Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Sex abuse report to be published

A report into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in the Diocese of Cloyne has been cleared for publication

The High Court has paved the way for the publication of a report into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in the Diocese of Cloyne.

One chapter of the Murphy Report will be censored over fears it could prejudice the upcoming criminal trial of an alleged paedophile priest, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns ruled.

The report centres on allegations of child sexual abuse against 19 clerics operating in the diocese between 1996 and 2009.

Its publication follows a two-year investigation by Circuit Court judge Yvonne Murphy, who also probed the handling of abuse claims in the Dublin Archdiocese.

The state inquiry was ordered in January 2009 after a damning report by the Catholic Church's abuse watchdog found that the then Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, took minimal action over a series of child abuse allegations against two of his priests.

Branding his child protection inadequate and dangerous, the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) in the Catholic Church said that what little action the senior churchman took was also inappropriately delayed.

The one-time Vatican aide, from Newry in Co Down, faced down repeated calls to quit his post in Cork until his resignation was finally accepted by Rome in March 2010.

Barristers for Justice Minister Alan Shatter appeared before Mr Justice Kearns, the President of the High Court, to seek directions on the publication of the Cloyne report.

The court heard chapters nine to 26 deal with allegations, complaints and concerns relating to 19 clerics in the diocese. None are named but are given pseudonyms. However legal arguments over the contents of chapter nine, which focuses on one priest who is due to stand trial in the Circuit Court, were held in camera.

The judge said he was anxious to ensure the pending prosecution would not be prejudiced or run the risk of "being derailed" by the publication of the report in full, and ordered issues surrounding the publication of chapter nine be brought back before the court on July 15.

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