Belfast Telegraph

Bishop denies abuse report claims

A Catholic Bishop has dismissed claims that an internal report on clerical child abuse will document hundreds of victims of paedophile priests in Donegal.

Dr Philip Boyce, who has opened diocesan files for an audit of allegations against priests, also denied the hierarchy actively thwarted investigations by gardai and health experts.

The review of the Raphoe Diocese by Ian Elliot, chief executive of the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC), is expected to be published in the coming weeks.

But Bishop Boyce has rejected reports that the audit has uncovered some of the most shocking levels of abuse and cover-ups by the Church in Ireland.

"I wish to assure the people of the Diocese of Raphoe that this assertion is simply not true," Dr Boyce said.

"Furthermore, it is seriously damaging to the good work of the many trained volunteers who are actively committed to safeguarding children in all of the parishes of the diocese."

Dr Boyce, head of the diocese since 1995, said he has given full co-operation to Mr Elliot`s review team and all church files have been examined. He is making a formal complaint about the leak from the unpublished audit.

Mr Elliot - the Church's own watchdog on abuse allegations - is currently auditing every diocese in the country.

His examination of Cloyne uncovered dangerous child protection practices by former Papal envoy Bishop John Magee and led to a subsequent damning report which detailed his shocking failures to bring abusive priests to book.

The Raphoe Diocese has long been suspected of harbouring damning revelations of clerical abuse. Notorious abuser, the priest Eugene Greene, was released from jail in 2008 after serving nine years of a 12-year sentence for a litany of sexual assaults against 26 children in Donegal parishes between 1965 and 1982.

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