COMMISSION OF INVESTIGATION -- REPORT INTO THE CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBLIN
Chapter 51 Fr Guido*119
51.1 There are no allegations of child sexual abuse against Fr Guido but there were suspicions and concerns. Fr Guido was ordained in the 1990s and took up a parish appointment immediately. In 2002 and 2003, Bishop Martin Drennan heard reports that Fr Guido was indulging in inappropriate behaviour which gave rise to concern. He had been seen taking photographs of male teenagers (mostly rugby players). He was then offering these photographs to the players and had been seen in the dormitory of a boarding school late one night. He had been inviting young people to his house for meals and collecting teenagers from pubs late at night. He had also taken young people to Lourdes and joined them for drinking parties. He had refused to make changes to the drinking regime on the Lourdes pilgrimage. When he was invited to boys‟ schools for penance services he started exchanging telephone numbers with some of the boys and some of the school staff expressed concern.
51.2 Bishop Drennan recommended that he attend at the Granada Institute for treatment, but he adopted delaying tactics and the Granada Institute then declined to take him because of his resistance. In May 2003, he was sent for an initial assessment to a consultant psychologist. During that assessment he admitted that he was homosexual. He acknowledged that he might be in the process of developing a problem related to young men. The psychologist recommended a comprehensive risk assessment to establish the extent of his problematic behaviour. He recommended that Fr Guido not have any contact with children or young people until the assessment had been completed and that he go abroad for treatment.
51.3 Fr Guido was asked to step aside from his curacy pending the outcome of the report.
51.4 Fr Guido went to a therapeutic facility abroad for assessment. In its report the clinic stated that Fr Guido did not appear to be at high risk of violating sexual boundaries with young people. However, his risk of violating emotional boundaries, that is, of growing too close and showing poor judgment in his actions was significant and had been demonstrated in his behaviour already. Consequently, in their view, some action needed to be taken to address his self awareness sexually and emotionally and to alter his awareness of appropriate boundaries. The clinic confirmed that he had homosexual leanings. It was recommended that, although he did not necessarily need to be prevented from working with youths and young adults, it would be prudent to develop a different focus for his ministry. The report recommended a residential programme of treatment.
51.5 Following receipt of the report, it was agreed that Fr Guido would have a spiritual advisor and would continue to get professional help. It is not clear from the documentation furnished to the Commission whether he, in fact, embarked upon the course of residential treatment which had been recommended. It seems that he returned to Dublin and recommenced his role as curate. He also continued his involvement in the Dublin Diocesan pilgrimage.
51.6 In October 2003, he recommenced his inappropriate behaviour. On the Dublin Diocesan pilgrimage he spent an inordinate amount of time taking photographs of the boys and arranging to meet them at night. In his conversations with the boys he talked about his loneliness and he asked for email addresses. None of the boys made a complaint but they stated that his behaviour was “fishy”.
51.7 He was immediately suspended from all duties and was admitted to Stroud. At the time there were eight places on the residential course for child abusers and the majority of these places were taken by Irish priests.
51.8 In December 2003, the Gardaí were notified about the Church‟s concerns. In March 2004, the Gardaí reported that they were satisfied from their inquiries that there was no evidence of criminal activity in this case.
51.9 The health board was also informed in December 2003. In January 2004, the health board reported that it would not be pursuing an investigation as there had not been any child abuse allegations made against Fr Guido.
51.10 Fr Guido spent nine months in Stroud. He admitted that he had a homosexual orientation which manifested itself in an attraction to fit young men. The Archdiocese was obviously concerned as to how this might affect his future in the priesthood. It was suggested that upon his return to Dublin he would have a part-time ministry which would involve no contact with young people. Stroud recommended that he have a limited parochial appointment as parish chaplain, continue with therapy and spiritual direction, pursue a course of study related to his ministry and have a priest advisor. It made a further series of recommendations all of which were put in place by the Archdiocese.
51.11 When he returned to Dublin, the Archdiocese considered that a course in pastoral leadership would be suitable for him at that time and decided that he could live in a presbytery in the city centre. He was sent on a master‟s course in pastoral leadership.
51.12 The Archdiocese attempted to place him in a parish but there was considerable difficulty in finding someone prepared to take him when the circumstances were explained. In January 2005 he was sent for a further assessment to the psychologist who had assessed him in May 2003. The psychologist said that, where somebody had expressed a sexual interest in children and had gone so far as to photograph young people, the Archdiocese should make a decision in principle as to whether such a person could be permitted to function in the ministry. The report, while obviously leaving the decision open to the Archdiocese, left no doubt as to its recommendation that Fr Guido should not continue in ministry. Stroud did not agree with this. They believed that he had responded well to the therapy and could be returned to full ministry.
51.13 Finally, the Archdiocese sought advice from a psychiatrist in Dublin. He stated that Fr Guido had undergone a very careful and detailed assessment and treatment process. While he had shown a high motivation in his participation in the treatment programme, even with ongoing treatment and support no professional could guarantee that he might not at some point engage in further inappropriate behaviour towards adolescent boys. The psychiatrist recommended that he should not be returned to ministry but rather that he be helped with ongoing support and therapy to resign and find a new direction in his life. In June 2005, Archbishop Martin told Fr Guido that there was no limited ministry that he could give him that would meet the supervision requirements. There were therefore only two options open to him, namely, to apply for laicisation or to retire as a priest with no public ministry. He chose to be laicised. He has commenced another career. The Archdiocese spent a substantial amount of money on treatment and on helping him to establish a new career.
The Commission’s assessment
51.14 The Archdiocese acted correctly in immediately addressing the concerns and suspicions in this case. It did everything possible to assist Fr Guido to address the issues of concern and, when it was clear that a limited ministry was not possible, it helped him to get started on another career.
52.1 The case of Fr Rufus is illustrative of the difficulties that can arise when a complaint is received after the alleged abuser has died.
52.2 It is also illustrative of the fact that a victim or victims can suppress abuse for many many years and of how an event, in this case the public announcement by a complainant that he had settled his case against Fr Naughton (see Chapter 29), can reactivate past memories.
52.3 Fr Rufus was born in 1898 and died in 1974. The complaints against him refer to a period in the 1950s when he was a curate in Harold‟s Cross and also to a period when he was parish priest in High Street and Arran Quay in Dublin city centre. There are three complaints against him; all three complainants alleged that other people were also abused.
First complaint, 2002
52.4 The first complaint about Fr Rufus came from a woman who was born in 1944. She informed Gardaí in 2002 that she and her four sisters had been sexually abused by the priest in the 1950s. Her abuse consisted of digital penetration. It continued for three years from age six to nine years. It occurred while he was based in Harold‟s Cross and took place in her own home.
52.5 The complainant asked the Gardaí to check whether or not Fr Rufus was still alive. On being assured that he had died in 1974, she declined to give a statement to the Gardaí. She said that her only motivation in reporting was to ensure that he could not abuse other children.
52.6 This complainant did not contact the Archdiocese at this stage.
Second complaint, 2003
52.7 The next complaint came in February 2003, again from a woman who was born in 1944. It also related to Fr Rufus‟s time in Harold‟s Cross. She contacted the Archdiocese and a full statement was taken from her by the delegate, Fr Cyril Mangan. This complainant stated that Fr Rufus was a family friend and a frequent visitor to her family home. The abuse began when she was seven years old and continued until she was 12 years old. On her first visit to his house she was accompanied by a group of girls. One of the girls said that they all had to huddle together at the door when they were leaving the house. In her statement to the Gardaí she explained that this was because the priest would always molest the last one out.
52.8 The complainant alleged that, in addition to putting his hand up her dress and down her pants, Fr Rufus had also anally raped her in the hallway of his house. She alleged that this happened on a number of occasions. She alleged that Fr Rufus would tell her that she was a special girl and that this was their secret. He warned her that her father would be in trouble if she told anybody. She tried to tell a priest in confession about it, but he refused to give her absolution. This priest was also dead at this stage. The abuse stopped when she went to secondary school.
52.9 She did at a later date attempt to confront Fr Rufus when he moved to the High Street parish but she was unable to do so. He was in High Street from 1961 to 1967.
52.10 Fr Mangan followed up the complaint and told the complainant that, in accordance with Church policies on child sexual abuse, he would inform the Gardaí. He did this and he provided the complainant with information on counselling. The complainant also made a statement to the Gardaí.
Third complaint, 2003
52.11 In February 2003, the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation received a telephone call on their hotline from a male alleging that he had been abused by Fr Rufus in the years 1963 - 1966 when the priest was attached to High Street parish. The complainant said he was aged between seven and ten at the time and indicated that he wished to make a formal statement.
52.12 Even though there was no prospect of a prosecution, the complainant was interviewed two weeks later by the Gardaí at his home. He informed the Gardaí that he became an altar boy when he was about seven years old and that Fr Rufus was the parish priest of High Street at the time. He ceased to be an altar boy when he began secondary school.
52.13 He claimed he was frequently abused by Fr Rufus during his time as an altar boy and that the incidents of abuse occurred in a little room for the altar boys in the sacristy. He claimed the abuse consisted of touching his penis and fondling him. He did not wish to go into more detail, but he explained that the media hype around clerical sexual abuse was having an effect on him. He also claimed that not alone was he abused, but that three of his brothers were also abused. Neither this complainant nor his brothers reported the abuse at the time. He said he had contacted the health board about six months previously and was receiving counselling under its auspices.
52.14 In September 2003, this complainant made a formal complaint to the Archdiocese. His complaint was dealt with by Fr Aquinas Duffy. The complainant inquired whether or not priests who had suspicions in the 1960s would have reported them to the authorities. Fr Duffy explained to him that it would have been highly unlikely at that time that priests would have had any suspicions and it would have been rare for them to bring any suspicions that they might have had to the attention of the authorities. He explained to the complainant that the protection of children was of paramount importance in the procedures that were being followed in 2003.
52.15 Fr Duffy followed up the meeting with the complainant with an offer of help from the Faoiseamh helpline for him and any of his brothers who might require it. Fr Duffy also informed Fr Mangan about this complaint. This was the second formal complaint about Fr Rufus which had been received by the Archdiocese. Frs Duffy and Mangan decided that the complainant from Harold‟s Cross should be informed of the fact that there was a second complaint and this was done (it should be noted that the first complainant from Harold‟s Cross was not known to the Archdiocese at this stage).
The garda response
52.16 As Fr Rufus was dead there was no question of a prosecution. The Gardaí sought the permission of the first complainant who had alleged abuse in Harold‟s Cross, but did not want to pursue the matter, to allow them to inform the Archdiocese about her complaint and this they did.
The archdiocesan response
52.17 The Archdiocese was faced with a real dilemma in this case. On the one hand, it had received two allegations which were credible. On the other hand, the alleged perpetrator was dead for almost 30 years and could not be confronted with the allegations. The secret archives were searched and nothing was found. A comprehensive investigation was carried out among priests who had known Fr Rufus. Inquiries from those who knew Fr Rufus confirmed that he was the priest in Harold‟s Cross at the time of the allegations and also that he was the parish priest in High Street at the time of the young man‟s allegations. It was also confirmed by those who knew Fr Rufus that he had “a great relationship” with children and that, while he was in Harold‟s Cross, children were in and out of his house all the time.
52.18 He was regarded as a kind priest by those who knew him and, on being elevated to parish priest, was very caring of his curates. One priest did confirm that the priest who had heard the complaint about Fr Rufus in the confessional was quite likely to behave in the manner described.
52.19 There were a number of meetings between the second complainant and the Child Protection Service of the Archdiocese (CPS). In 2004, she alleged that a Garda had told her that there were other complainants. The Director of the CPS wrote to the Gardaí inquiring about this. The Gardaí, having established that the complainants had no objection to their names being given to the Archdiocese, told the CPS that there were two other complainants – the first Harold‟s Cross complainant and the High Street complainant. Until this the Archdiocese had not been aware of the first Harold‟s Cross complaint.
52.20 The Archdiocese made contact with the first complainant from Harold‟s Cross and encouraged her and her sisters to seek counselling if they so required.
52.21 The second Harold‟s Cross complainant and the High Street complainant issued civil proceedings against the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese was puzzled as to how it could be civilly liable in relation to complaints that were surfacing many years after the death of the alleged perpetrator and where it had no notice of any suspicions about the priest in question during his life.
52.22 In the end, it was agreed that the claims would go to mediation. They were settled in 2005/2006 by the Archdiocese without any admission of liability.
The Commission’s assessment
52.23 The Archdiocese dealt with these complaints properly. The procedures were all followed and there was good communication within the Archdiocese and between the Archdiocese and the Gardaí. These complaints were made around the time that the Child Protection Service was being set up. The follow-up with the complainants was good.
52.24 As the priest was dead, there was nothing further the Archdiocese or the Gardaí could do.
53.1 Fr Ignatio is a member of a religious order. He was born in 1914 and ordained in 1941. He spent most of his working life in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
53.2 There is one complaint against Fr Ignatio. He was almost 90 years old when the complaint was made.
53.3 In 2002, a young man went to a member of the order who was working in the Archdiocese of Dublin at the time to plan his wedding. The young man told this priest that his mother had been abused by a member of the same religious order 40 years earlier when she was about 13. His mother had recently complained to the local parish priest who had independently contacted the delegate for the order.
53.4 The priest to whom the young man spoke tried to establish the identity of the alleged abuser and concluded that it was a member of his order but he could not identify him. This priest met the woman and apologised to her. He and the delegate from the order then met her and her husband. She told them that the abuse had occurred when she was bringing some goods to the order‟s house. She had suffered psychiatric problems all her life and was very distressed at the meeting. She had only recently told her family what had happened. She did not know the alleged abuser‟s name but was able to give a limited physical description. The delegate had no doubt about her truthfulness. The order arranged counselling for her and her husband. It seems the delegate met the complainant and her husband again in their home. No significant further information emerged from that meeting.
53.5 The order‟s advisory panel met to consider the case in September 2002. The group considered the possibility that this was a case of „False Recovered Memory Syndrome‟ – in effect, they wondered did the abuse as described ever happen or was the abuse caused by somebody else. It was agreed that the delegate would remain in contact with the complainant and would discuss the matter with her again after she had some counselling.
53.6 Some weeks later, the complainant wrote to the delegate saying she was very disappointed and hurt that he had not contacted her as he had promised to do this after a couple of sessions with the counsellor. She felt that the delegate did not believe her. It should be noted that it is clear to the Commission that, in all his dealings with this case, the delegate did believe that she was abused; he was having difficulty establishing who the abuser might be. At this stage the complainant had not named her alleged abuser.
53.7 The order reported the matter to the Gardaí in December 2002. The woman made a complaint to the Gardaí in January 2003. She alleged she was raped by the priest on the Thursday of Halloween week 1962 when she was delivering goods to the order‟s house and she tentatively identified the priest as Fr Ignatio. She gave a physical description of him. She gave a very detailed description of how she came to be delivering goods to the order‟s house. This description is clearly credible and fits with the activities which were carried out in that particular house. In April 2003, she made a further statement to the Gardaí in which she positively identified the priest as Fr Ignatio. She claimed it was he because she had recently attended his sister‟s funeral and recognised his voice. After the funeral, she saw him and recognised him. She also saw his picture in the order publication.
53.8 The order informed Fr Ignatio of the complaint. He strenuously denied ever having been involved in “anything inappropriate with man, woman or child”.
53.9 Fr Ignatio was interviewed by the Gardaí. He was accompanied by his solicitor. He had no recollection of the woman‟s name or her family. The Gardaí outlined the allegation to him. On his solicitor‟s advice, he declined to answer many of the questions. A short time later, he swore and signed a statement stating that the allegations against him were entirely false.
53.10 Having investigated this complaint, the order took the view that this was a case of mistaken identity. The order believed the complainant was abused but not by Fr Ignatio.
53.11 The priest to whom the son had originally spoken met the woman many times and provided considerable pastoral support to her. That priest officiated at the son‟s wedding.
53.12 The Gardaí, having investigated the complaint, forwarded the file to the DPP but the garda inspector did not recommend prosecution because of the identification problems, the lack of corroborative evidence, the age of the suspect and the psychological state of the complainant.
53.13 The DPP decided not to institute charges. As well as the issues identified by the Gardaí, the DPP considered that the delay posed insurmountable difficulties.
The Commission’s assessment
53.14 There can be little doubt that this complainant was abused and it seems probable that she was abused by a member or employee of this religious order. However, it also seems probable that the priest named by her is not the abuser.
53.15 The order dealt well with the complainant. It investigated the complaint as far as possible and came to a reasonable conclusion.
53.16 The Gardaí dealt appropriately with the complaint.
54.1 Fr Cornelius was born in 1913 and ordained in 1937. He held various appointments throughout the Dublin Archdiocese over the following 48 years and eventually became a parish priest. He retired in 1985 on the grounds of ill health. He died in 1994, eight years before the allegations known to the Commission were made against him. The Commission is aware of two allegations of child sexual abuse against him. It is alleged that the abuse occurred in the period 1962 – 1971.
54.2 The first allegation was made to the Gardaí in October 2002 by a woman who alleged that she had been abused by Fr Cornelius on two occasions in 1963. In a detailed statement to the Gardaí, she said that when Fr Cornelius arrived in her parish, he became very friendly with her parents. He frequently called to the house and gave her favourable treatment at the time of her First Communion. He then invited her to his house for tea where on two occasions he sat her on his knee and allegedly sexually assaulted her. The assaults consisted of hugging tightly and kissing on the face and neck. He would also get her to kiss him on the neck.
54.3 This complainant also told the Gardaí that, in 1980, she spoke to a newly ordained priest about Fr Cornelius. She states that she was told by this young priest that Fr Cornelius had been ministering in a parish on the north side of Dublin but had been removed and sent for treatment following complaints by parents in the parish to the bishop. The Commission has no independent evidence of any such complaints against Fr Cornelius, nor is there any evidence that he was sent for treatment. He was ministering in a north side parish at the time. There is no record in the archdiocesan files of a complaint in 1980 nor is there evidence that he was removed from his parish.
54.4 When investigating this complaint in 2002/2003, the Gardaí requested a copy of Fr Cornelius‟s CV from the Archdiocese. This was provided. There is no evidence that the Archdiocese was aware of why this request was made. The Child Protection Service (CPS) of the Archdiocese contacted the Gardaí in July 2004 to find out if there were any allegations against Fr Cornelius. The CPS was told by the Gardaí that the woman had made a complaint but they had concluded that the allegations did not constitute anything criminal. The woman did not want her identity disclosed to any third party nor did she want to be contacted by the Archdiocese.
54.5 The second allegation was made in November 2005 to the Archdiocese by the mother of a woman who had committed suicide in 2004. She alleged that her daughter had been sexually assaulted by Fr Cornelius on several occasions while she was a schoolgirl, around 1971. This allegedly occurred in the same parish as the first allegation. The extent of the alleged abuse is not known to the Commission except for one specific incident of alleged penetration.
54.6 The mother was visited by the Child Protection Service victim support co-ordinator. She was offered counselling but she declined the offer. She told the support co-ordinator of other suspicions about Fr Cornelius in the 1970s. The Archdiocese informed the Gardaí. The woman did not want the Gardaí to contact her. The Gardaí concluded that there would be no investigation as both parties to the allegation were dead. The Archdiocese offered the mother a meeting with Archbishop Martin but this was declined.
The Commission’s assessment
54.7 The Archdiocese and the Gardaí dealt with these allegations appropriately.
55.1 Fr Ricardus was falsely accused of child sexual abuse. He was ordained in the 1960s and has worked in a number of parishes in the Archdiocese. He was a parish priest at the time the allegation was made and he still is.
55.2 The Commission is particularly grateful to Fr Ricardus for giving evidence to it about his experience. The entire experience was extremely difficult and harrowing for him. He graphically described the shock of being informed there was an allegation of child sexual abuse against him, the feeling of alienation and abandonment when he was asked to step aside from ministry, the long wait for the processes to be gone through. He was out of ministry for eight and a half months. He did a course during this time. He also described the helpfulness of his family and colleagues. The Commission commends his courage in agreeing to give evidence but, more importantly, in getting on with his life and putting this experience behind him in so far as is possible.
The allegation, 2003
55.3 The allegation against Fr Ricardus was made in January 2003. A man accused him of sexual assault, buggery and attempted oral rape, which he alleged took place in 1981 during the course of religion lessons in preparation for holy communion.
55.4 The complaint was initially made in a letter to another priest. The complainant alleged that he was abused when he was aged seven by an unnamed priest. This other priest prepared a letter to both the Archdiocese and the Gardaí. The complainant subsequently told him that he did not want to involve the Gardaí at that stage and the letter was consequently not sent to them. The complainant was asked to meet Monsignor Dolan at the Chancellery in order to make a formal complaint. The complainant asked the Archdiocese for payment for counselling fees that he had incurred. He was advised that his case would be referred to the advisory panel and that Fr Ricardus would be requested to step aside from ministry.
55.5 Cardinal Connell met Fr Ricardus who vehemently denied the allegations but agreed to stand down from ministry as requested. A priest advisor was appointed. This priest advisor was very supportive and, indeed, accompanied Fr Ricardus when he gave evidence to the Commission. Fr Ricardus was advised by the Archdiocese to employ his own solicitor; the Archdiocese did pay the costs involved. Monsignor Dolan notified the Gardaí of the complaint and informed the complainant of Fr Ricardus‟s denials and of his agreement to step aside from ministry.
55.6 The advisory panel met and considered that it was not advisable for Fr Ricardus to return to ministry at that time. The Granada Institute carried out an assessment of Fr Ricardus at the instigation of his solicitor. The contents of this assessment were favourable to Fr Ricardus and were passed on to the Archdiocese.
55.7 Monsignor Dolan investigated the facts alleged by the complainant. During this investigation, certain possible inconsistencies were identified by relevant witnesses. Notwithstanding the issues that were being raised during the investigation, Monsignor Dolan arranged for part of the complainant‟s continuing counselling fees to be paid through Faoiseamh in accordance with a recommendation of the advisory panel.
55.8 In April 2003, Monsignor Dolan contacted the Gardaí in order to find out if the complainant had made a formal complaint to them. In fact, the complainant first made a statement of complaint to the Gardaí in June 2003 and his parents made statements in July 2003 which corroborated certain peripheral surrounding facts relevant to the allegation made by their son but not, of course, the direct allegation of abuse. Later in the year, his father withdrew some of those earlier assertions. He admitted that his son had told him what to say as he had no personal recollection of those matters. His mother also later admitted that she had made some errors in her recollection of events.
55.9 When the advisory panel met in August 2003, its view was that Fr Ricardus should not return to ministry until such time at it was clear that criminal proceedings were not being brought. The investigation by Monsignor Dolan had not produced any further evidence which would support the allegations. The archdiocesan investigation was completed by early September 2003. This found that the allegation did not have substance and it permitted Fr Ricardus‟s eventual return to ministry. However, he could not actually return until the Garda investigation had been completed and a decision had been taken by the DPP not to prosecute.
55.10 The complainant‟s solicitors told the Archdiocese and Fr Ricardus that it was intended to take civil proceedings seeking compensation for the personal injuries, loss and damage that he alleged he suffered as a result of his alleged abuse. The complainant made a claim for damages in September 2003.
55.11 The Garda investigation resulted in a file being sent to the DPP. In December 2003, the DPP decided not to prosecute. The Gardaí immediately began an investigation of the complainant.
55.12 In September 2004, following the Garda investigation, the complainant was charged with knowingly making a false statement pursuant to Section 12 (a) of the Criminal Law Act 1976. The complainant was convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment. After an appeal, his conviction was upheld and the term of imprisonment was reduced to three years. The identity of Fr Ricardus was withheld from publication throughout by order of the court.
The priest’s perspective
55.13 In February 2004, the Archdiocese wrote to Fr Ricardus asking him to meet Philip Garland, the Director of the Child Protection Service in order to see if the Archdiocese could learn from his case. In correspondence, Fr Ricardus expressed his dissatisfaction with the manner in which the archdiocesan authorities had dealt with allegations against him and regretted the absence of an apology for his treatment.
55.14 Fr Ricardus is of the view that a proper investigation of the complaint ought to have been carried out before he was asked to step down and he questioned whether the appropriate Church guidelines had been correctly implemented in his case. His view was that “suspicion”, which was the requirement for a request to step down under the guidelines, was a requirement that envisaged more than just a mere complaint.
55.15 Fr Ricardus told the Commission that he considered that, before a priest is requested to stand down, there should at least be a prima facie case against him and there should be an early preliminary hearing. He considered that there was an absence of due process applying to the treatment of the priest and that the investigation process was too slow. He considered that it was advisable that, when an allegation was made against a priest, he should be monitored in his own home, as much for the safety of the public as for the well being of the accused priest.
55.16 Fr Ricardus also told the Commission that, in spite of his reservations about the way priests are treated, he would report any allegations of which he became aware and would favour the application of the rules.
The Commission’s assessment
55.17 The management of the complaint by the Archdiocese in this case, although understandably viewed by Fr Ricardus as harsh, was in compliance with the Church guidelines in place at the time. While recognising and appreciating the enormous hurt, anger and stress suffered by Fr Ricardus, the Commission considers that the Archdiocese was obliged to ask him to step aside from active ministry as soon as it became aware of the complaint. A hasty preliminary investigation by the Archdiocese into the complaint made prior to asking the priest to stand aside may well have led to further injustice being suffered by the priest concerned. Although Fr Ricardus did suffer considerably from the consequences of the false accusations, the Commission considers that the Archdiocese did act appropriately.
55.18 The Archdiocese co-operated fully with the Gardaí in their investigation. The Gardaí managed their investigation in a professional, timely and efficient manner.
119 This is a pseudonym.
120 This is a pseudonym.
121 This is a pseudonym.
122 This is a pseudonym.
123 This is a pseudonym.