Main | Friday, November 27, 2009

New Child Molestation Scandal Roils Ireland's Catholic Church

For the second time in a year, evidence has emerged of a massive child molestation cover-up in Ireland's Catholic Church.
Ireland's Catholic Church apologised Thursday after a damning new report showed it covered up child sex abuse over more than three decades. The Irish government also said sorry for failing to protect children in the wake of the latest report, published six months after a first landmark study revealed widespread abuse of children in Catholic care. "I offer to each and every survivor my apology, my sorrow and my shame for what happened," said Diarmuid Martin, archbishop of Dublin since 2004. "I am aware that no words of apology will ever be sufficient," he said, adding that "the fact that many abusers were priests constituted both an offence to God and an affront to the priesthood." The country's most senior Catholic, Cardinal Sean Brady, echoed the comments, saying "I want to apologise to all those who have been hurt and their families."

Following a three-year investigation in the Dublin Archdiocese, the country's largest, the report concluded that four archbishops routinely protected abusers and failed to inform police of the allegations. One priest admitted to sexually abusing over 100 children, while another confessed that he had abused on a fortnightly basis over 25 years. "The volume of revelations of child sexual abuse by clergy over the past 35 years or so has been described by a Church source as a 'tsunami' of sexual abuse," said the report.
An Irish Catholic group that runs the schools and orphanages behind the abuse has offered a $242M settlement to the victims.
A Roman Catholic group at the centre of an inquiry into child abuse in Ireland today offered €161m (£145m) in cash and land to make amends to its victims. The Christian Brothers, which ran the Republic's notorious Industrial Schools and orphanages, said they will hand over up to €30m to an Irish government trust fund, and will also give €4m for abuse victims' counselling services. In their statement the Christian Brothers said they will also transfer land valued at €127m to joint ownership of the government and the Edmund Rice Schools Trust. They said their decision had been taken in the light of the publication this May of the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, known as the Ryan report. "The range of incremental measures outlined above follow the Christian Brothers' acceptance, shame and sorrow at the findings of the Ryan report," the statement said. "We understand and regret that nothing we say or do can turn back the clock for those affected by abuse.

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