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The Mirror (London, England), 2 February, 1998

A TOP Catholic churchman apologised yesterday for a priest pervert who sexually abused children, including an altar boy.

Archbishop of Dublin Desmond Connell told a silent congregation that he and fellow priests were deeply sorry for the sex crimes of Father Ivan Payne

A clearly embarrassed Dr Connell addressed parishioners in Sutton, County Dublin where some of the victims live - and later chatted with them in the parish hall.

The archbishop spoke at two masses and called for prayers for the victims and their families. He also urged the congregation to pray for Father Payne's elderly mother.

Dr Connell said: "I had been given professional advice that Father Payne was not a threat to children."

He revealed that he sought advice after the 54-year-old clerical abuser admitted to him that he had molested alter boy Andrew Madden

The arch diocese , gave Father Payne a pounds 27,500 loan from church funds to pay compensation.

But the Archbishop insisted: "I was not then aware there were other victims."

Father Payne last week pleaded guilty to eight counts of indecent sexual assault on boys under 15 years of age.

The Circuit Criminal Court was told that the former marriage guidance councillor preyed on children at several Dublin locations.

These included the Hospital For Sick Children, in Crumlin and addresses in Sutton, Drimnagh and Glasnevin.

The abuses began at the hospital in January 1968 and continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

He was remanded on bail to appear for sentencing on April 27. In the meantime a victim impact study report will be made to the court.

After last week's hearing, Andrew Madden, who was 12 when abused, called on other victims to speak out.

He said he was `still feeling the affect of the abuse now' as a grown man. He added that people should speak out against abuse.

He said: "They've nothing to be ashamed of."