Police read church abuse reports

Published Friday, 02 December 2011
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The PSNI wants to know why the Catholic Church did not tell police about a number of allegations of child abuse by priests.

New reports this week into six Irish dioceses - including Derry and Dromore in Northern Ireland - revealed the church protected itself rather than children.

The audit said that 85 priests across the diocese had been accused of carrying out decades of abuse, but only eight were ever convicted.

Senior officers now intend to examine the reports published into how the church handled the clerical sex allegations.

They are interested in the church's admission that it failed to pass some allegations to the authorities, to protect its reputation and that of some priests.

It is understood the PSNI wants to know how these controversial decisions were made and how many allegations were withheld.

They will then determine if there is a need for a formal inquiry.

One abuse victim told UTV the investigations must continue.

Jon McCourt said: "I believe that if there's evidence in any of these reports, and there's a named individual in those reports that evidence must go directly to the authorities."

At present, the PSNI says it has detectives working on 170 cases of alleged clerical sex abuse across the whole of Northern Ireland.

Only four of them deal with the past five years - most date back around 20 years.

The Catholic Church says it will co-operate fully with any police investigation.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
dorothea brown in northern ireland wrote (1,156 days ago):
There certainly is a desperate need for a formal inquiry. Why does there have to be a doubt as to whether there should be an inquiry? ABUSE of children has been silenced and allowed to breed due to that silence. Is it not our moral right to protect vulnerable children? I believe it is.
Carryduff in Belfast wrote (1,156 days ago):
Any member of the clergy who concealed criminal activity from the Law must be charged and be brought in front of a Court. If anyone other than a member of the roman catholic clergy did this they would be charged. Is the roman catholic church above the Law and the Law accepts this in N Ireland as they do south of the border?.
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