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Bishop's apology to victim as abuse priest avoids jail

An Archbishop has apologised to a victim of abuse after a priest pleaded guilty to gross indecency while hearing confession.

Brendan Wrixon, from Newmarket, Co Cork, was given an 18-month suspended sentence after he admitted undressing the boy in the sacristy of a church in the early 1980s.

The 74-year-old is a retired priest of the Diocese of Cloyne, where two scathing investigations revealed its scandal-hit former bishop John Magee took minimal action on accusations against two of his priests.

Archbishop Dermot Clifford said he was deeply sorry that the trust of a young person was betrayed by one of the diocese's priests. "I wish to apologise and express to him and his family my sincere regret," said Archbishop Clifford.

The Circuit Criminal Court in Cork heard the victim alleged about 20 incidents of a sexual nature against the priest in North Cork.

But Wrixon was only sentenced on one charge after admitting he committed an offence of gross indecency between October 1982 and February 1983.

The victim revealed it had taken him 20 years to break his silence because of the shame he felt.

He also criticised the Church over claims he had to fight for the truth to be heard over the last five years as it preferred to protect his abuser.

Wrixon served under Bishop Magee, whose resignation was finally accepted from the Pope in March, after the Church's own watchdog branded his child protection inadequate and dangerous.

Belfast Telegraph