Though not proven

In one Irish diocese there were more than 100 accusations that priests had sexually abused children over a 40 year period, the Irish Examiner reported last year.

The review of the Dublin Archdiocese by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church found that allegations were made against three more priests in the last year, bringing to 101 the total of diocesan priests accused of abuse since 1975.

Concerns about 40 of them arose in the past 10 years. Of those, four were convicted in the criminal courts and 23 were found to involve concerns that were credible, although not proven. In those 27 cases, the diocese substantially restricted or terminated their ministries.

The diocese acted on even the cases that were found to be credible, although not proven. That’s odd. You’d think they would just say “well it’s not proven, so yaboosucks, we’re not going to do anything.” That’s the standard, isn’t it? Either it’s proven, or it’s not proven and that’s the same as it never happened. Isn’t it? That’s what people keep saying, anyway.

Of the total 101 accused, 49 are deceased, 34 are living and remain priests of the diocese, and 18 have left the priesthood and/or the diocese. In total, they faced 432 separate allegations of abuse.

Only nine priests have been convicted of abuse in the criminal courts since 1975, and just 12 in total since 1940, but the diocese has accepted civil responsibility for many more.

Oh, civil responsibility. Huh. So there is something between conviction in criminal court, and nothing at all. Who knew?

Some 236 civil actions have been taken against 51 priests or former priests of the diocese, of which 187 have been concluded at a total cost of €20.4m, with 49 cases still continuing.

Pricey. Maybe for the future they should tell their priests it would be better to skip the child abuse altogether, as a cost-saving measure.

While acknowledging the legacy of unacknowledged abuse in the diocese, the board described its current performance on child protection issues and abuse allegations in glowing terms.

That’s fair. So the diocese made the lives of hundreds of children hell for decades, hey, at least they’re doing something about it now. That’s so heroic of them!

Director of safeguarding in the diocese, Andrew Fagan welcomed the positive comments but said there no room for complacency and he encouraged anyone affected by abuse, who had not yet come forward to try and do so in order to get the help and support they need.

As opposed to hostility and denial and counterattack? That would be welcome.

Updating to add: Jason did a very relevant and useful flowchart back in September. Check it out and laugh a bitter laugh.


  1. says

    credible, although not proven

    Amazing that Cosby and Shermer (and so many others’) defenders have taken the same line of argument.

    What makes me sick is the “we’re doing something about it, now that all the bodies have been buried and thoroughly decomposed. Kind of like Warren Buffet’s “Oh WOW! Look I haven’t been paying hardly any taxes all these years!” routine – but they never offer to do anything because, you know, it’s too late.

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