May 04, 2005

Parish cash for sex row priest

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By Clare Weir

04 May 2005
A Dungiven parish was plunged into fresh controversy today after it was revealed that a priest at the centre of a sex abuse allegation will return to accept the proceeds of a collection held on his behalf.

Over 2,000 churchgoers have already signed a petition of support for Fr Andrew McCloskey, who was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

He took leave of absence as curate of St Patrick's church after an allegation that he assaulted an 18-year-old in 1992, who was subsequently awarded 19,000 in an out of court settlement.

It is understood the teenager was receiving counselling for sexual abuse from Fr McCloskey at a parochial house in Derry at the time of the alleged incident.

Bishop of Derry Seamus Hegarty blamed alcohol for Fr McCloskey's problems at the time, while the priest admitted he was at the centre of allegations to a packed church in January.

The Catholic Church came under fire for allowing the priest to continue parochial duties after the initial allegation, including working with a group offering counselling to abuse victims.

Posted by kshaw at May 4, 2005 05:55 PM