A priest for the wrong reasons

A MAN was deemed to be entering priesthood for “the wrong reasons” and scored very highly on the psychosis scale, but then went on to be suspected of abusing children after spiking their drinks in three Cloyne parishes.

The commission said the history of concerns and complaints against Fr Calder was very confusing.

He served in three parishes in Cloyne, after the initial psychological assessment in 1978, before he was suspended in 1997. He remains on the payroll of the diocese and lived on a house on the grounds of a local nursing home.

The commission was made aware of three accusations of child sexual abuse by people who knew the victims, but there were inconsistencies in the accounts because the children involved did not come forward.

In one case a mother told her GP that she found Fr Calder in bed with her 15-year-old son. But later, when the boy was spoken to by gardaí, he denied sexual assault.

Another incident was relayed to gardaí and supposedly involved two teenagers who ran out of petrol and called to Fr Calder for help. It was alleged the priest brought the 15-year-old boy into his kitchen and offered him whiskey. The boy refused and was sexually assaulted before running out of the house. However, the account given by a garda, who was aware of the case, changed dramatically between 1997 and 2009 so the commission could not establish what exactly happened.

It said the discrepancies in the garda’s report in 1997, a statement he made in 1998, and the evidence he offered in 2009 were “both striking and worrying”.

The commission was unsure whether the boys were underage or in their 20s when the incident happened.

In a case in 1988 a young man told his doctor and solicitor that Fr Calder spiked his drink and abused him. Ten years later this man, and five others, told gardaí they were plied with alcohol while young adults. Three of them alleged to have been sexually assaulted.

Fr Calder then admitted he passed them drink and that two of them stayed at his house, but denied assaulting them. The Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to pursue the case because of the delay in making the complaints.

When the priest was eventually assessed at the Granada Institute, the report referred back to Cloyne said “[Fr Calder] displayed a constellation of emotional and personal characteristics which had been found in people who seek to satisfy their unacceptable sexual needs in surreptitious ways”.

He was retired to a nun-run nursing home, despite being in his mid-40s, where nurses complained he accessed pornographic jokes on the internet and had young men in his room late at night.

The nuns’ superior complained to Bishop John Magee she or the nurses had not been kept aware of the allegations against Fr Calder.

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