October 26, 2005

Moves to punish clergy failing to prevent child abuse


A new law will be brought in to punish clergymen and others who fail to take steps to prevent child sex abuse, Justice Minister Michael McDowell insisted today.

Mr McDowell vowed to act on recommendations of the Ferns Inquiry which called for gardai to have tougher powers to prosecute those who failed to protect youngsters.

"There is a suggestion that there should be a new criminal offence relating to engaging in conduct that creates a substantive risk of bodily injury or sexual abuse to a child, or failing to take steps to alleviate that risk," the Minister said.

"The report says that we should follow that and I think that we should have the means at our disposal to prevent further damage to children."

Mr McDowell said there was an onus on every church in the country, not just Catholic clergy, to have procedures in place to protect children and the vulnerable from abusers.

Posted by kshaw at October 26, 2005 08:09 AM