Gardaí confirmed that “full and thorough” investigations were carried out into each of the allegations levelled against Fr A and Fr B, both priests in the Cloyne diocese.
But after examining one substantial Garda file in relation to Fr A and three files in relation to Fr B, the DPP directed that neither priest should face criminal prosecution. The DPP’s decisions were not made public.
The first complaint against Fr A was made in December 2004 by another priest of the diocese. He identified his alleged abuser as Fr A in May 2005 and said he had been abused as a young boy by Fr A, a parish priest.
Six months later, on November 19, 2005, Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan wrote to the then Garda Superintendent in north Cork, Barry McPolin, informing him that a complaint had been received against a priest in the diocese.
The letter named the victim but not the alleged abuser. It did state that he was a priest of the diocese.
A Garda investigation began under Supt McPolin, who was routinely transferred to another Garda division a few months later. The investigation continued under Supt Pat McCarthy.
The first noted that the complaint against Fr B was received by Bishop John Magee in early 1995 when a woman and her father alleged that Fr B had sexually abused her.
The matter was submitted to the Diocesan Child Protection Management Committee on July 4, 1995, but the victim did not want to report the matter to gardaí.
A further complaint was received by the diocese on September 4, 1996, when an adult woman expressed her concern about the relationship that Fr B had with her 14-year-old son.
Fr B was described as overly affectionate to the boy and would give him expensive gifts. He was once observed kissing him.
Another complainant wrote to the bishop on December 9, 1997, alleging that Fr B sexually abused her during a youth retreat at St Dominic’s in Ennismore.
She alleged the abuse took place during confession conducted in a bedroom at the retreat house.
In January 2003, the adult woman and her son, who was now 21, complained about Fr B again. The matter was finally referred to the gardaí for investigation.
On November 17, 2005, a new complainant contacted the diocese with allegations of serious sexual abuse by Fr B from when she was 13, which involved full sexual intercourse, and claiming the abuse lasted until she was 18.
This matter was also reported to gardaí.
Supt McCarthy said each of the allegations relating to both priests were investigated “fully and thoroughly”.
“Substantial and comprehensive Garda files were prepared. We took the investigations as far as possible and all possible evidence was gathered,” he said.
A single Garda file in relation to Fr A was forwarded to the DPP in November 2006 but the DPP directed in February 2007 that no prosecution should follow.
Three substantial files relating to allegations against Fr B were forwarded to the DPP some time later and in each of the cases, the DPP directed that no prosecution should follow.
Supt McCarthy confirmed that there are no current investigations relating to alleged child abuse by priests in the Cloyne diocese.