Diocese criticised for refusing to give victim apology

A LEADING advocacy group for sex abuse victims said it was deeply disappointed by the refusal of Clogher Diocese to apologise to a victim it paid compensation to just five months ago.

Director of One in Four, Maeve Lewis, also pointed out that the diocese had broken several of the Church’s child protection guidelines by allowing the accused priest, who had been taken out of active ministry, to officiate at First Communion ceremonies in Co Monaghan and to remain sitting on the board of management of the local school. They also failed the victim and breached further church guidelines by never offering the victim counselling or pastoral care.

The priest had been accused of sexually abusing the girl for 10 years from when she was aged between eight and 18 years.

The Catholic Church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children has also been informed of these child protection breaches.

The victim said she was left feeling “isolated” and “very let down and hurt” by the way she was treated by the diocese.

“With all the investigations that have gone on in recent years, they have still learnt nothing,” she said.

The diocese of Clogher, which comprises of Monaghan, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Donegal, refused to give the written apology last November when they were making an out-of-court settlement with the victim.

One in Four said that due to the statute of limitations victims are often under strong pressure to settle civil cases outside court if a prolonged period of time has passed since the victim became aware of the offence perpetrated against them.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Clogher has not been made available to the Irish Examiner to discuss the matter.

Last night, Maeve Lewis said that for many of their clients, monetary compensation ” is not the issue” — and that the apology is much more important. What victims are seeking is an acknowledgement of the harm that has been done”.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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