October 25, 2005

Bishops did little to protect vulnerable children


By David Sharrock

THE most notorious child abuser in the Diocese of Ferns, Father Sean Fortune, was facing 29 charges of sexual abuse when he killed himself in 1999.

He was awaiting trial on indecent assault and buggery offences relating to eight boys. When he came to his first parish, Fethard-on-Sea in the late 1970s, Fortune already had a background of child sex abuse allegations while at the St Peterís College seminary in Wexford town. He was allowed to set up local youth groups.

Parishioners organised a delegation to two bishops and wrote to the Papal Nuncio, the Popeís ambassador in Ireland but nothing happened. Bishop Brendan Comiskey knew of the allegations when he was appointed to the diocese in 1983, but Fortune was allowed to continue until 1993 before he was removed.

He then sent Fortune to London to study media and communications and to seek therapy. Two years later, Fortune was posted as curate in another parish. He was also made the director of a Catholic media organisation, theAbuse Tracker Association of Community Broadcasting. He later raped a 15-year-old boy in a studio.

Posted by kshaw at October 25, 2005 07:20 PM