Inertia, inadequate and inappropriate responses failed victims of clerical child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne
Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
The Cloyne Report tells us that in order to afford our children protection from clerical sexual abuse “institutional structures need to be sufficiently embedded to ensure that they survive uncommitted and ineffective personnel….Cloyne had an uncommitted delegate/director of child protection and an ineffective Bishop for the period 1996-2009.”
According to the report, approximately 40 people were affected by clerical child sexual abuse during this period. The report deals with allegations against 19 clerics.
This is a terrible indictment of the inertia that was present in the Cloyne diocese towards child protection. While the Bishop of Cloyne John Magee, accepted verbally the Catholic Church’s Framework Document (Catholic Church’s Guidelines for Child Protection 1996) and assured the Minister for Children in 2005 and the Health Authorities that guidelines “were fully in place and fully complied with”; according to the Cloyne Report this was ‘false’.
Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, Chief Executive of DRCC said: “Here is another report which makes for unbelievable reading in relation to how the Catholic Church dealt with allegations of child sexual abuse by clerics in the diocese of Cloyne. There is no excuse of being on a ‘learning curve’ this time. The Church’s own Child Protection Guidelines were in place from 1996, yet the report tells us time and time again, that the implementation of the policies and procedures was inadequate and inappropriate. It was not until 2008 that the diocese began to follow proper procedures.
Throughout this period the child protection delegate Monsignor O’Callaghan acted for both complainants and accused priests despite the fact that the Framework Document recommended independent advisory panels or committees to deal with complaints of this nature. While he believed the complainants, he admitted to favouring the protection of the accused cleric over the protection of the complainants. Monsignor O’Callaghan favoured the Vatican’s position of giving the Irish Bishops permission to ignore the Framework Document.
The report concluded that Cloyne’s response to allegations of clerical childhood sexual abuse “were inadequate and inappropriate.” The Health Authorities response was “adequate and appropriate” given the information they had. The Gardai “generally responded adequately and appropriately” with three exceptions.
The publication of this report will again reopen the wounds of the victims involved and other victims around the country who had similar experiences. It may also trigger people’s memories for the first time.
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