DPP not to prosecute bishop over complaint

THE Director of Public Prosecutions has decided against prosecuting former Bishop of Cloyne John Magee for reckless endangerment.

A full Garda investigation was carried out following a complaint made by a retired school teacher in January last year. The investigation included bringing the former bishop in for questioning.

In the aftermath of the publication of the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) report in December 2008, the teacher lodged a complaint with the North Cork Garda division, under the Endangerment of Children Act 2006, that he believed the bishop had endangered children by failing to fully inform Gardaí of abuse complaints made against priests.

In his decision not to prosecute, the DPP declared “there is no evidence as to the commission of an offence in respect of the issues raised”.

The retired school teacher last night said he “was very disappointed by the decision but was not giving up”.

“I firmly believe that if a school principal had taken such an approach to child protection that they would be charged with reckless endangerment,” he said.

One of the victims whose child sexual abuse was highlighted in the NBSC report said she “wasn’t remotely surprised” the DPP hadn’t decided to prosecute as he had “repeatedly returned Garda files relating to Father B”.

The 2008 NBSC report found that “child protection practice [in the diocese]… was in some respects dangerous” and the diocese could be accused of “potentially exposing vulnerable people to further harm”.

It also accused the diocese of “a policy of minimal co-operation with Gardaí”.

The Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation is due to hand over its report into the handling of child abuse complaints in Cloyne to the Department of Justice over the coming days.

But when the report will be made public is as of yet unknown.


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