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Gardaí to Resubmit Altar Boy Abuse File

The Irish Times - March 26, 2010 by BARRY ROCHE Southern Correspondent

CLOYNE: GARDAÍ ARE to resubmit a file to the DPP after re-interviewing an elderly priest in the Diocese of Cloyne concerning a complaint he sexually assaulted another priest when the younger man was an altar boy more than 20 years ago.

Detectives met the elderly priest earlier this week and interviewed him at length after they obtained further information from diocesan files which had been handed over by Bishop John Magee to the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCC).

The priest, identified as Fr A in the report prepared by Ian Elliot, chief executive of the NBSCC, had previously been interviewed by gardaí in 2006 and a file had been sent to the DPP but the DPP had directed there be no prosecution.

However, on foot of a complaint from a retired schoolteacher that Bishop Magee had withheld information from gardaí when the diocese first reported the matter in 2005, gardaí examined a file on the matter given by the diocese to Mr Elliott for his inquiry.

Now on foot of examination of that file which included information not seen by officers, detectives met the elderly priest this week and interviewed him again about the complaint that he sexually assaulted the young altar boy in the mid-1980s.

The new information together with the memorandum of the new interview with Fr A will now be added to the Garda file on the case which will be resubmitted in the coming months to the DPP.

Meanwhile a file is also being assessed in relation to another priest in the Cloyne diocese, identified by Mr Elliott in his report as Fr B, a priest in his 70s, who has previously been accused by six women of sexually assaulting them while young girls.

All six files were submitted separately and the DPP has directed in each case that no prosecution be brought. But he is now considering a seventh case which relates to a complaint against the priest that he sexually abused a young girl over 25 years ago.

Two further files are also being considered separately in relation to another priest from the Cloyne diocese who stood down from his ministry last year after two women made two separate complaints to gardaí that they had been assaulted by him when aged just 13 in the early 1980s.

The priest, who is in his 50s, agreed to take administrative leave from his parish duties in May 2009 pending the investigation by gardaí, whom he met by appointment in September 2009 when they interviewed him for several hours about the allegations.

Meanwhile, gardaí have also started an investigation after a woman alleged she was sexually assaulted by another priest in the Cloyne diocese in 2000, when she was aged 20. The man, who is now in his late 40s, has since left the priesthood, The Irish Times understands.