Report: Irish diocese failed to crack down on abusive priests

April 25, 2013 at 12:39 AM
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DUBLIN, Ireland, April 25 (UPI) -- Officials in the Roman Catholic diocese of Clogher in Ireland and Northern Ireland failed to take decisive action against abusive priests, investigators said.

The Irish church's National Board for Safeguarding Children said in a report released Wednesday priests were protected at the expense of children, The Guardian reported. The report said there were allegations of abuse against 13 priests during 40 years, including two who were convicted and sent to prison.

In one case, a priest was first transferred to another parish after an allegation of child molestation, and then sent to the United States. The Belfast Telegraph identified the priest as Francis Markey, who was eventually extradited but died before he could be tried for molesting a boy during a 1968 religious pilgrimage.

Bishop Joseph Duffy, who led the diocese from 1979 to his retirement in 2010, acknowledged he had failed to handle the problem, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

"I accept the criticism in the review and regret that, in the past, the standard of managing some cases fell short of what is expected today," Duffy said.

The diocese in northwest Ireland includes the counties of Tyrone and Fermanagh in Northern Ireland and Donegal and Cavan in the republic.

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