Monday, April 30, 2012

Priest told to leave post after gardai get new case details

A PRIEST named in the Murphy Report was asked to step aside from his ministry in February after new information relating to an allegation of child sexual abuse emerged.

The Dublin diocese confirmed that the priest, given the pseudonym of Fr Benito in the report, had been asked to leave his post after new information relating to abuse allegations made to gardai in September 2001 was passed on to authorities.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said that the new information relating to the allegations, which was received by child protection services, gardai and HSE just before Christmas, resulted in him reassessing the allegations against Fr Benito, before asking him to leave his ministry.

However, he said he could not inform the parish pastoral council, made up of members of the community, or the parish's child safeguarding officer of the allegations until recently because of legal restrictions.

The decision not to pass on the information resulted in the child safeguarding representative resigning, because she was not informed that a priest who could potentially pose a risk to children was living in the parish. She had served for over a decade.

Dr Martin said she was not told of the new information because he was restricted from sharing so-called 'soft' information, which was not sufficient to result in a conviction in court.

He said the case was a "classic example of the lacunas that exist in our current legislation", and that new laws needed to be introduced which would allow the information to be shared.

The Department of Justice last night said it was not aware of any legal reason why the Dublin diocese could not inform its child safeguarding representative that a priest was on "restricted ministry".

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