Belfast Telegraph

Pope rejects priest's bid to stay

Pope Francis has rejected a Catholic priest's bid to stay in the clergy following complaints of child abuse.

Dan Duane, from Mallow, Co Cork and a former cleric in the Cloyne Diocese, was defrocked following a canonical investigation into attacks on teenagers and children.

The ex-priest had unsuccessfully appealed to the Pope and the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church, over a decision by the Irish hierarchy to remove him from the clergy.

The diocese said the decision was taken after a "long period of deliberation on all the evidence provided".

Bishop of Cloyne William Crean apologised to survivors of abuse and said a long and painful process for them had been brought to an end.

"We are most grateful to the survivors of abuse who had the courage to come forward to tell their stories. This long and painful process for all involved has now reached completion," he said.

"We regret that the process took so long.

"On behalf of the priests and people of the diocese may I once again extend my deepest sympathy and sorrow that they had to suffer so much from a person in whom they had placed their trust.

"I apologise to them once again and to all who have suffered abuse of any kind at the hands of clergy."

Bishop Crean insisted that the most comprehensive child protection measures are in place in the diocese to ensure abuse never occurs again.

The diocese also said the Vatican's decision had been communicated privately to survivors of abuse who made allegations against Duane.

Duane was twice acquitted in court over allegations of sexual assault.

Despite the acquittals, a canonical investigation in 2013 upheld complaints of abuse against the former priest.

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