12 May 2016, The Tablet

Order failed to act against priest who abused 100 children

Salvatorian order tell abuse commission it was 'completely inadequate' and issued 'deepest apology' to victims

A Salvatorian priest who abused up to 100 children was shielded by his superiors for two years after a relative told them he had molested her as a child. The priest was allowed to travel to Rome and serve as a hospital chaplain and later to travel to Australia after the Salvatorian Provincial received the complaint.

The case features in the final tranche of audits of 30 religious orders by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI). The report states that the man, known as Priest A, was allowed to act “with impunity” between 2002 and 2004 without any restrictions on his access to children by his religious order, which concealed his behaviour from the then Archbishop of Dublin and the state authorities.

He was convicted of abuse offences spanning a 25-year period in 2007 and died in 2009.

NBSCCCI chief executive Teresa Devlin stressed that at least 90 more victims have yet to receive any support or counselling from the Salvadorian order, in addition to the nine whom the order is aware of. Ms Devlin was critical of the Salvadorians’ “lack of shock or shame at the abuse perpetrated by this man” who targeted girls between the ages of six and nine.

The order later issued a statement expressing its “deepest apology” to the priest’s victims and urging any who had not come forward to do so. It acknowledged that the Provincial Superior’s response at the time was “completely inadequate and that it was a clear failure of the duty of our order to protect children”.

One of the key findings of the NBSCCCI’s reviews was that a small number of new orders that are developing ministry in Ireland need to increase their awareness of child safeguarding.

The audits dealt with 288 allegations against 90 priests, brothers or sisters which resulted in “just” 10 criminal convictions. The allegations relate to the period between 1950 and 2002 with one incident as recent as 2013.

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