COMMISSION OF INVESTIGATION -- REPORT INTO THE CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBLIN
Chapter 46 Fr Aquila*114
46.1 Fr Aquila is a member of a religious order since the 1950s. As a brother in the order, he served in a school. He was ordained as a priest of the order in the 1960s. He served abroad for a number of years and was a chaplain in the Archdiocese of Dublin for some time. He is now retired from public ministry. He lives in another diocese where he has faculties to say mass but, at his own choice, does not have any appointment. He remains a member of the order but has no real involvement with it.
46.2 The Commission is aware of a total of three complaints alleging sexual abuse against Fr Aquila. All of the complaints related to his service in the school when he was not yet a priest.
46.3 The first complaint of abuse was made by a former student at the school to the Gardaí in February 2000 and involved an allegation of physical and sexual assault in the school in the 1960s. The allegation was that he had strapped a boy on his bare buttocks and subsequently applied ointment on the boy‟s buttocks on the premise of alleviation of the damage caused by the beating. During the course of the application of the ointment, he is alleged to have touched the boy‟s genitals. The priest admitted to strapping boys on bare buttocks while at the school and that he would have applied medication in such circumstances. He denied ever touching genitalia and regarded any discipline he meted out as in accordance with the “norms of the times”. He denied any sexual attraction to, or fantasies about, children. A Garda file was sent to the DPP who directed no prosecution in September 2000.
46.4 The Dublin Archdiocese learned of the complaint from the Gardaí in February 2000. Fr Aquila was immediately requested by the superior of his order to step aside from his position as chaplain. Fr Aquila was referred to the Granada Institute for assessment and a report was issued in September 2000. This report judged him to be well adjusted, having a strong network of support, no deviant sexual fantasies and to be a conscientious and hard-working person. As the psychologist determined that there was no evidence that Fr Aquila presented a risk to children, it was recommended that he be allowed to return to his ministry. Archbishop Connell confirmed that he was permitted to return as chaplain in September 2000, having checked with the chancellor, Monsignor Dolan, that there were no other known concerns about him.
Two further complaints
46.5 Between June and July 2001, the Archdiocese learned of two further complaints of alleged physical and sexual abuse from two other former students at the school. One of those complainants reported that “to the best of his memory”, he thought his abuser might have been Fr Aquila.
46.6 In August 2002, Archbishop Connell withdrew his nomination of Fr Aquila as a chaplain. Although Fr Aquila was initially going to contest this, he decided to retire in 2003.
46.7 In October 2004, the order‟s advisory panel considered the three complaints against Fr Aquila. While the panel considered the claims believable, it did not make any decision as to whether they did or did not happen.
46.8 It was decided by the panel and the superior of the order that no bar would be put on Fr Aquila as a priest. Over the next few years, Fr Aquila became disillusioned with the Church and his order in particular. He moved to the diocese where he grew up. In July 2006, the advisory panel considered that he was disengaging from the order and that this was a cause for concern. He was living outside of, and had no contact with, his order. The panel members agreed that contact should be made with him and that their concerns be expressed. The advisory panel met again in October 2006 and discussed an impending report due to be received from Granada via Fr Aquila‟s solicitors. There was some puzzlement as to why the report had not been received by the panel – the assessment had been carried out in November 2005. The panel was also unsure if it was the case that Fr Aquila, through his disengagement with the order, did not really want to return to active ministry.
46.9 The Granada assessment, which was carried out in November 2005, was made available to the order in November 2006. It reiterated that Fr Aquila was fit for ministry. The advisory panel recommended that he should be free to exercise public ministry.
46.10 The order applied to the bishop of the diocese where Fr Aquila was living to grant him faculties to say public mass. He did not want any appointment. The order provided the bishop with a full description of his background, of the complaints received and the assessments undertaken. Faculties were granted by the bishop.
The Commission’s assessment
46.11 The order, the Archdiocese and the Gardaí all dealt with this case appropriately. Regrettably, the process of dealing with the complaints seems to have caused great disillusionment to Fr Aquila. His present limited ministry and non-involvement with his order is his choice as it is clear that the order did not sideline him. The Archdiocese was correct in removing him as a chaplain when the complaints were made.
47.1 In August 2001, a priest in the Portmarnock area received a letter from a man who claimed that in 1972, when he was 14 years old, he was abused by Fr Blaise. The abuse allegedly occurred when this priest was a parish priest. The complainant was inquiring about Fr Blaise‟s whereabouts in 2001 but stated that he did not want to take the matter further for fear it would cause stress to his mother.
47.2 The man also complained to the Gardaí in August 2001. The Gardaí made inquiries about Fr Blaise and they established that he had been the parish priest in the relevant area in 1972. However, he had died in 1987. A criminal investigation would not be conducted because he was dead. Nevertheless, the Gardaí told the complainant how to contact the chancellor, Monsignor Dolan, at Archbishop‟s House.
47.3 The matter was referred to the clerical abuse inquiry at the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) in Harcourt Square– see Chapter 5. The complainant at this stage was serving a prison sentence in the UK. The NBCI wrote to the complainant and provided him with a telephone number and an email address. They also informed him that they were currently involved in an investigation of clerical child sex abuse, and had received correspondence in relation to his complaint from the Garda station where he had made the complaint.
47.4 In May 2002, legal proceedings were issued on behalf of the complainant against the Archdiocese. The solicitor who issued the proceedings on behalf of the complainant had considerable difficulty in advancing the case because the complainant was in prison. He was moved to different prisons on a number of occasions during the course of his imprisonment. Eventually, on the application of the Archdiocese, the case was dismissed for want of prosecution. The Gardaí were unable to pursue the matter because the alleged victim did not make a formal statement. The Gardaí informed the church authorities that, to their knowledge, there was no other complaint about Fr Blaise.
The Commission’s assessment
47.5 Once the complainant had launched legal proceedings, the Archdiocese responded properly at all stages. It was clear that the solicitors for the complainant were having difficulties in getting instructions and eventually the case was dropped. No attempt was made to contact the complainant or to arrange to take a statement from him. The archdiocesan view was that it was his prerogative to make direct contact with the Archdiocese or to go through his solicitor; he chose the latter.
47.6 It must also be said that the internal investigation undertaken by the Archdiocese following the issuing of civil proceedings uncovered no suspicion of child sexual abuse on the part of Fr Blaise other than this allegation. All of his fellow priests who were interviewed said they found the allegation unbelievable.
47.7 There is another priest of the same name against whom serious allegations of child sexual abuse have been made in another diocese. This other priest is not of the Archdiocese of Dublin but did supply work in the Archdiocese. The possibility that the offender was in fact that other priest was not explored by any party.
47.8 Even though Fr Blaise had died, the Gardaí did what they could to assist the complainant.
48.1 Fr Benito was born in the 1960s and ordained in the 1980s. He initially worked as a teacher. This ceased because his principal complained, among other things, that the priest was unable to maintain discipline in the classroom, that there was an over-reliance by him on videos and that some of the parents were unhappy with material used in his examination papers. The principal considered that he lacked maturity and was naïve. He was then appointed as a curate in a parish.
48.2 Two complainants, a brother and sister, have made complaints to the Gardaí of child sexual abuse against Fr Benito. The complainants have not made complaints to the Archdiocese. The existence of the complaints was initially brought to the attention of the Archdiocese by the priest himself. Fr Benito is currently in ministry in the Archdiocese.
48.3 The two complaints were made to the Gardaí in September 2001. The young man complained that he had been sexually assaulted by Fr Benito when he was about 15 years old, in or around 1988. The young woman alleged that Fr Benito had sexually abused and raped her when she was a teenager.
48.4 It is clear from Fr Benito‟s own letters that he had got himself into a somewhat tangled relationship with this particular family. He had been friendly with the family from the mid 1980s when the boy was aged about 13 and his sister about 15. By 2001, this family, and particularly the sister, were involved in complex relationships and the priest was heavily involved in advising them. Very long letters were being written making allegations against various people. Some of these allegations related to current child sexual abuse, but these were not being made against Fr Benito.
48.5 In August 2001, Archbishop Connell received an anonymous letter complaining about Fr Benito. This letter was connected to the tangled relationship of the priest with the family but this was not known to Archbishop Connell at that stage. The complaint made did not concern child sexual abuse. The matter was referred to Bishop Raymond Field who was requested to ascertain the priest‟s views.
48.6 It appears, despite the absence of confirming documentation, that Bishop Field contacted Fr Benito promptly. At or about the same time the priest wrote a long letter to his psychiatrist detailing his associations with this family.
48.7 Fr Benito had been attending a psychiatrist for many years because he suffered from depression. The priest told the psychiatrist that, when the boy in question was aged about 15, in or around 1988, the boy used to visit the priest‟s house and stay overnight.
48.8 Fr Benito described how he decided one night in November 1988 to play a prank on the boy. After the boy had gone asleep, Fr Benito dressed in a blanket and a mask and frightened him. The boy became hysterical and Fr Benito tried to calm him down by hugging him. The boy suddenly kissed the priest. The priest saw that the boy was aroused so, in order to defuse the situation, the priest “flicked at his erection in a mocking fashion”. The priest said that the incident “completely freaked” him out and he “stepped back” from the boy although they remained good friends.
48.9 In this letter to the psychiatrist, Fr Benito also described his relationship with the sister. He said she was now making false allegations against him because she believed that he (the priest) was making allegations against her brother. Fr Benito said that, in the late 1980s, the sister openly expressed how much she liked him and she wanted to have a physical relationship with him. He said he was flattered by her attention and he had an eight month affair with her in the late 1980s. He said he felt very guilty about this relationship in which he claimed he was manipulated by her.
48.10 It is clear from other documentation that Fr Benito was still in contact with the woman in the late 1990s. In March 2001, he wrote to her of his abhorrence when he learned that she had been sexually harassed and raped by another priest. In that letter, he gave her advice on how to handle the matter with the Gardaí and the diocesan representative. At some stage, allegations started to be made that Fr Benito was responsible for circulating allegations against the brother and other people connected to the woman.
48.11 In October 2001, Fr Benito wrote to Bishop Field telling him that he had heard that false allegations were being made against him and that he was the subject of a Garda investigation.
48.12 During this period the priest also wrote detailed letters to the Gardaí about the background to his relationship with the family.
48.13 In November 2001, the sister made a second statement to the Gardaí in which she insisted that Fr Benito raped her when she was 15 years old.
48.14 In December 2001, Fr Benito was interviewed by the Gardaí and in January 2002, he made a formal statement. The statement accords with the description he had given to his psychiatrist. He said his sexual relationship with the woman took place when she was 19 years old.
48.15 In February 2002, the priest wrote to Bishop Field to say that the Gardaí had expressed a view that he had nothing to worry about, that they knew there was no truth in the woman‟s allegations but that procedures had to be followed and so the matter was being referred to the DPP.
48.16 In March 2002, the priest made a statement to the Gardaí in respect of the incident with the young man.
48.17 In April 2002 Bishop Field went to see the investigating garda superintendent. The superintendent confirmed that Fr Benito did have a sexual relationship with the girl when she was 17 years old (the priest had claimed it was when she was 19) but the allegation by the brother was the more serious one. This was the first time Bishop Field became aware that there might be a child sexual abuse issue and he reported the matter to the chancellor, Monsignor Dolan.
48.18 The superintendent sent the file to the DPP in April 2002. He expressed the view that, having examined all of the circumstances of the case and in particular the veracity of the allegations and the motivation for them, he was concerned about basing a prosecution of Fr Benito on the allegations. There is no evidence that the Gardaí notified the health board of any child abuse concerns.
48.19 When Bishop Field reported the matter to Monsignor Dolan in April 2002, Fr Benito was immediately released from his parish duties by Archbishop Connell. The Archbishop met Bishop Field and Monsignor Dolan. A support system was put in place and the matter was reported to the health board.
48.20 The matter was referred to the advisory panel. The panel recommended that:
Fr Benito be fully assessed by the appropriate professionals;
a Canonical Precept be imposed on him;
in the event that he was released from hospital, he should be strictly monitored to ensure that he had no opportunity for unsupervised contact with minors (there is nothing in the files to show that he was in hospital at this time).
48.21 The panel indicated its concern about the delay between the first notification of a child sexual abuse problem to the area bishop in October 2001 and its being brought to the Archbishop‟s attention in April 2002. It transpired that the panel had been wrongly informed. Bishop Field has told the Commission that he was not aware of the panel‟s criticism of him until he saw a draft of this report. Bishop Field pointed out that the panel had been wrongly informed that Fr Benito had admitted sexual abuse of two people under the age of 18 to him, the bishop. Bishop Field believed that the allegations, which were reported to him by Fr Benito in October 2001, and not by the alleged victims, related to adults. He discovered that the allegations related to minors only when he went to speak to the Gardaí in April 2002 and he then reported the matter to the Archbishop. The Commission finds it extraordinary that the panel‟s criticism was not communicated to him at the time. Yet again, this provides evidence of very poor communications within the Archdiocese.
48.22 In May 2002, Archbishop Connell issued a precept which directed that for two years, Fr Benito must:
have no unsupervised involvement with minors;
not make himself available for the celebration of public mass and the sacraments;
avoid all direct contact with those who had made the allegations;
not wear clerical garb;
attend the Granada Institute for assessment;
remain in contact with his priest adviser.
48.23 The priest in the parish where he was living was to be informed of this precept.
48.24 In October 2002 the DPP decided not to prosecute. The Granada Institute issued a report which concluded that Fr Benito was sexually attracted to adult women, that there was no evidence of a sexual or erotic interest in children and that he did not present a risk of sexual abuse to anyone. However, the report recommended that, to ensure his future emotional well-being and ability to maintain appropriate boundaries, he should continue to receive psychiatric support. The report further recommended that, in the event that he be returned to ministry, Fr Benito should be required to avoid any informal relationship and friendships with young people and that he be supervised by an experienced priest for at least two years.
48.25 After a further meeting, the advisory panel signed off on the case as Fr Benito did not appear to be within its terms of reference – the evidence did not support any incidence of child sexual abuse. The panel‟s views were subsequently sought on what type of ministry would be appropriate for him. In May 2003, the panel recommended that the precept be lifted to the extent of allowing him to wear religious garb and to celebrate mass. The panel recommended getting advice from his psychiatrist and adherence to the guidelines previously issued by the Granada Institute. The precept was lifted in June 2003.
48.26 In November 2003, the Child Protection Service of the Archdiocese advised that the recommendations of the Granada Institute be implemented without further delay and that Fr Benito:
continue to have psychiatric support;
be required to avoid any informal relationships and friendships with young people;
have two years supervision by an experienced priest;
have a priest support person appointed.
48.27 In December 2003, Cardinal Connell and Fr Benito signed an agreement putting these recommendations into effect. Support people and supervisors were named and regular meetings were agreed. Fr Benito was appointed to a parish.
48.28 In May 2004 it was brought to Archbishop Martin‟s attention that there was no indication on the file to show if the recommendations made by the Child Protection Service had been implemented. Archbishop Martin made inquiries and established that Fr Benito was seeing the psychiatrist but there was not full compliance with the agreement. The Director of the Child Protection Service, Philip Garland, concluded that there was a need to renegotiate the review mechanism. He also expressed the view that the proposed appointment of Fr Benito as chairman of the board of management of a school was unwise. In January 2005, the advisory panel advised that they would not recommend this appointment. Archbishop Martin asked Mr Garland to undertake the interim supervisory management of Fr Benito and in February 2005 the terms of this supervisory role were agreed. Mr Garland identified deficiencies in the behavioural contract and Archbishop Martin agreed with his recommendations that it would have to be much clearer, include a supervisory framework and time scales and be signed off by the Archbishop. The behavioural contract was agreed for the period March 2005 to March 2007.
48.29 In September 2005, Mr Garland recorded that when he met the other priests in the parish to which Fr Benito had been allocated, they told him that they were not aware that there were concerns or allegations in respect of Fr Benito. Again Bishop Field was not aware until he saw a draft of this report that the priests told Mr Garland this in 2005. Bishop Field told the Commission that he had contacted the priests in the parish before this priest‟s appointment. There is documentary evidence that he did this. Bishop Field told the Commission that he explained this priest‟s history to the two priests concerned. The parish priest told the Commission that Bishop Field explained to him that Fr Benito had had “an involvement with a lady, I presumed a fairly young lady”. The parish priest could not recall whether or not he was told that there had been a garda or Granada Institute involvement with the priest but he did know that Fr Benito was “required to see certain people at certain times and there were meetings that he was required to attend and that these were to be accommodated within his appointment”. The parish priest did not say that he was specifically asked to monitor Fr Benito but he did say that, as a result of his initial conversation with Bishop Field his “antennae were out at all times for any suggestions or any anxieties in relation to [Fr Benito‟s] relationships in the parish”. He considered that Fr Benito had a limited appointment in the parish and he could not appoint him to any of the schools in the parish without consulting Bishop Field. He did consult Bishop Field in this regard and the bishop advised against such an appointment. The parish priest said that, when he met Mr Garland in 2005, the information provided by Mr Garland “expanded somewhat upon my existing awareness but did not fundamentally alter my understanding of the need for vigilance in regard to the manner in which [Fr Benito] was exercising his ministry”.
The Commission’s assessment
48.30 Archbishop Connell dealt properly with the matter once he was informed. Subsequent dealings were all appropriate but the Commission is concerned about the confusion which surrounds the level of information given to the other priests in the parish to which Fr Benito was assigned in December 2003. It is clear that Bishop Field did give the parish priest some information but it was certainly not complete or sufficiently specific. For example, the parish priest was not told that there were concerns about Fr Benito‟s relationship with a boy and he was not told the age of the girl involved. The parish priest was clear that he had to exercise vigilance and he did so. In the Commission‟s view, the parish priest should have been given a more detailed briefing, in particular in a case where there were concerns about both boys and girls. The Commission is also concerned about the failure to inform Bishop Field about the advisory panel‟s perception that he had delayed in reporting a complaint of child sexual abuse. It also seems strange that he was not told about the 2005 meeting during which Mr Garland formed the view that the priests of the parish had not been given basic information when Fr Benito was appointed there. The Commission is very concerned that breakdowns in internal archdiocesan communication may still have been occurring in 2005.
48.31 The Commission notes that the Child Protection Service operated particularly well in this case in identifying and rectifying the implementation failures.
48.32 The Gardaí dealt appropriately with the case.
49.1 There are complaints about inappropriate behaviour by Fr Magnus with vulnerable young adults while he was on the Dublin diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes. The complaints arose in the 2000s. It was claimed that he engaged in a 15-minute hug with a young adult (age unknown). This was witnessed by a number of pilgrims. Other priests on the pilgrimage were shocked and upset at what they regarded as “inappropriate behaviour”. The priest who reported the matter to the Archdiocese said it “had to be put into a wider context of homosexual innuendo among some on the pilgrimage”.
49.2 There was also a complaint that Fr Magnus attempted to chat up another young man (age unknown) in a bar. That young man wrote a letter of complaint to the Archdiocese.
49.3 Cardinal Connell referred Fr Magnus to a psychologist. Fr Magnus readily admitted to the psychologist that there had been an error of judgment by him regarding boundaries with vulnerable young adults. Some of the young people on the trip had intellectual disabilities and emotional problems. Fr Magnus often offered his services as a psychotherapist to vulnerable young adults.
49.4 The psychologist was keen that there would be a further assessment to avoid Fr Magnus being a risk to other vulnerable people. In her final assessment, this psychologist recommended that “he would be better placed in a developed/ more mature settled parish community - one that excludes the possibility of serving as chaplain to a secondary boy‟s school”.
49.5 During the course of the Commission‟s work a young adult told the Commission that he had had a relationship with Fr Magnus which started in 1978 and continued until 2003. This person was 18 years old at the start of the relationship.
The Commission’s assessment
49.6 There is no complaint of child sexual abuse against Fr Magnus known to the Commission. There are concerns about his behaviour with vulnerable young adults. The Archdiocese is clearly concerned about this behaviour. However, there is no evidence of criminal behaviour.
49.7 The Commission considers that those with whom Fr Magnus had contact through his work should have been notified in regard to his behaviour with vulnerable young adults.
50.1 Fr Jacobus was a member of a religious order. He was born in 1916, ordained in 1944 and he died in 2006. He was attached to the Archdiocese of Dublin from 1970 to 1983. There is one complaint of child sexual abuse against him. His order arranged an independent investigation of this complaint and it was concluded that the complaint did not have substance.
50.2 The complaint was made in April 2002 by a man who alleged he had been sexually abused two or three times a week in the sacristy of a parish church in which Fr Jacobus served. The abuse was stated to have occurred in the period 1972-1975 when he was an altar boy aged between nine and 12. He initially complained to a priest in another diocese who reported the complaint to his local bishop. That bishop notified the head of the order and the Archdiocese of Dublin. The documentation seen by the Commission suggests that this complainant was a troubled person who suffered from depression.
50.3 The delegate of the order travelled to meet the complainant. The complainant told him that he was an altar boy at early morning mass three or four times a week after which Fr Jacobus would make him remove his vestments and “feel him”. He further alleged that on one occasion Fr Jacobus attempted to bugger him but he resisted. The abuse allegedly continued for approximately three years from 1971 to 1974/5. The delegate noted that the complainant was very emotional and upset during the interview and took grave exception to a letter sent by the head of the order in which he used the word “alleged” to describe the abuse. He threatened to go to the media with the letter. The complainant said that he believed he deserved compensation and peace of mind.
50.4 The head of the order then interviewed Fr Jacobus. The priest denied the allegation, saying he was completely innocent and that he had always been very careful with the altar boys. He was told that it was possible he would have to be removed from ministry. Subsequently the delegate of the order met Fr Jacobus. Again Fr Jacobus denied the allegations and forcefully asserted that the whole thing was about money. He said that mass in the church in question was at a different time to that specified by the complainant and that he could not recall there ever being an altar boy at this mass. He asserted that removing him from ministry would effectively mean an end to his career as he was 86 years old. He accepted that Gardaí would have to be informed. Fr Jacobus did, in fact, withdraw from ministry shortly after this meeting.
50.5 Due to the conflicting versions of events that had been offered by the parties, the order decided to establish an investigation team under canon law. The complainant was informed of the priest‟s denial, of the establishment of an investigation team and that the Gardaí were being informed. The complainant agreed to co-operate with the investigation.
50.6 The Gardaí were informed and they interviewed the complainant in June 2002. However, the complainant did not wish to pursue the matter with them.
50.7 An investigation team was appointed by the order in August 2002. It consisted of a social worker and a barrister. The team started its investigation promptly.
50.8 In October 2002, the Archdiocese wrote to the head of the order. The Archdiocese had heard from a local priest about the allegations against Fr Jacobus. (The Archdiocese had in fact been informed earlier and had made it clear to the bishop reporting the allegation that the order was the appropriate body to investigate.) Fr Jacobus himself disclosed to his local priest and to the nuns in a convent where he had been ministering that there was a complaint against him. It appears from the correspondence between the Archdiocese and the order that the Archdiocese was not aware that Fr Jacobus had been ministering in the Archdiocese after his retirement. The head of the order explained to the Archdiocese that Fr Jacobus had taken on a number of part-time ministries in convents, nursing homes and parishes after his retirement but that he had withdrawn from all ministries when the allegations were made. The head of the order also gave the Archdiocese an account of the allegation and the investigation.
50.9 In January 2003, before the investigation team had reported, the complainant confirmed to Fr Jacobus‟s solicitor that he would be withdrawing his allegation. He stated that he had “other people to consider in the matter”. In March 2003, the head of the order told the Archdiocese that the complaint had been withdrawn. The Archdiocese, however, expressed concern that this was merely a qualified retraction and that the complainant could change his position at a later date.
50.10 In February 2003, the investigating team furnished its report on the allegation. It concluded that it could not find any substance to the complaint. The team had interviewed both parties to the allegation, the complainant‟s GP and counsellor, two priests, two altar boys and a sacristan. The team had also been furnished with the statement of another man who had been an altar boy in the early 1970s and a statement from the priest‟s nephew. The statement of the other former altar boy contradicted much of the complainant‟s account of the practices of the altar boys in the parish in question. The investigation team concluded that the complainant‟s description of events was vague and inaccurate and not consistent with that of an adult recalling childhood experiences. He had become defensive and challenging when asked for details and they noted that earlier accounts of the abuse had differed from what he had told the investigating team. Fr Jacobus had been consistent and firm in his denials of the allegations. He was forthcoming regarding details and “nothing in his presentation took from his credibility”.
50.11 The order‟s advisory panel reviewed the report. The panel supported the findings of the team that the complaint was not sustainable. It concluded that Fr Jacobus was to be reinstated and his name restored with those who knew of the allegations. He was to be permitted to return to his previous ministry subject to diocesan authority.
50.12 The order asked the Archdiocese to allow Fr Jacobus to return to ministry. The Archdiocese‟s advisory panel concluded that the Archdiocese could rely on the report of the order‟s investigating team but recommended that the provincial of the order be formally notified that the Archdiocese was so relying. Archbishop Connell approved his return to ministry in July 2003 and he returned to ministry that same month.
50.13 The complainant was informed of the findings of the investigation team by the order in March 2003. In August 2003, the delegate was told by Fr Jacobus that the complainant had been found dead at home.
The Commission’s assessment
50.14 This tragic case was properly and quickly handled by all concerned. The order established an independent investigation team which carried out a thorough investigation and came to reasonable and sustainable conclusions. The communication between the order, the Archdiocese, Fr Jacobus and the bishop of the other diocese was all carried out appropriately. The Archdiocese was correct in drawing the order‟s attention to the qualified nature of the retraction of the complaint. The investigation proceeded notwithstanding this retraction – the Commission considers that this was the correct approach. The Gardaí could not do anything without the co-operation of the complainant.
114 This is a pseudonym.
115 This is a pseudonym.
116 This is a pseudonym.
117 This is a pseudonym.
118 This is a pseudonym.