Elderly stroke patient’s claims of abuse not adequately checked

THE Diocese of Cloyne failed to adequately investigate claims by an elderly stroke patient that he was abused as a child in a priest’s home after confession.

The Murphy Commission has found that Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan and Bishop John Magee did not go to “some trouble” to uncover details about the case.

In Chapter 19 of the report, the commission said a man given the pseudonym “Paul”, who has since died, wrote to Cardinal Desmond O’Connell in January 2003 detailing attacks as a child.

The man said he was “abused by a priest” in the cleric’s house as a young boy after confession — which he only went to in order to avoid “four slaps if I didn’t”.

The letter was short as the alleged victim had suffered a debilitating stroke.

It was referred to Mgr O’Callaghan who visited Paul in a nursing home to, “I hope, put his mind at ease”.

He said Paul — who previously suffered a stroke — was unable to identify his attacker.

A decision was made not to probe further as the cleric “did not want to distress him”.

The commission has concluded that the diocese failed to adequately address this complaint, including checking which priests were based in Paul’s locality at the time of the alleged offence.

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