October 27, 2005

Diocese has had 26 alleged child abusers, says bishop

The Times

By David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent

AN IRISH bishop has admitted the extent of child sex abuse allegations against priests in his diocese, revealing yesterday that 26 have been accused in 40 years.

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Derry, the Most Rev Seamus Hegarty, held an unprecedented press conference two days after the publication of an Irish Government report into the Diocese of Ferns, Co Wicklow, which was revealed as having the world’s highest rate of clerical abuse allegations.

But Bishop Hegarty’s figures surpassed even those for Ferns, albeit for a slightly longer time period. While the Ferns report investigated more than 100 allegations made against 21 priests, the Diocese of Derry has five more priests under suspicion. Only one has been successfully prosecuted.

The bishop’s statement is the first time that an Irish diocese has voluntarily revealed the results of an audit of clerical sex allegations and is in stark contrast to the secrecy that has prevailed until now. It raises serious questions over the extent of clerical sex abuse in Ireland’s 26 dioceses.

Posted by kshaw at October 27, 2005 08:28 PM