in 1993.