COMMISSION OF INVESTIGATION -- REPORT INTO THE CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBLIN
Chapter 11 Introduction to investigation of the 46 priests Selecting the representative sample
11.1 The Commission received information about complaints, suspicions or knowledge of child sexual abuse in respect of 172 named priests and 11 unnamed priests. (Some or all of the 11 unnamed priests may, of course, be included in the 172 named priests.) After a preliminary examination, the Commission concluded that 102 of these priests were within remit. Of those priests who were not within the Commission‟s terms of reference, two main reasons for their exclusion were identified:
the complaint was made outside the time period 1975 – 2004;
the priest was not operating under the aegis of the Archdiocese of Dublin at the time of the alleged abuse. The priests in question here were mainly priests belonging to religious orders and societies who were working in Dublin but not on behalf of the Archdiocese.
11.2 The Commission decided that the only realistic way in which it could select and report on a representative sample of those complaints and suspicions was to select a representative sample of the priests concerned. Otherwise, the Commission may have had to investigate every priest within remit. The representative sample was chosen from the group of 102 priests who were within remit. The Commission took the view that it was impractical to make two separate samples for those against whom complaints were made and those about whom there were suspicions or concerns. Almost invariably, there were suspicions or concerns expressed about those against whom complaints were made. There was a very small number of priests about whom suspicions or concerns were expressed but about whom no actual complaints were made.
11.3 From the outset, the Commission was of the view that the purpose of sampling was to allow the Commission to examine and report on the complete picture in an efficient and expeditious manner. Accordingly, the sample selected had to ensure coverage of the entire of the relevant period, being January 1975 to May 2004. It had to encompass single abusers and multiple abusers to allow examination of differences in treatment (if any). It had to include instances where there was interaction between Church and State authorities in respect of complaints, knowledge, suspicions or concerns of child sexual abuse so that the Commission could discharge its function of reporting on the levels of communication that prevailed between all relevant authorities and indeed whether there was any evidence of attempts on the part of the Archdiocese or other Church authorities or on the part of public or State authorities to obstruct, prevent or interfere with the proper investigation of such complaints. Another factor to be borne in mind is the volume of information available on each case. This led the Commission to conclude that it should examine every case in which the relevant priest had been convicted in the criminal courts. Furthermore, issues such as confidentiality and damage to reputation or good name are less difficult in such cases.
11.4 While bearing these criteria in mind, the Commission engaged the services of a prominent statistician, Dr Teresa Brannick of University College Dublin to devise the sampling method so as to ensure that the sample selected was genuinely representative. She compiled a list of 47 priests spread over the three decades about whom there had been complaints or suspicions relating to child sexual abuse.
11.5 Documentary research into all priests in the representative sample was completed. As a result of this research one priest was found not to have been within the Commission‟s terms of reference leaving a total of 46 priests to be examined. Later on, the Commission became aware of a small number of other complaints which would have brought the cleric concerned within remit. It would have been impossible for the Commission to revise the representative sample when it became aware of these complaints and, in any event, Dr Brannick was satisfied that the original sample selected was an adequate representative sample even for the larger group.
11.6 The Commission conducted its investigation by means of oral evidence and in-depth analysis of the documentation supplied by all parties. Where gaps in the evidence were apparent, the Commission filled them, where appropriate and possible, with questionnaires and follow up interviews. Follow up was not always possible because a number of the significant participants are dead or too ill to be interviewed.
11.7 Of the 46 priests in the representative sample, 11 are or were members of religious orders; four of these are dead. One priest belongs to a UK diocese. Of the 34 priests from the Dublin Archdiocese, ten are dead, 20 are out of ministry and four are in ministry. Of the 20 who are out of ministry, 11 are being financially supported by the Archdiocese; nine are laicised.
11.8 Of the 46 priests whose cases were examined by the Commission, 17 were 40 years of age or older when complainants indicated that the first incidence of abuse had taken place. This is a worrying feature in the view of the members of the Commission. Although there is no evidence that any of these priests abused prior to age 40, the Commission, given the evidence it has uncovered, would be reluctant to conclude that no abuse took place prior to the age of 40.
11.9 It is important to realise that it was not the function of the Commission to establish whether child sexual abuse actually took place but rather to record the manner in which complaints were dealt with by Church and State authorities. While a significant number of the priests against whom allegations were made admitted child sexual abuse, some denied it. It is also important in the Commission‟s view not to equate the number of complaints with the actual instances of child sexual abuse. Of those investigated by the Commission, one priest admitted to sexually abusing over 100 children, while another accepted that he had abused on a fortnightly basis during the currency of his ministry which lasted for over 25 years. The total number of documented complaints recorded against those two priests is only just over 70.
11.10 Of the 46 priests surveyed, 11 pleaded guilty to or were convicted in the criminal courts of sexual assaults on children.
11.11 There is one clear case of a false accusation of child sexual abuse – Fr Ricardus*.52 There are two cases where there were suspicions or concerns but no actual complaint of child sexual abuse – Fr Guido* and Fr Magnus*.
11.12 Of the 320 plus complaints that the Commission is aware of from its representative sample the ratio of boys to girls is 2.3 boys: 1 girl.
Personnel in Dublin Archdiocese who dealt with complaints
11.13 The following were the main people in the Dublin Archdiocese who dealt with complaints of child sexual abuse over the period covered by the Commission:
Archbishops Period in Office Archbishop John Charles McQuaid 1940 – 1972 (deceased) Archbishop Dermot Ryan 1972 – 1984 (deceased) Archbishop Kevin McNamara 1985 – 1987 (deceased) Archbishop Desmond Connell 1988 – 2004 (retired) (Archbishop Connell became a Cardinal in 2001.) Archbishop Diarmuid Martin 2004 – present Auxiliary bishops Period in Office Bishop Joseph Carroll 1968 – 1989 (deceased) (Bishop Carroll was Administrator of the Archdiocese from September 1984 when Archbishop Ryan departed for Rome to January 1985 when Archbishop McNamara was appointed and again from the death of Archbishop McNamara in April 1987 to the appointment of Archbishop Connell in March 1988.) Bishop Brendan Comiskey 1980 – 1984 (Bishop Comiskey was appointed bishop of Ferns in April 1984 and resigned from that position in April 2002.) Bishop Martin Drennan 1997 – 2005 (Bishop Drennan is currently bishop of Galway.) Bishop Patrick Dunne 1946 – 1984 (deceased) Bishop Raymond Field 1997 - present Bishop Laurence Forristal 1980 – 1981 (Bishop Forristal was appointed bishop of Ossory in 1981 and retired in 2007.)
Bishop James Kavanagh 1972 - 1998 (deceased)
Bishop James Moriarty 1991 - 2002 (Bishop Moriarty is currently bishop of Kildare & Leighlin.) Bishop Donal Murray 1982 - 1996 (Bishop Murray is currently bishop of Limerick.) Bishop Dermot O‟Mahony 1975 – 1996 (retired) (Bishop O‟Mahony also served as chancellor from 1975 to 1981) Bishop Fiachra Ó Ceallaigh 1994 – present Bishop Eamonn Walsh 1990 – present (Bishop Walsh was dean of Clonliffe College from 1977 to 1985 and also served as priest secretary to the Archbishop from 1985 to 1990; he was Apostolic Administrator of the Ferns diocese from 2002 to 2006.) Bishop Desmond Williams 1984 – 1993 (deceased) Chancellors Period in office Monsignor Gerard Sheehy 1965 –1975 (deceased) Bishop Dermot O‟Mahony 1975 – 1981 (retired) Monsignor Alex Stenson 1981 – 1997 (Monsignor Stenson is now a parish priest in the Archdiocese.) Monsignor John Dolan 1997 - present Director of the Child Protection Service Mr Philip Garland 2003 – present Others A number of senior priests who did not have an official role in the area but who were clearly held in high regard by the Archbishop of the time were asked to help investigate individual complaints of child sexual abuse. They included:
Monsignor Richard Glennon who had been chancellor from 1945 to 1955 and was subsequently a vicar general (deceased);
Monsignor James Ardle MacMahon, who was Archbishop McQuaid‟s secretary from 1954 until 1972 and subsequently an episcopal vicar for religious and a parish priest (retired);
Monsignor Jerome Curtin, who had been an assistant chancellor, a vicar general, the episcopal vicar for religious and a parish priest (retired);
Monsignor John O‟Regan who had been chancellor from 1955 to 1965 and subsequently a vicar general and a parish priest (deceased).
Once their investigations were complete these men did not generally have any further role in dealing with either the priest or the complainants. The various secretaries to the archbishops, while they had no official direct role in dealing with child sexual abuse cases, were frequently the conduit for complaints, for receiving professional reports and for communicating with bishops and priests. Treatment centres
11.14 Priests were sent for assessment and sometimes for treatment to various psychiatrists and psychologists. Long-term treatment was provided in a number of treatment centres of which the most important for the purposes of this report were the centres run by the Servants of the Paraclete and the Hospitaller Order of St John of God. These two organisations are Church authorities.
11.15 The Servants of the Paracletes is a religious order established in New Mexico, USA in 1947, with a stated mission of ministering to troubled priests. In its early years the order treated priests suffering disorders primarily relating to alcohol, but from the 1970s, it began treating priests who had sexually abused children. Because of the nature of its work, its existence was not widely trumpeted, but was known to Church authorities who needed to avail of its services. The order is affiliated with the Discalced Carmelites. Having been established in Jemez Springs, New Mexico in 1947, it expanded rapidly and within 12 years it had 11 houses around the globe, including houses in England and Scotland. One of those houses was in Stroud. Eight of the priests in the representative sample were sent to Stroud.
11.16 The Granada Institute was established in Dublin in 1994 by the Hospitaller Order of St John of God. Its remit is “to provide assessment and treatment services to those who have committed sexual offences involving children and, where appropriate, to advise on the management of this client population”. It provides services to lay people as well as clerics. It has seen 25 of the priests in the representative sample.
12.1 “We would always be hovering around the late James McNamee when he arrived at the school because he had this very charismatic presence. I would say he was like St. Francis of Assisi, you know, the kids would come around him like pigeons used to come around”.
12.2 This is how a young man described Fr James McNamee to the Commission.
12.3 Fr McNamee was born in 1917, was ordained in 1942, retired to become a convent chaplain in 1979 and died in 2002.
12.4 At least 21 people have made complaints of sexual abuse against Fr McNamee. These complaints date back to his period as a curate in Rolestown between 1950 and 1952, as a curate in Halston Street and Arran Quay between 1952 and 1960, as a curate in Harrington Street from 1960 to 1968 and in Crumlin, both as a curate between 1968 and 1973 and as parish priest between 1973 and 1979.
Stella Maris Football Club
12.5 The first allegation about Fr McNamee arose in January 1960, when a former altar boy, on the advice of a priest in Rathfarnham, spoke to a priest in relation to Fr McNamee‟s behaviour. The former altar boy informed the priest that he had heard from two former members of a football club with which Fr McNamee was associated, Stella Maris, that Fr McNamee had acted in an inappropriate manner when the boys had showered after returning from a trip to the seaside. The former altar boy also stated that he had witnessed Fr McNamee bathing with naked adolescent boys and placing the boys on his shoulders.
12.6 These matters were investigated by the auxiliary bishop, Bishop Dunne. Fr McNamee denied the allegations and stated that he had merely permitted the boys to use the showers after returning from the seaside. Bishop Dunne believed Fr McNamee‟s version of events, as did Archbishop McQuaid when it was reported to him. The Archbishop noted that “as he is a worthy priest I agree that we could not refuse to accept his word”.
12.7 Fr McNamee informed the Archbishop that he would like to withdraw from the Stella Maris club, the football club from where the allegations emanated, as he was tired, having worked there for a number of years. The Archbishop was willing to let him withdraw but not at once “lest he be defamed”.
12.8 On meeting Fr McNamee, Archbishop McQuaid told him to forget about it. Archbishop McQuaid noted that he himself was convinced that the man was quite without blame.
12.9 Subsequently, there were a number of complaints from members of the Stella Maris football club who recalled Fr McNamee swimming nude with other team members.
Swimming pool complaint, 1978
12.10 The first specific recorded complaint about Fr McNamee and his activities in his home built swimming pool in Crumlin was made in March 1978. However, it is clear that the Archdiocese was aware of suspicions and concerns about his activities before this. A file note of an interview conducted with Bishop Forristal in February 2006 indicated that he remembered a meeting of vicars general in or around the autumn of 1977, at which Archbishop Ryan noted that there had been a lot of incidents involving a swimming pool and Fr McNamee and that consequently Archbishop Ryan expressed the view: “This fellow has to go. He can‟t work in parish work anymore”. Bishop Forristal told the Commission in 2009 that he accepts that he did say this in 2006 but he is now unsure when Archbishop Ryan made that remark. It may have been sometime after the autumn of 1977. The Commission notes that there was a meeting of the vicars general in the winter of 1977.
12.11 In March 1978, a parishioner complained to a nun that her eldest son had reported that Fr McNamee and a number of boys were swimming and exercising in the nude in a swimming pool in the garden of the priest‟s house. It was also alleged that a nude boy sat on the priest‟s knee for a chat.
12.12 The nun told the complainant to get in touch with the Archbishop and not to mention it to anybody else. Archbishop Ryan directed Monsignor O‟Regan, the parish priest of Sandymount and a former chancellor, to conduct an inquiry.
12.13 Monsignor O‟Regan met the mother promptly and took an account of what she had to say. He found her to be a credible witness. He also made inquiries about her two sons and was told that they were truthful boys. His conclusion was that “a possibly explosive situation exists locally, which could be very scandalous indeed”. He also stated that “even now, many innocent boys may be safeguarded, and the whole adult Catholic population spared the hurt of a real scandal in Crumlin”. There is no evidence as to whether or not Monsignor O‟Regan was aware of the 1960 complaint but the Commission considers that he is unlikely to have been told about it. He may, however, have been told of the suspicions and concerns of which the vicars general were aware but this cannot be established.
12.14 Monsignor O‟Regan consulted with the local curate and other priests who knew Fr McNamee. The local curate was full of praise for Fr McNamee, stating that he was a good priest and had a real interest in the boys of the parish. One priest, however, accepted the allegations against Fr McNamee and indicated that they confirmed an unproven suspicion he had in the past. He recommended that Fr McNamee should be made to retire and that the pool should be handed over to a parish organisation.
12.15 Monsignor O‟Regan elicited further disturbing information from the priests he interviewed about Fr McNamee‟s activities. He was told that Fr McNamee had built an outdoor swimming pool himself in 1969 and later built an indoor pool. Adults in general were excluded from using the pool and only a small group of boys were selected to use it. The fact that only selected boys were allowed use the pool was resented locally. Fr McNamee spent school break time holding the hands of young boys in the playground and he took young boys for spins in his car. It had also been noted that he had a total aversion and hostility towards all women.
12.16 Some five weeks after the mother‟s complaint, Monsignor O‟Regan and Monsignor Curtin met Fr McNamee concerning the complaints. Fr McNamee confirmed that he had built the swimming pool himself and acknowledged that adults were excluded from using the pool. He stated that, owing to space constraints, only six boys were permitted in the pool at any one time. He also indicated that, although not common practise, nude bathing did occasionally occur and he did not see anything morally wrong with this.
12.17 Fr McNamee communicated to Monsignor O‟Regan his desire to retire from active ministry but the Monsignor encouraged him to stay for a further six months in order to avoid any damage to his reputation.
12.18 Fr McNamee was allowed to remain in his job as parish priest until May 1979. This was despite the fact that the Archdiocese was aware of complaints made in 1960 and of similar types of complaints made in the 1970s. When Archbishop Ryan went to Crumlin for the confirmation ceremonies in May 1979, a former parish priest spoke to the Archbishop of the increasing rumours and gossip about Fr McNamee, but the Archbishop indicated to him that he should leave the matter rest and gave no indication of what he planned to do.
12.19 A complainant gave evidence to the Commission which shows that, as well as abusing boys in the swimming pool, Fr McNamee also abused in his car. This complainant‟s evidence also illustrates the level of local knowledge and rumours in Crumlin in the 1970s. This complainant told the Commission that between the years 1972 and 1975, Fr McNamee would pick him up from outside the local school. The witness was between the ages of seven and ten at that time. The witness stated that whenever the older boys in the area saw Fr McNamee, they either ran away or started throwing things and shouting insults at Fr McNamee. Apparently he was known as “Father smack my gee”53. The older boys, some of whom later told the witness that they had been abused by Fr McNamee, did not tell their parents or the younger boys what was going on at the time. As a result, Fr McNamee who, as the witness recalled, drove a green Lancia Delta, picked up boys regularly in the car and abused them.
12.20 The existence of a swimming pool in a garden in Crumlin in the 1960s and 1970s must, inevitably, have been the subject of much local discussion.
12.21 In June 1979, Fr McNamee‟s resignation from Crumlin was accepted and in July 1979 he was appointed chaplain to the Carmelite monastery in Delgany, Co Wicklow. The Carmelites were told that he was appointed there for health reasons. Part of his duties in that job was to say mass every morning. While saying mass, he was assisted by various local altar boys. The evidence of a mother of one of the altar boys was that, in fine weather, Fr McNamee would regularly bring a number of the boys to swim at Brittas Bay. When she found out about Fr McNamee and his proclivities, she questioned her son but he said the priest had behaved properly towards them. There was no monitoring of his activities by the Archdiocese and, since the nuns were not told anything of his background, they could not have been expected to take on a monitoring role. The first the nuns knew about concerns relating to Fr McNamee was in 2002, when they were approached by a reporter from RTE who explained that they were investigating Fr McNamee‟s activities while he was in Crumlin and requesting the nuns‟ state of knowledge when he came to stay with them.
1994 – 1995 Complaints
12.22 In 1994, a report was received from a young man that he had been abused by Fr McNamee while in Crumlin parish. This young man did not name Fr McNamee but Monsignor Stenson immediately deduced that it was likely to be Fr McNamee. Archbishop Connell instituted a preliminary investigation in November 1994. In the same year, Monsignor Stenson received reports that Fr McNamee was driving around with young children in his car in the Wicklow area, a fact that was independently confirmed by the mother of an altar boy. Having consulted with Dr Patrick Walsh of the Granada Institute, who had seen the files on Fr McNamee, it was decided that Bishop Donal Murray would speak to Fr McNamee about his behavioural difficulties relating to children in order to assess how he had been dealing with these problems. Bishop Murray‟s purpose would be to inform Fr McNamee that the Archdiocese wished to ensure that there was no “unfinished business”, particularly at this time. (The Fr Brendan Smyth controversy was raging at the time – see Chapter 7). Bishop Murray told the Commission that he was unaware of the 1994 complaint to Monsignor Stenson.
12.23 At this stage Fr McNamee was 77 years of age. Bishop Murray called to see him shortly before Christmas 1994. He inquired with the superior as to Fr McNamee‟s health and general well-being. He failed to mention to the superior the real purpose of his visit and the concerns which the Archdiocese had in regard to Fr McNamee and his behaviour with young people.
12.24 Bishop Murray then saw Fr McNamee and, in the course of a general conversation, asked whether he had any concerns about the recent scandals relating to child sexual abuse. Fr McNamee claimed that he was not personally affected. The bishop said that there had been some things suggested about him in this area in the past but Fr McNamee replied that this was: “just talk, talk, talk. There is a kind of conspiracy going on: people seeing evil where there is none. A lot of what is been [sic] said is evil and mischievous. The people who make false allegations are themselves evil”.
12.25 Bishop Murray accepted Fr McNamee‟s denials that he had young people in the car. This was the extent of his inquiries. The bishop did think that there was some unresolved anger and some denial about the earlier situation, of which Bishop Murray said he had no detailed knowledge. According to Bishop Murray, Archbishop Connell also visited Fr McNamee in December 1994. Archbishop Connell did not inform the nuns about the child sexual abuse concerns even though he had initiated a preliminary investigation into a recent complaint.
12.26 In March 1995, another complainant made an allegation to the Gardaí. This related to the years 1973 – 1975 and concerned nude bathing in the Crumlin swimming pool and handling of the genitalia while drying the young boy off after swimming.
Garda investigation, 1995
12.27 The garda who took the man‟s statement at the central detective unit on 1 March prepared a letter on 21 March requesting that the matter be investigated by “G” division, that is, Crumlin, where the offences had occurred. Unfortunately, Crumlin did not receive the file until 7 July, nearly four months after the complaint was made. There is no explanation on the file for this delay. Once Crumlin received the file, matters were moved along swiftly. On 10 July 1995, the Gardaí contacted Archbishop‟s House and Monsignor Stenson gave them Fr McNamee‟s address. Monsignor Stenson immediately contacted Fr McNamee to advise him that a garda investigation was under way and that he should get legal representation. Fr McNamee was interviewed on 14 July in the presence of his solicitor. He made no response to the allegations at that time but in a subsequent statement delivered on 15 August he categorically denied them.
12.28 The file was then sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who because of the delay between the abuse and the complaint, declined to prosecute. The abuse had occurred between 1973 and 1975 and the complaint was made in 1995.
12.29 The complainant subsequently issued civil proceedings and three years later the priest personally made a substantial settlement with the young man in question.
12.30 Fr McNamee‟s name was one of the names given to the Gardaí by Monsignor Stenson in November 1995 when he handed over the names of 17 priests about whom the Archdiocese had received complaints. Also in November 1995, Archbishop Connell wrote to Fr McNamee relieving him of his duties as chaplain to the Carmelite Sisters.
1995 - 2001
12.31 Fr McNamee was accommodated in a nursing home in Co Meath. He was opposed to any assessment being done on him by any medical advisor and was also opposed to the nursing home being informed of any past allegations. He himself did inform the nursing home sometime in late 1995 of the allegations. Early the following year, the man who had complained to the Archdiocese in 1994 made a formal statement to Monsignor Stenson. The reporting procedures of the Archdiocese had changed in the previous year and accordingly Monsignor Stenson informed the Gardaí immediately. Some two months later, the Gardaí informed the Archdiocese that no formal complaint had been made by the man. No further action was taken in relation to this matter. It is perhaps surprising that the Gardaí did not consider it necessary to make further inquiries, especially in view of the fact that they were aware of previous complaints.
12.32 In March 1997, the case of Fr McNamee was referred to the advisory panel (see Chapter 7). The panel was informed of all the allegations received to date.
12.33 In April and May 1997, two further allegations were made. One was made anonymously and the other was made by a man who at the time was suffering from a psychiatric illness.
12.34 Having examined the case, the view of the advisory panel was that there was enough substance in the allegations to create a strong suspicion that they might be true.
12.35 They recommended that a canonical precept (an order from the Archbishop restricting Fr McNamee‟s ministry) be put in place. In August 1997, the canonical precept was put in place restricting Fr McNamee to celebration of mass at the retirement home in Meath only, forbidding him from visiting his past parishes and forbidding him having any contact with children on his own.
12.36 In 2001, another civil legal action was initiated against Fr McNamee and the Archdiocese. Fr McNamee died in September 2002, just before a number of media reports surfaced regarding allegations of child sexual abuse against him.
12.37 In October 2002, following the Prime Time programme Cardinal Secrets, the young man who had settled his case with Fr McNamee in 1998 went on the RTE radio programme Liveline and spoke about his abuse by Fr McNamee. By the end of October, at least eight men had made complaints of abuse using the garda hotline. The alleged abuses dated back to the 1950s. Many included allegations of requiring the boys to swim naked, under the guise of teaching them how to swim, and then touching them inappropriately. Other allegations related to him drying the boys off after swimming, placing them naked on his knee and once again touching their genitalia or digitally penetrating them.
12.38 It should be said that despite Fr McNamee carrying on the type of behaviour which had characterised his time in Crumlin, there are no allegations of child sexual abuse arising from the 16 years he spent in Delgany. When the Carmelite nuns were informed of the allegations against Fr McNamee by an RTE reporter in 2002, the superior made inquiries from a former altar boy as to whether he had any knowledge of impropriety on the part of Fr McNamee and was informed that he did not.
12.39 In addition to the complainants mentioned above, 21 men have come forward claiming abuse by Fr McNamee during his many appointments. The Commission is of the view that many more were abused. A significant number of complainants are claiming civil damages. To date, a number of cases have been settled and at the time of writing this report a further three are outstanding.
12.40 Those complainants who met archdiocesan officials in recent times, including Archbishop Martin, were satisfied with how the Archdiocese dealt with their complaints. Many were relieved to hear from the Archbishop that they were not alone in their complaints, and victims also expressed gratitude for counselling when it was arranged for them.
12.41 Some expressed sadness at the fact that they had not reported matters earlier to the Church, particularly when the priest was alive, as they thought that might have prevented abuse of others.
The Commission’s assessment
12.42 Overall, the case is an example of how, throughout the 1970s, the Church authorities were much more concerned with the scandal that would be created by revealing Fr McNamee‟s abuse rather than any concern for the abused.
12.43 Archbishop McQuaid‟s view, in the early 1960s, that he could not refuse to accept the denials of such a worthy priest was sadly misguided. If action had been taken then, the abuse of a large number of boys could have been prevented. It is quite clear from Bishop Forristal‟s recollections and from the interview that Monsignor O‟Regan conducted with Fr McNamee‟s colleagues that, in the 1970s, there was significant knowledge of the type of activities that Fr McNamee was up to with children in his own swimming pool and elsewhere. However, even though he knew there was a problem, the Archbishop did not take any action.
12.44 When a specific complaint was made in 1978, Monsignor O‟Regan carried out a thorough investigation and came to the clear conclusion that Fr McNamee was a danger to children. Yet again, the emphasis was on the avoidance of scandal and the protection of the priest‟s reputation rather than the protection of children. It is particularly shocking that Fr McNamee was encouraged to stay on in the parish in order to avoid any damage to his reputation. The very idea that a priest should have a private swimming pool to which only young boys had access, even in the mid to late 1970s, coupled with his other actions should have caused the archdiocesan authorities to take action far earlier than they did.
12.45 While Monsignor O‟Regan did state that perhaps further damage to innocent children might be avoided, not once did he or indeed any of the archdiocesan authorities consider the enormous damage that might already have been done to innocent children.
12.46 Archbishop Ryan, when he discovered that there had been many incidents in the swimming pool with Fr McNamee, should have taken immediate action. The fact that the archives contained a report about similar type activities relating to boys attending Stella Maris football club, albeit not believed at the time, should have given rise to the reopening of that investigation and to an investigation of his activities in the intervening years.
12.47 The fact that he allowed Fr McNamee to stay in Crumlin for a further 15 months was wrong. This wrong was compounded by his transfer to a convent where again he was given access to young altar boys.
12.48 The failure to inform the nuns that the reason for his transfer to their convent was because of concerns about his activities in Crumlin was inexplicable and left them in a very difficult situation when they were questioned by RTE many years later. No attempt was made to monitor his activities while he was associated with the convent and the nuns knew of no reason for monitoring.
12.49 Bishop Murray and Archbishop Connell must accept responsibility for not communicating fully with the nuns in Co Wicklow. When complaints surfaced in the 1990s about Fr McNamee, Bishop Murray visited the convent but did not explain fully the circumstances surrounding Fr McNamee‟s placement there. He claims he was not fully informed about the details. However it was clear from his memo of the meeting that he was aware that there was an allegation of child sexual abuse made against Fr McNamee in the late 1970s. It seems incredible to the Commission that, when he was asked in December 1994 to talk to Fr McNamee about behavioural difficulties with children, he was not informed that Archbishop Connell had issued a decree initiating a preliminary investigation into the 1994 allegation on 28 November. Once again this highlights the very poor communication that existed within the Archdiocese. Bishop Murray has pointed out to the Commission that Archbishop Connell visited Delgany on 11 December and did not inform the nuns about Fr McNamee‟s background. This was despite the fact that he had launched a preliminary investigation into a complaint of child sexual abuse against him less than two weeks previously. In the Commission‟s view neither the bishop nor the Archbishop seemed to have given any consideration to the risk Fr McNamee might have posed to the altar boys attending the convent. Both were aware of his abusive past and that no monitoring system had been put in place in relation to him.
12.50 Nearly all the complainants who reported to the Gardaí were happy with the way the Gardaí dealt with the complaints. As many of the complaints arose after the death of Fr McNamee there was no possibility of a prosecution. Nevertheless the complainants reported that the Gardaí had listened sympathetically to them. The Gardaí also took full and comprehensive statements from them.
12.51 The development of the DPP‟s approach to cases involving delay is outlined in Chapter 5.
13.1 Marie Collins, one of the many people abused by Fr Edmondus, and who was severely affected by the abuse, stated in the documents submitted by her to the Commission:
“Father [Edmondus] betrayed the trust invested in him by his religious superiors. He betrayed the trust of the hospital authorities. He betrayed my parents‟ trust. All had given me into his care. He betrayed my trust and my innocence. He abused his power and used my respect for his religious position to abuse and degrade me - a child - not just a child but a sick child. How much lower than that can you sink? A man like that deserves our prayers but not our protection”. (Emphasis in original)
13.2 The Fr Edmondus case is being dealt with by the Commission because it involves a priest who committed a number of sexual assaults on young patients aged between eight and 11 years in Our Lady‟s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Sixteen years later, when he was based in Co Wicklow, he committed a sexual assault on a nine-year-old child.
13.3 The case also falls to be considered by the Commission because, in the 1990s, suspicions about his behaviour while he was a curate in a North Dublin parish were brought to the attention of the Archdiocese.
13.4 Fr Edmondus was born in 1931 and ordained in 1957. He was chaplain to Our Lady‟s Hospital for Sick Children from 1958 to 1960. He subsequently held a number of appointments in the Archdiocese. His faculties were withdrawn in 1997. In that same year, he was convicted of indecent assault against two girls and served a term of nine months imprisonment. He remains a priest but is prohibited from exercising ministry and is not allowed to wear clerical garb. He currently lives in Dublin.
13.5 In August 1960, Archbishop McQuaid was informed that a security officer at a photographic film company in the UK had referred colour film, sent to them for developing by Fr Edmondus, to Scotland Yard. Scotland Yard referred the matter to the Commissioner of the Gardaí. There is no evidence of any Garda investigation. However Garda Commissioner Costigan met Archbishop McQuaid and, according to Archbishop McQuaid‟s note of the meeting, told him that the photographic company had “handed to Scotland Yard a colour film with label Rev. [Edmondus], Childrens Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin, of which 26 transparencies were of the private parts of two small girls, aged 10 or 11 years”. The Garda Commissioner asked Archbishop McQuaid to take over the case because a priest was in question and the Gardaí “could prove nothing”. The Commissioner told Archbishop McQuaid that he would do nothing further. No attempt seems to have been made to establish who the two girls in the photographs were. The Commission would like to point out that neither the Dublin Archdiocese nor the Gardaí made discovery of the colour film so the Commission is not in a position to say what happened to it.
13.6 Archbishop McQuaid immediately referred the case to his auxiliary bishop, Bishop Dunne. It is clear that the Archbishop was using the procedures outlined in the 1922 instruction (see Chapter 4). Bishop Dunne expressed the view that a crimen pessimum (the worst crime, which includes child sexual abuse) had been committed.
13.7 The next day, Archbishop McQuaid met Fr Edmondus who admitted photographing the children in sexual postures alone and in groups. These photographs were taken in Crumlin hospital. The Archbishop recorded as follows:
“The children were playing about, lifting their clothes. He rebuked them. Seeing this was a chance of discovering what the genitals were like, he pretended there was no film in the camera he was carrying and photographed them in sexual postures, alone and seated together, chiefly in a way or posture that opened up the parts. He declared that he had done so, as one would take an art photo., seeing no grave sin at all and suffering no physical disturbance in himself. He was puzzled, though he had seen line drawings, as to structure and functions of female. In questioning, I discovered that he had been 190
reared with brothers,55 had never moved about socially with girls and tended to avoid them as in the hospital with the nurses. I suggested I would get [a doctor] a good Catholic to instruct him and thus end his wonderment.” Archbishop McQuaid also recorded: “I felt that he clearly understood the nature of the sinful act involved and to send him on retreat would defame him”.
13.8 Archbishop McQuaid and Bishop Dunne then agreed that there was not an objective and subjective crime of the type envisaged in the 1922 instruction and consequently that there was no need to refer the matter to the Holy Office in Rome.
13.9 Later, Fr Edmondus saw the doctor on three occasions. There is no report from the doctor on the Church files.
13.10 While Archbishop McQuaid investigated the matter promptly, he limited his activity to dealing with the priest‟s problem. He does not seem to have made any effort to establish who the children involved were, nor did he contact Crumlin hospital nor did he put in place any protocols for future chaplains to the children in that hospital. In view of the fact that he was chairman of the board of directors of the hospital, this was a particular omission. At this stage, Fr Edmondus was no longer the chaplain to the hospital. This failure to contact the hospital or put any protocol in place meant that, when Fr Ivan Payne (see Chapter 24) became chaplain to the same hospital, the hospital had no knowledge of previous wrongdoing by a chaplain. Archbishop Martin, on behalf of the Archdiocese, has suggested to the Commission that what Archbishop McQuaid was trying to establish was whether the subjective and objective elements of a canonical crime had been committed and that he found that no crime had been committed.
13.11 Given that these photographs were taken by deception, when a nurse was absent, given the nature of the photographs and the fact that the film was sent to the UK for development, any reasonable person would imply mens rea or criminal intent from the circumstances. The conclusion of the Archbishop and Bishop Dunne that this was not an objective and subjective crime within the meaning of canon law is, in the Commission‟s view, unreasonable and contrary to common sense now and in 1960. It is totally at variance with Bishop Dunne‟s original opinion as recorded by Archbishop McQuaid a few days earlier. The Commission believes that Archbishop McQuaid acted as he did to avoid scandal in both Ireland and Rome and without regard to the protection of children in Crumlin hospital. Archbishop Martin accepts that the conclusion reached by Archbishop McQuaid and Bishop Dunne was wrong and that the measures taken were inadequate but he does not agree with the Commission‟s conclusion that Archbishop McQuaid acted the way he did to avoid scandal both here and in Rome.
Reporting of abuse, 1985
13.12 Marie Collins, who was one of a number of young people sexually abused by Fr Edmondus at Crumlin hospital, approached her local curate, Fr Eddie Griffin, in November 1985 and told him about her abuse. She had been sexually abused and photographed by Fr Edmondus in Crumlin hospital in 1960 when she was aged 13. The curate indicated to her that he did not want to know the name of her abuser as he would have to do something about it. According to a statement which he gave to the Gardaí in 2004, he said that he explained to Mrs Collins that “I didn‟t want to know the name of the priest. If she told me the name of the priest I had to do something about it”. He went on to say in his Garda statement:
“We as priests had been advised while in college not to seek the name of priests that allegations were being made against. Marie Collins didn't tell me that name of the priest. I told her not to feel any guilt about what had happened and that the priest had done wrong and if she had guilt I could give her absolution." Despite having told Mrs Collins he did not wish to know the name of the priest, he went on to say in his garda statement “when she didn‟t tell me his name I wondered why she was there and thought she might be feeling guilty and I told her I could do away with her guilt by giving her absolution”.
13.13 Although Fr Griffin contends that he was approaching the matter in a "pastoral‟ manner which would not require him to seek the identity of the priest, the fact is that a criminal offence was disclosed to him and his response was, in the Commission‟s view, inadequate. It was to be another ten years before Mrs Collins plucked up the courage to report the matter to Archbishop‟s House.
13.14 In 1993, while Fr Edmondus was a curate in Edenmore in north Dublin, a complaint was made by a parishioner regarding his contact with young children. This complaint, which appears to have come initially from youth workers, was made to a local priest who reported it to Bishop James Moriarty, who was the auxiliary bishop for that area. Bishop Moriarty summarised the reported inappropriate behaviour of Fr Edmondus as follows:
young girls driving around in his car and allegations that the girls had sometimes changed in his house before going swimming;
giving young children money;
group of youngsters who were very poor attenders at school spending time with him;
no adults allowed into his house; the only people allowed in were the very old or young.
13.15 Bishop Moriarty discussed the problem with the local priests and with Archbishop Connell. He then warned Fr Edmondus about his behaviour and advised him to desist from the activities mentioned. After this, the parish priest noted a change in his behaviour but others felt he still surrounded himself with children quite a bit. No attempt was made by the archdiocesan authorities to check the archives or other files relating to Fr Edmondus when these complaints were received. Bishop Moriarty pointed out to the Commission that he did not have access to the archives but he could have asked the Archbishop to conduct such a search. Information was also received about Fr Edmondus recording the children‟s voices and he himself admitted to photographing them.
Letters of complaint from Marie Collins, 1995
13.16 In October 1995, Marie Collins wrote to Archbishop Connell regarding her abuse by Fr Edmondus. She also told him of her attempts to tell her local curate about the abuse. Around the same time she wrote a letter of complaint to Our Lady‟s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin and offered to talk to a secretary/manager about the abuse.
13.17 A few days after her complaint to Archbishop Connell, he initiated a preliminary investigation under canon 1717 and appointed Monsignor Alex Stenson as the delegate. By this time, October 1995, the Church authorities were familiar with many aspects of clerical child abuse. Not only was work on the Framework Document (see Chapter 7) well advanced but several Church personnel had travelled to dioceses in the USA to learn from their experiences. In addition there had been the fall out of the Fr Brendan Smyth case (see Chapter 7) and the Archdiocese itself had received a significant number of complaints of child sexual abuse by priests of the Archdiocese.
13.18 In October 1995, following receipt of Mrs Collins‟s complaint, a trawl was done in the secret archives and the 1960 complaint became known to Archbishop Connell and Monsignor Stenson. Monsignor Stenson, though chancellor of the Archdiocese since 1981, only became aware of the 1993 Edenmore concerns in the course of his investigation. Cardinal Connell told the Commission that he referred all complaints of sexual abuse to the chancellor. He did not feel it necessary to refer the concerns about inappropriate behaviour on the part of Fr Edmondus to Monsignor Stenson.
Evidence of Mrs Collins and Fr Norman
13.19 Both Mrs Collins and her support priest, Fr James Norman, gave extensive evidence to the Commission. Her evidence related not only to her complaint against Fr Edmondus but also covered steps taken by her and others to get support services for victims of clerical sex abuse.
13.20 Her evidence was very helpful to the Commission in understanding how the Framework Document was being implemented. It was also helpful in attempting to assess the attitude of Church officials to cases in which they accepted that abuse had taken place.
13.21 Mrs Collins was extremely unhappy with the way her complaint was dealt with by the Church authorities. In addition to writing to Archbishop Connell in October 1995, she had also written to Bishop Forristal (the chair of the committee drafting the Framework Document), Crumlin hospital and the local priest to whom she had earlier complained, to let them know that she was making a complaint to the Archdiocese. Bishop Forristal replied personally and sympathetically. The hospital authorities responded immediately and arranged to meet her. She found them very sympathetic. They offered counselling and told her that they would be reporting the matter to the Gardaí, which they did.
13.22 Archbishop Connell passed the letter from Mrs Collins to Monsignor Stenson and did not reply directly himself. The local priest did not reply at all. Monsignor Stenson replied, apologised on behalf of Archbishop Connell and made arrangements to meet Mrs Collins.
Monsignor Stenson’s meeting with Mrs Collins
13.23 Monsignor Stenson met Mrs Collins in October 1995. He indicated that he would have to notify the Gardaí in relation to her complaints. He noted in the memorandum of their meeting that she had met a representative from Crumlin hospital who had also indicated that the Gardaí would be notified.
13.24 Mrs Collins felt that Monsignor Stenson had listened very sympathetically to her and indeed acknowledged this in a letter to him subsequently. It is very clear that Monsignor Stenson believed Mrs Collins. However, he did not tell her that there were other incidents and concerns in respect of Fr Edmondus‟s time at Crumlin hospital and she was very annoyed about this when she subsequently discovered it. Cardinal Connell has told the Commission that there was no legal obligation on him or the Archdiocese to inform Mrs Collins of other incidents or concerns. While this is true, the Commission believes that Mrs Collins was justified in her annoyance at not being told of the 1960 incidents at her first meeting with Monsignor Stenson. The Commission is aware that Monsignor Stenson told the Gardaí of the 1960 incidents in November 1995 but waited until March 1996 to tell Mrs Collins. Monsignor Stenson has told the Commission that he did not regard himself as free to tell Mrs Collins about the Crumlin incidents. He was constrained by the oath of secrecy which he took when he became chancellor and he could not reveal that information without the consent of Archbishop Connell. He said he made the November 1995 statement to the Gardaí with the permission of Archbishop Connell. He said the same oath of secrecy prevented him from making a further statement to the Gardaí about his preliminary investigation of the Fr Edmondus case.
13.25 As was his practice, Monsignor Stenson made a comprehensive note of the meeting. The note revealed Mrs Collins to have been severely psychologically damaged by the abuse. Except for her revelation to her local curate in 1985, which unfortunately succeeded only in exacerbating the trauma she suffered, it had taken her almost 35 years to summon up the courage to approach the Church authorities and discuss in detail her abuse by Fr Edmondus. She also expressed worry that other children might have been abused by him and wanted reassurance that he was not left in a position to abuse children.
Monsignor Stenson’s meeting with Fr Edmondus
13.26 Shortly after meeting Mrs Collins, Monsignor Stenson met Fr Edmondus. Monsignor Stenson told him that the Gardaí had been in contact and wanted to meet him in relation to the complaint of Mrs Collins. Monsignor Stenson outlined the complaint and Fr Edmondus replied “I cannot place the girl” but he accepted that inappropriate touching could have happened. He was clear that it was a separate allegation from the matters that had been reported to Archbishop McQuaid in 1960. He accepted that a Christmas card which Mrs Collins claimed he had sent her bore his signature. Mrs Collins had given the Christmas card to Monsignor Stenson. Fr Edmondus said that he had no problem with little boys but, “if he had a problem, it was with little girls”. He told Monsignor Stenson that the meeting with Archbishop McQuaid had scared him and had made him very careful.
13.27 Fr Edmondus said that he would have no problem making an apology to Mrs Collins and claimed that nothing of this nature had ever happened in any of his subsequent appointments.
13.28 In November 1995, Monsignor Stenson provided the Gardaí with an address for Fr Edmondus and gave them some information about the 1960 complaint.
13.29 Fr Edmondus was referred for an assessment to the Granada Institute. A December 1995 report from Granada recommended that he “be removed from ministry as it is presently constituted” even though Fr Edmondus had said that he had very little exposure to children. This assessment was based on “the escalatory nature of the alleged abuse… the alleged abusive pattern started with what appeared to be good natured innocent fun but was then followed by more sinister demands on the child”.
13.30 In January 1996 a garda report on the complaint by Mrs Collins concluded: “Unfortunately while I would be of the opinion that the events as described by Marie did happen, there is very little evidence available to us to corroborate her allegations apart from Monsignor Stenson‟s statement about the slides. It would be for this reason as well as the considerable time delay in this case that I feel a prosecution against Fr [Edmondus] would be fruitless”.
13.31 This view was shared by the investigating garda, the sergeant, the detective inspector and the detective superintendent. The file was forwarded to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Further meeting with Monsignor Stenson, 1996
13.32 In March 1996, Mrs Collins met Monsignor Stenson again. Mrs Collins was anxious to know whether or not Fr Edmondus had admitted to the allegation which she had made. Monsignor Stenson confirmed that he had. In fact, what Fr Edmondus had said could not be regarded as a clear admission. Monsignor Stenson informed Mrs Collins that Fr Edmondus was not in a parish, was living in a religious house and was receiving therapy. Monsignor Stenson also noted in his record of their meeting that he was “satisfied that she is not out to make difficulties for Fr [Edmondus] or indeed for the Church”.
13.33 Mrs Collins said that at this meeting, Monsignor Stenson indicated that following treatment Fr Edmondus might be returned to a parish. In a subsequent letter, she told Monsignor Stenson that this should not happen. She was also extremely concerned that Monsignor Stenson had not told her earlier that Fr Edmondus had admitted her abuse. She said she should not have been left waiting for five months to find out.
13.34 Fr Edmondus was in fact, contrary to assurances given to Mrs Collins, still a curate in Edenmore and was not immediately removed from ministry. Cardinal Connell told the Commission that
“In the case of [Edmondus] I did not remove him from his parish immediately. I told him he was not to live there and he wasn‟t to minister there. In that sense I took him out of his parish. I left him officially in his position. This gave rise to a lot of trouble from one of the victims there. But the reason I did that of course was because there had been nothing against [Edmondus] for something like 30 years, and it seemed to me a bit too harsh. I did, in the interest of children, I did instruct him not to live there and he was not to minister there”. The "trouble from one of the victims‟ to which the Cardinal referred relates to Mrs Collins‟s campaign to have Fr Edmondus removed from ministry. It should also be noted that it is not correct to say that there had been nothing against Fr Edmondus for 30 years; there had been the concerns expressed in 1993.
13.35 Despite the Archbishop‟s instructions, Fr Edmondus continued to visit the parish frequently and dressed in clerical attire for a number of months. His name remained on the confessional box for a number of months. Cardinal Connell told the Commission that he admonished Fr Edmondus for attending at the parish and not obeying his instructions. The Commission could find no evidence of any monitoring of his activities. His faculties were not formally withdrawn by Archbishop Connell until January 1997. His name remained in the Dublin Diocesan Guidebook56 and he was described as a curate in Edenmore throughout 1996 and 1997.
A new complaint, 1996
13.36 In March 1996, a notification was sent from the Eastern Health Board to the local garda superintendent regarding the alleged sexual abuse by Fr Edmondus of a woman in a Co Wicklow parish when she was a nine year old child. This complainant did not complain to the Archdiocese at this time.
13.37 The Gardaí carried out a thorough investigation of her complaints. They took statements from people whom the woman claimed she had told about the abuse many years previously. Fr Edmondus was interviewed about the allegations and he gave the standard reply that, on the advice of his solicitor, he had nothing to say.
13.38 The Gardaí then looked afresh at the Marie Collins case. She had contacted them further about her case. They felt a number of matters would have to be further investigated:
the question of identification of Fr Edmondus as the person who allegedly assaulted Marie Collins in 1960;
the question of establishing what was contained in the record of the 1960 complaint;
re-interviewing Marie Collins regarding the reference in her statement to slides having been processed in the UK;
putting the claim to Monsignor Stenson that Fr Edmondus admitted the offence to him.
13.39 The Gardaí met Monsignor Stenson in May 1996. They asked him for a copy of the Fr Edmondus file or at least for an opportunity to look at it. He refused stating he would need legal advice first. He said that canon law did not permit him to give permission for the file to be read.
13.40 Monsignor Stenson was also asked about the claim that Fr Edmondus had admitted the offence to him and a letter he wrote to Mrs Collins was shown to him. Monsignor Stenson expressed dismay on seeing the letter, saying that he would not have written that had he known that she would be handing over the letter to the Gardaí.
13.41 Despite having told Mrs Collins that Fr Edmondus had admitted to her abuse Monsignor Stenson refused to make a statement to that effect to the Gardaí.
13.42 In June 1996, Mrs Collins wrote to Archbishop Connell asking him to inform all the parishes in which Fr Edmondus had served that he had admitted child sexual abuse. Nothing was done about this until after his conviction.
13.43 In October 1996, Monsignor Stenson spoke to the priest to whom the original concerns about children in Edenmore had been expressed and which were reported to Bishop Moriarty in 1993. This priest told Monsignor Stenson that Fr Edmondus had an extensive involvement with children and he had a “disastrous” relationship with adults and his fellow priests.
13.44 Monsignor Stenson then interviewed Fr Edmondus about his involvement with these children. Fr Edmondus told him that children aged ten to 12 used to change in his house. He said he did take photographs of them but there was nothing questionable in them. He said that there was absolutely no snooping or touching whatsoever. He said he stopped allowing them to change in his house after Bishop Moriarty spoke to him. It appears that Monsignor Stenson did not ask Fr Edmondus for the photographs.
Health board involvement, 1996
13.45 In November 1996 a meeting between health board officials and Monsignor Stenson took place in Archbishop‟s House. The health board memo notes:
“the meeting was convened by Monsignor Stenson to convey to us concerns he had about children in the Edenmore Parish. Monsignor Stenson did not have hard information on these children, but he wished to share his concerns with us. These concerns centred around possible inappropriate behaviour on behalf of a priest Fr [Edmondus], who used to bring young girls from the Edenmore parish swimming. These girls used to change for swimming in his house and he then brought them swimming…No allegations of any inappropriate behaviour were ever made by these girls or their parents”. These events are said to have happened in the year 1990.
13.46 A number of girls were identified and the health board‟s note stated that: “given the vague nature of this referral, it was agreed that the Eastern Health Board would approach the parents of the girls and make discreet enquiries given the present climate”. However in December 1996 the senior social worker informed Monsignor Stenson that the Eastern Health Board was not able to follow up because of the vagueness of the addresses provided. The girls‟ names were known but their precise addresses were not.
13.47 In December 1996, the case of Fr Edmondus was referred to the advisory panel. The panel recommended the following:
His faculties should be withdrawn.
All priests who served with him should be sounded out in relation to his past behaviour.
The Archbishop should meet Marie Collins and offer a support person.
The correct addresses for the children in Edenmore were to be sent to the health board when they became available; there should be a further meeting with the health board in January 1997 to discuss communication of information policy between the Archdiocese and the health board.
Meeting with Archbishop
13.48 In December 1996, Archbishop Connell met Mrs Collins and her support priest, Fr James Norman. Mrs Collins had approached this priest herself and he generously and selflessly agreed to assist her without seeking prior approval from the Archbishop and notwithstanding the fact that such assistance might put him in conflict with his diocese. When he first began to assist her he was not aware that the Framework Document provided for the assignment of support priests to those who had been abused. Eventually, in November 1996, he was formally appointed to that role in respect of Mrs Collins.
13.49 During this meeting, Archbishop Connell apologised to Mrs Collins for the hurt caused to her. In addition to giving evidence about that meeting, Fr Norman kept a note of it:
“During the meeting Marie raised a letter she sent to the Archbishop on the 4th of June  concerning [Edmondus‟s] future. The Archbishop failed to give an explanation of why he did not reply to this letter except to say that it had raised very difficult questions.
When Marie asked the Archbishop why he had not given a statement to the Gardai confirming that there was another case on file from the 1960s the Archbishop replied that it would undermine people‟s confidence in the Church if they thought that files were being passed to the Gardai, i.e. annulment cases. He also said that the previous case was not serious as it only involved the taking of photographs. Marie outlined in detail how having that type of photograph taken had hurt and damaged her. The Archbishop was very shocked and upset by the story Marie told him […] One of the matters that upset Marie most was the statement by Cardinal Connell that the Framework document was not binding in canon or civil law57 and that therefore he could follow what parts of it he wanted to follow. He claimed the Cardinal told her he had to protect the good name of the priest who had abused her”. The overall conclusion that Fr Norman reached regarding that meeting was that the Archbishop came across as someone who really cared for the victim but had not “got a clue” about how to go about dealing with the reality of the problem.
13.50 In January 1997, Fr Edmondus‟s faculties were withdrawn and he was formally released from the parish. He became a beneficiary of the Diocesan Clerical Fund (see Chapter 8).
13.51 In the meantime Monsignor Stenson was making further inquiries in the parishes where Fr Edmondus had served. He met the two youth workers who had brought their concerns about the activities of Fr Edmondus in Edenmore to the attention of the local priest in 1993. This priest did report to Bishop Moriarty as described above. The youth workers described children saying how “everyone knew about” Fr Edmondus; he hugged children and gave them money. The youth workers felt that the local priest had been dismissive of them when they went back to him. He had said to them that he had done something and there was nothing more he could do. Monsignor Stenson reported this to the health board in February 1997.
13.52 Mrs Collins continued to write to the Archbishop and Monsignor Stenson seeking to have other parishes informed of the activities of Fr Edmondus. She was concerned about the possibility of other victims.
Criminal charges, 1997
13.53 In March 1997 Fr Edmondus was arrested and charged with offences relating to the abuse of a child in a Co Wicklow parish and also the sexual abuse of Mrs Collins. The advisory panel noted that “In the event that these charges are proven the Panel recommends not only that a public statement be made by the Diocese expressing its regret, but also that a proactive programme be developed to alert the parishes in which [Fr Edmondus] had previously worked”.
13.54 In June 1997, Fr Edmondus pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault on Mrs Collins. Some days later he pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault on the girl in the Co Wicklow parish. He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in respect of the assaults on Mrs Collins and nine months imprisonment to run concurrently in respect of the Co Wicklow assaults. In November 1997 the total sentence was reduced on appeal to nine months. Prior to the court case he had met Mrs Collins and he had apologised to her and offered to make a financial contribution to her.
13.55 Following the conviction, in a statement to the media, Archbishop Connell said that the abuse of a child is wrong and evil. He also said that the diocese had been co-operating with the Gardaí. Fr Norman, Mrs Collins‟s priest advisor, told Gardaí that Monsignor Stenson claimed that the diocese never claimed it had co-operated fully, with the emphasis on the word "fully‟, with the Gardaí.
13.56 There were further meetings between the Archdiocese and the health board in respect of the Edenmore concerns but the relevant families were not contacted by the health board even though the Archdiocese was given the impression that they would be. A social worker explained to the Commission that the health board could not go around the area making inquiries as to whether or not a child had been abused. The Gardaí could do that but “the health board has to be extraordinarily careful about invading people's privacy and having as many facts as you can before you broach anything”. In effect it appears that the health board felt unable to take action at the time it was first reported to them. The social worker did contact the Gardaí involved in the criminal cases and was assured that there were no complaints from this area.
13.57 In January 1998, Archbishop Connell explained to Mrs Collins the procedures and factors to be taken into account by the Archdiocese when deciding what should be done with a priest convicted of child abuse. He explained that:
"as long as a priest who has offended remains incardinated in the Diocese, even if removed from ministry, he can receive the supervision and care which he will need to live a life free from further offence. This supervision would involve conditions regarding residence and life-style which would preclude the danger of relapses. In the case of a priest who is dismissed from the clerical state, that care and supervision is no longer possible".
13.58 Marie Collins replied, thanking Archbishop Connell for his letter and commented that the problem was a great deal more involved than she had first imagined. She stated that the letter had helped to ease her mind.
1998 - 2006
13.59 In May 1998, Fr Edmondus was released from prison. A letter from the Archdiocese to the Granada Institute stated that: “The Archbishop has given clear indication that he does not envisage a return to ministry in this case, and so Fr [Edmondus] will be retired under monitored conditions". It is clear that Fr Edmondus did not return to ministry but it is not clear precisely what the monitored conditions were. He was attending the Granada Institute and he was living with members of his family. According to the Granada Institute, part of the monitored conditions were that he was to continue to attend the Granada Institute on a quarterly basis for review, which he did.
13.60 In February 1999, the health board contacted the Archdiocese regarding Fr Edmondus because it was closing old files. The chancellor, Monsignor Dolan and the social worker agreed that “there was very little to be gained in our pursuit of the people in question".
13.61 In February 2001, the Would You Believe programme on RTE television raised the issue of the handling of Mrs Collins‟s complaint and the current arrangements for monitoring Fr Edmondus. Her priest advisor told the Commission that the Archdiocese had been given every opportunity to have a representative go on the programme but would not do so unless the Archdiocese retained editorial control which was not given to it. It issued no apology on the programme to Mrs Collins. This caused her further upset.
13.62 In June 2001, the Archdiocese asked the Granada Institute for a report on Fr Edmondus. Granada reported that he was to receive therapeutic review sessions. The report also stated that "[o]ccasionally he accompanies his sister on shopping trips. He is very much aware of his need to stay away from contact with children and he is meticulous in observing this". It is not at all clear how Granada could have known this other than by accepting what they were told by Fr Edmondus.
13.63 In July 2002, a health board social worker telephoned the Archdiocese to inquire whether Prime Time had been in contact with the diocese regarding a programme which was to focus on the activities of Fr Edmondus in Edenmore. According to a note of the conversation made by the Archdiocese at the time, the social worker told the Archdiocese that she had told Prime Time that the health board had no contact other than conversations with the diocese. Again, according to the archdiocesan note, she also told the Archdiocese that she "wanted to make sure that the Diocese and the Health Board were singing from the same hymn sheet". She confirmed to the Archdiocese that nothing surfaced from the health board inquiries of that time and nothing had come to their attention since. In fact, no health board inquiries were made at the earlier stage. The social worker concerned emphatically denied, in an affidavit supplied to the Commission, that she had ever used the words quoted. She said the health board file shows that it was intended that she would contact the Archdiocese “to establish the state of information given to Prime Time”.
13.64 At this stage, some five years after they had first been notified, and, it appears to the Commission, solely because of the publicity engendered by the Prime Time programme, the senior officials in the health board decided to write to three girls from Edenmore – all of whom were now adults. One replied and told the health board that she had not been abused. The others did not reply. Again, the social worker has taken issue with the Commission‟s view that the decision to write to the girls was motivated by the publicity. It appears to the Commission that that decision was taken, not by the social worker, but by the health board management.
13.65 It is notable that senior health board managers, including the chief executive of the Northern Area Health Board, only became involved in dealing with the issues in Edenmore after those issues were raised by Prime Time.
13.66 Similarly, after the Prime Time programme, the Gardaí made further inquiries in Edenmore.
13.67 Complaints in relation to Fr Edmondus continued to emerge.
13.68 After a considerable delay and much annoyance to her, Mrs Collins‟s civil claim, which was principally related to medical expenses, was settled by the Archdiocese. A settlement was also reached with the victim from Co Wicklow. Fr Edmondus made a personal contribution to the second settlement.
The Commission’s assessment The Archdiocese
13.69 This case was very badly handled by Archbishop McQuaid. Archbishop McQuaid‟s conclusion that Fr Edmondus‟s actions arose merely from a “wonderment” about the female anatomy is risible. The Commission considers there are two possible explanations for this stated view. Either Archbishop McQuaid could not deal with the fact that a priest who was in a privileged position of chaplain to a children‟s hospital fundamentally abused that position and sexually exploited vulnerable young children awaiting treatment or he needed an explanation which would deal with Bishop Dunne‟s justifiable concern and which would also justify not reporting the matter to Rome. The Commission considers that the second explanation is the more likely one.
13.70 This case has a special significance because it was one of the earliest in the Commission‟s remit. The apparent cancellation by Archbishop McQuaid of his original plan to pursue the priest through the procedures of canon law was a disaster. It established a pattern of not holding abusers accountable which lasted for decades. Firmer treatment of this priest might have avoided much abuse in the future. The Archbishop and Bishop Dunne had no doubt that a serious crime had been committed but avoided taking any action as that would have involved Rome becoming involved in the case. The Archbishop appointed Bishop Dunne to investigate the case and, in the Commission‟s view, promptly undermined him in his position.
13.71 In the Commission‟s view, Archbishop McQuaid‟s actions fell very short of what should have been done. Given that he was fully aware of the 1922 instruction, there was no justification for his failure to set up a proper canonical process to deal with the matter. In fact, he deliberately manipulated the situation in a manner that did not involve him reporting the matter to Rome. No attempt was made to put protocols in place for chaplains throughout the many hospitals in which they were working in the Dublin Archdiocese and no attempt was made to monitor Fr Edmondus in other placements.
13.72 Archbishop Connell and several other priests also handled the case badly. The reaction of the local curate to the revelation of abuse by Mrs Collins in 1985 was inadequate. How he could have formed a view that she might be feeling guilty and in need of absolution when, in fact, she was disclosing abuse is difficult for the Commission to understand.
13.73 His assertion that, as priests, they had been advised in college not to seek the names of priests against whom allegations were being made in a spiritual or counselling context is a cause of great concern to the Commission. Such an attitude would explain in large measure the many appalling deficiencies in the Church‟s handling of complaints of child sexual abuse over the years. Even if he himself did not wish to hear the full details of her complaint, he should have arranged for her to see his parish priest or another person who was in a position to deal with the complaint.
13.74 When concerns emerged from Edenmore in 1993, Archbishop Connell did not check if there were other complaints. This failure meant that the concerns were not taken as seriously as they should have been. There was no proper investigation of these concerns. For example, the youth workers who first raised them were not even interviewed at the time.
13.75 Archbishop Connell and Monsignor Stenson, while they were personally kind in their dealings with Mrs Collins, were not initially open with her. They failed to tell her that there was a pre-existing complaint and other concerns. Like many of those abused, she was thus isolated and left to believe that she was the only one who had complained.
13.76 Monsignor Stenson‟s failure to disclose all available information to the Gardaí is a cause of concern to the Commission. There was no doubt that Monsignor Stenson believed that Mrs Collins had been abused by Fr Edmondus. In the Commission‟s view, he should have been far more forthright with the Gardaí, but felt precluded from doing so by canon law. He left Mrs Collins in a difficult situation by telling her that the priest had admitted her abuse and then not acknowledging that to the Gardaí.
13.77 The Marie Collins case was reported to the diocese at the same time as the Framework Document was being implemented. The handling of this case by the Archdiocese demonstrates that the church guidelines which were set out in the Framework Document were not being implemented at this time by the Dublin Archdiocese. In particular the Archdiocese failed to notify her of her entitlement to have a support person to assist her in her dealings with the Archdiocese, nor did they provide a support priest for her. It was 11 months after the date for implementing the Framework Document before Fr Norman, whom she herself had approached to help her with her faith, was formally appointed as her priest support. Even when appointed, little information and no training on the role of support priest was given to Fr Norman. Monsignor Stenson points out that the Framework Document was not published until January 1996. He accepts that a support structure was not put in place in accordance with that document until sometime between November 1996 and February 1997. He said he was satisfied from conversations that he had with Fr Norman that he was providing, albeit at an informal level, support for Mrs Collins.
13.78 The Commission is particularly concerned that the Archdiocese seems to have been in breach of the guideline which states: “If the bishop or religious superior is satisfied that child sexual abuse has occurred, appropriate steps should be taken to ensure that the accused priest or religious does not remain in any pastoral appointment which affords access to children”. The fact that Fr Edmondus was allowed to wear clerical attire, attend at the parish frequently and fulfil parish functions, despite having been allegedly removed from the parish by the Archbishop, was particularly worrying. Cardinal Connell told the Commission that it was not his fault that Fr Edmondus did not obey instructions. Unfortunately this comment again underlines the failure of the Archdiocese to properly monitor priests who are disciplined.
13.79 Everything that Mrs Collins managed to extract from the Archdiocese over the years in relation to the handling of child sexual abuse was given grudgingly and always after a struggle. Mrs Collins now believes, on the basis of bitter experience, that her Church cannot be trusted to deal properly with complaints of child sexual abuse and that legal measures are required to ensure compliance by the Church with proper standards of child protection. The Commission also notes that, notwithstanding her own reservations in the matter, there is no doubt that Mrs Collins, in her brave and often lonely campaign to show the Archdiocese how it had erred in its handling of child sexual abuse cases, was instrumental in changing the Archdiocese‟s understanding and handling of these cases and of bringing about a far greater atmosphere of openness about the incidence and handling of child sexual abuse.
13.80 There is no evidence that the Garda Commissioner investigated the initial complaint that was forwarded to him from the UK authorities in 1960. The Commission considers that it was totally inappropriate and a breach of duty for the Garda Commissioner to simply hand over the complaint to Archbishop McQuaid without carrying out any thorough investigation.
13.81 The Gardaí handled the subsequent complaints properly. They took great care and patience with their investigations.
13.82 The first complaint that came to the attention of the health board was the complaint from Co Wicklow. The health board in that area acted appropriately by reporting the matter to the Gardaí.
13.83 The health board‟s promises to act and subsequent failure to do so in relation to the Edenmore concerns are worrying. The health board may not have had the power to make further inquiries in Edenmore but the impression that further inquiries would be made was undoubtedly given to the Archdiocese. It is extraordinary that the health board did find the will and the capacity to act, and act at the highest level, when the Prime Time programme began to inquire about the matter.
14.1 Fr Phineas served in the Archdiocese of Dublin in the 1960s and 1970s. He has been laicised for over 20 years. There are two allegations of child sexual abuse against him. These were made in 2005. However, there is evidence that concerns were expressed to the diocesan authorities and to a religious order at the time of the alleged abuse in the 1960s. Fr Phineas strenuously denies the allegations.
14.2 Two women together made allegations to a priest in June 2005. These allegations concerned a number of priests. The priest to whom the allegations were reported contacted the Archdiocese.
14.3 The allegations made by this complainant are not very clear. She alleged that Fr Phineas “abused all the girls and got a nun pregnant”. She alleged that the then parish priest of the area where the abuse allegedly occurred was aware of her abuse by Fr Phineas and was instrumental in her committal into state care. She also alleged that the nun responsible for sending children to institutional care knew about the abuse. Philip Garland, the director of the Child Protection Service in the Archdiocese met the complainant. She stated that the abuse occurred when she was six years old in the early 1970s.
14.4 The veracity of this complainant was later seriously undermined when it emerged in a later interview with the second complainant, that the first complainant had been pressuring the second complainant to say that they were both in the priest‟s car when the priest abused the second complainant.
14.5 The second complainant alleged that she had been abused by Fr Phineas approximately 40 years previously (in the 1960s). After making her initial complaint in June 2005 she returned to the UK and was not in contact for a number of months. She contacted the Archdiocese again in November 2005. She said that the priest to whom she had reported in June 2005 had given her the number of the Church‟s counselling service, Faoiseamh, but that she was having trouble contacting the organisation. She also said she had made a statement to the Gardaí. Mr Garland maintained contact with her and she told him later that she was now having counselling through Faoiseamh. She also spoke of the abuse which involved touching and said it would have occurred around 1969.
14.6 In April 2006, Mr Garland met this complainant in the UK. She told Mr Garland that she had gone to the Garda Station to make a statement. She had not, in fact, made the statement as she was not ready to do so.
14.7 The Archdiocese reported the case to the Gardaí and the HSE. The matters had not been resolved by the end of 2007.
The Commission’s Assessment
14.8 The priest to whom the allegations were reported and the Archdiocese dealt properly with these complaints.
15.1 Fr Vidal was ordained in the 1960s for a diocese in the UK. He served in the Archdiocese of Dublin for approximately ten years in the 1960s and 1970s. He died in 2004.
15.2 Almost immediately after he was ordained Fr Vidal began to experience problems with celibacy and he had affairs with a number of women. He moved away from the UK diocese apparently to try to escape one of his entanglements. He applied for laicisation in the late 1960s but did not go through with the process. He then decided that he wished to remain a priest.
15.3 He contacted Archbishop McQuaid to see if he could get work as a priest in the Archdiocese of Dublin. His bishop wrote to Archbishop McQuaid saying “As you will appreciate, it will not be advisable for him to work in this diocese again”. He did not elaborate on the reason but it would seem that the Archbishop McQuaid was aware of a problem and the nature of it. It was hoped that he could eventually be incardinated in Dublin but that never happened.
First complaint, 1973
15.4 Fr Vidal began work as a priest in the Dublin Archdiocese in 1968. In 1973, a nun reported to the Archdiocese that Fr Vidal was involved with both an adult woman, who was a teacher, and a girl aged 12 – 14. He had started these relationships sometime between 1968 and 1971. The nun had letters which suggested that the relationship with the young girl was sexual. In an undated letter to another nun, with whom it appears that the priest was also friendly, the girl said she was in love with Fr Vidal. During his laicisation process in 1979, Fr Vidal accepted that there was a physical relationship with this girl from the time she was about 13.
15.5 When this report came to the Archdiocese, the Archbishop‟s secretary, Canon McMahon, correctly noted that “the most serious aspect is the age of [the girl]”. It would appear that Archbishop Ryan asked a parish priest to investigate. In his report, the parish priest said: “Basically, I think we must accept that [Fr Vidal] has been at least guilty of conduct which was indiscreet, improper and open to grave scandal”. He went on to say: “It is not necessary to accept everything that has been said against him – the details are of little account - but there is sufficient evidence to justify a warning to a priest accused of such attitudes and conduct that he would seem to have gravely compromised his priesthood.”
15.6 The parish priest then set out his views as to how the matter should be dealt with. Fr Vidal
“should be seen and informed that His Grace the Archbishop has received a report concerning his conduct with a very young girl. No charge should be made, no details given and the source of the information should not be disclosed… No matter how the interview goes or how he reacts, he needs to be handled firmly, but with kindness and patience…he has been accepted on a temporary basis in this Diocese, which in itself is a great kindness. Finally, he should be instructed 1, not to visit the [young girl‟s] home ever again or to meet [the young girl] and 2, that he must be extremely careful in future with his relations with women.”
15.7 The parish priest then met Fr Vidal. Fr Vidal denied any impropriety. He stated that he was fully aware that the young girl had a crush on him but that it had not been reciprocated and that his relationship with the teacher was entirely platonic. He agreed to keep away from the young girl. The parish priest told him that he expected that his assurances about his future conduct would be accepted by the Archbishop. It does appear that these assurances were accepted as nothing further was done.
Application for laicisation
15.8 In 1977, Fr Vidal was granted leave of absence because of a “growing spiritual and vocational crisis”. About a year later he decided to apply for laicisation. Bishop O‟Mahony sent him for a psychological assessment. This assessment was unequivocal. It recognised that he was promiscuous and that he “never did, never could and never will” sustain a life of celibacy. The psychologist recommended that it would be in the best interests of the Church for him to be laicised.
15.9 Accordingly in 1979 the petition for laicisation was put in motion. The process was handled by Bishop O‟Mahony. During the laicisation process, Fr Vidal admitted to his various relationships with women. He said that he had never ended the relationship with the young girl. She was now in her early 20s and he was planning to marry her. Despite his earlier denials to the Church inquiry, he admitted that they had had a physical relationship since she was about 13.
15.10 The laicisation petition was sent to Rome in October 1980. No decision was made because, when Rome sought further information, the circumstances had changed.
15.11 The couple did marry in 1980. The ceremony was conducted by a priest of the Archdiocese even though it would appear that Fr Vidal was not free to enter into a Catholic marriage. It was, however, a valid civil marriage.
Return to ministry
15.12 In 1985, Fr Vidal contacted Bishop O‟Mahony and told him that the marriage had broken down and that he wished to return to ministry. Bishop O‟Mahony told the Commission that he shredded his file on Fr Vidal after the priest‟s death so there is no documentation available about his dealings with Fr Vidal in the 1980s. In 2006, Bishop O‟Mahony recounted what had happened to the priest delegate of the Archdiocese. The bishop said that he sent Fr Vidal to a monastery to consider his situation. After a month there, the monks were supportive of his wish to return to ministry. Bishop O‟Mahony then sent Fr Vidal and his wife for counselling and they formally separated.
Diocese of Sacramento
15.13 Bishop O‟Mahony arranged for Fr Vidal to go to the diocese of Sacramento, California. He wrote a letter of commendation to that diocese. The diocese of Sacramento has confirmed to the Commission that this letter made no mention whatsoever of Fr Vidal‟s previous activities. There is no evidence that Bishop O‟Mahony told anyone else in the Archdiocese of Dublin about the arrangements he had made at the time (1985) nor that he was in contact with Fr Vidal‟s UK diocese. Such evidence may have been in Bishop O‟Mahony‟s shredded file. Subsequent letters from Fr Vidal‟s UK diocese suggest that it was not aware of his going to Sacramento but this is not absolutely certain. The decision to allow him to resume ministry was made in spite of the earlier unequivocal view of the psychologist about his incapacity to maintain celibacy.
15.14 Fr Vidal‟s wife subsequently married another man in a Catholic Church ceremony. In order to allow her to have a church ceremony, she was given a statement in 1991 by Monsignor Stenson that the 1980 marriage was not, in fact, a valid Catholic marriage. She got a divorce from Fr Vidal after the divorce laws were introduced in Ireland in 1996.
15.15 Bishop O‟Mahony remained in contact with Fr Vidal. In 1991, the bishop of the UK diocese was in contact with the Archdiocese because Fr Vidal now sought to be incardinated into the Sacramento diocese. There is a series of correspondence in the archdiocesan files between Sacramento, Dublin and the UK diocese as to how and when Fr Vidal should be incardinated as he had never been incardinated in Dublin. Finally it was decided that the UK diocese would excardinate him and that Sacramento would incardinate him directly. The Archdiocese provided Fr Vidal with a statement outlining his involvement in the Archdiocese. This statement included the information that he had become involved with a girl whom he had civilly married. It did not mention her age when he first became sexually involved with her.
15.16 Fr Vidal got a divorce in California in 1992. The diocese of Sacramento was unaware that he was civilly married when he went there. He continued to minister as a priest in Sacramento. There were no complaints of child sexual abuse against him in this diocese. He retired to Ireland in 2003 and he died in 2004.
Bishop O’Mahony documents
15.17 The Commission‟s analysis of this case was hampered by the absence of records of the communications between Bishop O‟Mahony and Fr Vidal.
15.18 Bishop O‟Mahony told the Commission that he started to shred documents in 2001 when he was ill. These were documents which had arisen while he was dealing with a confidential matter: “Any document that a priest came and spoke to me in a private, confidential capacity, about a spiritual matter of conscience, I felt that no one had a right after I was dead to see those documents. I shred them”.
15.19 He also told the Commission that the only documents in relation to child sexual abuse that he shredded were the documents relating to Fr Vidal. He shredded these because the priest had died:
“I felt that I had a duty to protect his good name and protect the good name of [the girl he married], who had subsequently married. Her marriage is recognised by Church and State. So I regarded the [Fr Vidal] case as very much a good news story. That the priest went back into active ministry and the girl in question, who was a young woman when I met her, married happily and her marriage is recognised civilly and canonically. [This reference is to her second marriage.] So for me that was a good news story”.
The Commission’s assessment
15.20 The Commission does not consider that this is a “good news story”. The Commission finds it extraordinary that nothing was done about Fr Vidal‟s relationship with a teenage girl other than to ask for an assurance that he would end it.
15.21 The Commission is very concerned that Fr Vidal was allowed to return to ministry in spite of his admission of child sexual abuse. It is particularly concerned that Bishop O‟Mahony did not provide the diocese of Sacramento with any information about Fr Vidal‟s adverse history. It also has concerns that little weight seems to have been given to the fact that he was civilly married and had responsibilities associated with that state. The fact that there are no further reports of abuse and that he subsequently divorced his wife without the knowledge of the diocese of Sacramento and reached an amicable settlement with her does not detract from these concerns.
52 Names marked with an asterisk are pseudonyms.
53 Gee is Dublin slang for female genitalia.
54 This is a pseudonym.
55 In fact, Fr Edmondus had a sister so either he was clearly not telling the whole truth to the Archbishop or the Archbishop chose to ignore it.
56 This is published annually by the Archdiocese and includes, among other things, the names of the priests serving in the various parishes and other services of the Archdiocese.
57 This is an accurate statement (see Chapter 7).
58 This is a pseudonym.
59 This is a pseudonym.