Gardaí are investigating photographs posted online of two men, one dressed as a priest, engaged in sex acts on an altar of a rural Catholic church.
It is not clear when the photographs were taken but they recently emerged online and appear to show sex acts taking place in St Bartholomew’s Church in Kildorrery, which is close to the Cork-Limerick border. Neither man is identifiable.
Kildorrery parish priest Fr Eamon Kelleher confirmed that the pictures seem to have been taken in his church. However, he said they could have been Photoshopped to make it appear that way, so gardaí have been asked to investigate their authenticity.
The Garda press office confirmed that a report was made on May 2 to Cobh Garda Station in relation to the incident and that “investigations are ongoing”. Cobh is the administrative centre for the Diocese of Cloyne.
The photographs are said to contain images of men engaged in a number of sex acts on and around the altar.
They were also sent to Bishop William Crean, who is in charge of the Diocese of Cloyne. Fr Kelleher said it is his understanding that it was Bishop Crean who contacted the gardaí.
Fr Kelleher said that the people of Kildorrery are “shocked and saddened” at the possibility that the photographs could have been taken inside their church.
“But that won’t let it come between them and their love of God and their faith. The people are coming to daily mass here and as far as they are concerned their church is still a holy place.”
He said he does not know if the photographs “were manipulated” but to him, it looks like his church.
“We don’t know if they’re Photoshopped or real, I just want the [garda] investigation to take its course. Gardaí will try to determine if the photographs are genuine, or faked and try and identify who was in them and when and where they were taken.”
Garda sources last night said they believe that the pictures may be genuine and may have been taken in the church in Kildorrey.