May 02, 2005

Belfast priest criticized for defending child-abuser

Catholic World News

Belfast, May. 02 ( - A Belfast priest has come under fire for claiming a convicted child-molestor didn't really know what he was doing and was therefore "an innocent man."

Jude Lynch, a former head teacher of Good Shepherd Primary School in Londonderry, was sentenced to four years in prison on April 29 after pleading guilty to 33 sexual offenses against three teenagers boys, including indecent assault and gross indecency.

During the case, Father Michael Collins, a parish priest from Limavady and a family friend, said of Lynch: "He has lived all his life in a structured society where there are moral expectations but he moved out of that environment into a murky world. He is an innocent man."

But a counselling organisation for sex-abuse victims has criticized the priest's comments. Helena Bracken, regional manager of the Nexus Institute, said the remarks by Father Collins were disappointing and offensive to the victims of sexual abuse.

Posted by kshaw at May 2, 2005 04:48 PM