Saturday, 18 December 2010
By Ed Carty
A cardinal, several bishops and gardai in the Republic faced criticism today over revelations a serial paedophile priest was free to abuse for 16 years.
A previously censored report revealed the Vatican wanted ‘Fr Filth’ Tony Walsh sent to a monastery for 10 years, while Dublin’s Catholic hierarchy wanted him ordered out of the Church.
The state inquiry revealed the archdiocese was more concerned about a Garda investigation into Walsh than the gardai themselves.
It branded Walsh as probably the most notorious child sexual abuser to have come to its attention.
Officers had been alerted to the attacks as far back as 1991 but a investigation was effectively shelved because the Church was running its own inquiry.
His attacks date to the 1970s.
Vatican Shielded Dublin Priest Until He Raped Boy in Pub, Inquiry Says
The New York Times
Published: December 17, 2010
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
DUBLIN (AP) — The Vatican tried to stop church leaders here from defrocking a particularly dangerous pedophile priest and relented only after he raped a boy in a restroom at a pub, according to an investigation released Friday.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said he fully accepted the findings of the latest chapter in Ireland’s investigation into child abuse by priests in Dublin who were shielded from the law by Catholic leaders.
Archbishop Martin called the priest, Tony Walsh, an “extremely devious man” who should never have been ordained.
A state-ordered investigation into cover-ups by the Dublin Archdiocese reported last year that church officials had shielded scores of priests from criminal investigation over several decades and did not report any crimes to the police until the mid-1990s.
A chapter dealing with Mr. Walsh was censored from the original report because he was still facing a criminal trial at the time. It was published Friday, after Mr. Walsh’s conviction on Dec. 6 for raping three boys over a five-year period three decades ago. He got a 12-year prison term.
The investigators concluded that Mr. Walsh raped and molested hundreds of boys and girls while serving as a priest in Dublin from 1978 to 1996. They described him as “probably the most notorious child sexual abuser” of the 46 cases they investigated.
Mr. Walsh often performed as an Elvis impersonator in a traveling Catholic song-and-dance production called the “All Priests Show,” which was popular with children. The report found this increased his access to victims, as did his interest in scouting groups and taking altar boys on visits to the Dublin seminary Clonliffe College.
The investigators based their conclusions on previously confidential Dublin and Vatican documents and interviews with church figures. They found that archdiocese leaders spent several years arguing over whether Mr. Walsh should be defrocked, sent to counselors in England or assigned to duties that kept him away from children.
Archbishop Martin, a veteran Vatican diplomat appointed to clean up the Dublin scandals in 2004, handed over the archdiocese’s previously secret abuse files to the investigators. His predecessor, Cardinal Desmond Connell, had refused to do so.
Archbishop Martin said the church concealed child abuse easily for so long because it had grown too powerful.
“It had often become self-centered and arrogant,” he said. “It felt that it could be forgiving of abusers in a simplistic manner and rarely empathized with the hurt of children.”
Vatican covered up abuse cases: Report
Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:42PM
The report strongly criticizes the actions of the Vatican and Dublin church authorities for their failure to deal with Walsh.
Walsh, a former Catholic priest, sexually abused hundreds of children in Ireland over almost two decades.
A state-ordered investigation into Dublin Archdiocese cover-ups found last year that Catholic officials shielded scores of priests from criminal investigation over several decades and did not report any crimes to the police until 1995. The findings sent shockwaves through the church and forced three Irish bishops to resign.
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said that Walsh was another Brendan Smyth who should have been dealt with much earlier.
“Tony Walsh is an example of the classic serial pedophile on the same level as Brendan Smyth. The first lesson to be learned is the only way to deal with people like him is to stop them immediately. Procrastination and negotiation are part of the climate in which such pedophiles flourish,” he said.
Smyth was a Catholic priest who became notorious as a child molester and used his position in the Church to gain access to his victims.
Over a period of over 40 years, Smyth sexually abused and indecently assaulted over 100 children in parishes in the Irish cities of Belfast and Dublin as well as in the US.