Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Cleric 'blamed teenage victim'

A Catholic cleric asked to examine abuse allegations against a fellow priest suggested a teenage victim was to blame

A Catholic cleric asked to examine abuse allegations against a fellow priest suggested a teenage victim was to blame, a previously censored report has revealed.

"Chapter Nine", labelled the most troubling of the inquiry into the Cloyne Diocese in Ireland, found the bishop's advisory committee tried to ensure the young woman's complaints were not treated as child abuse.

It also found gardai buried an allegation of child abuse made by a young boy against the same priest.

Archdeacon Chris Twohig, a cleric drafted in to investigate a colleague identified only as Fr Ronat, offered a disturbing analysis of allegations of abuse made by a young woman when aged 15-19.

In his report on the young woman's claims, the priest wondered if it could be deduced that the girl, Ailis, was harassing or "besetting" Fr Ronat.

He added: "Might it not be possible that (Ailis) is the Ophelia of Hamlet - sweet bells jangled."

The inquiry found the Archdeacon's report lacked any evidence of a genuine investigation and was not impartial.

"It seems to the Commission to be largely concerned with providing reasons why this might not be classified as child sexual abuse. It also, notably, seeks to lay the blame for what occurred on Ailis," the inquiry found.

Fr Ronat, who also worked in career guidance, is accused of giving teenagers wine, hypnotising them and abusing them while hearing confessions in his bedroom.

He is the 19th cleric allegations have been made against in Cloyne.

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