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Bishop May Have to Testify in Court

Irish Times, November 01, 2010 by Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent

THE FORMER bishop of Cloyne Dr John Magee may be called by the State to give evidence in the case of a 74-year-old priest charged with a number of sexual offences against a minor in the diocese.

Bishop Magee, who was papal secretary to Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I and John Paul II, retired as bishop of Cloyne last March, having earlier stepped down from his diocesan duties.

He has since moved from the bishop’s palace in Cobh to live in a house in Mitchelstown.

Bishop Magee (74), may be called by the State to give evidence for the prosecution in the case against a priest of the diocese of Cloyne, Fr Brendan Wrixon.

Fr Wrixon, with an address in Newmarket, Co Cork, appeared at Mallow District Court on October 12th where he was charged with three counts of gross indecency against a teenage boy contrary to Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885.

He was charged with committing an act of gross indecency with the teenager, then aged approximately 16 or 17, at the Convent of Mercy, Bathview, Mallow, on a date unknown between October 16th, 1982, and February 15th, 1983.

He was also charged with two other counts of committing an act of gross indecency with the youth at Ballintlea, Doneraile, on a date between June 16th, 1983 and October 15th, 1983 and at Christ the King Church, Shanballymore on dates between February 16th, 1983 and June 15th, 1983.

Bishop Magee made two statements to gardaí investigating the complaint and both formed part of the file sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions and were later included in a book of evidence served by gardaí on Fr Wrixon.

The priest expressed shock when the charges were put to him by investigating gardaí after he was arrested earlier last month and taken to Mallow Garda station for the purpose of being charged.

“I am shocked by it,” Fr Wrixon replied to the first charge, “Again, I am stunned, shocked by it,” he replied to the second charge and “I am just shocked by it,” he replied to the third charge, Mallow District Court was told.

A book of evidence was served on Fr Wrixon by gardaí prior to the court sitting and Judge Olann Kelleher returned him for trial on the three charges to the next sitting of Cork Circuit Criminal Court commencing on November 8th.