Major pedophile ring that worked in Donegal is exposed
Victim says police covered up abuse when he told them
Irish police are now investigating a number of claims from victims in Donegal relating to a pedophile ring that operated in the county.
The report into abuse in the Raphoe diocese has been delayed as former police detective Martin Ridge, who moved to Donegal after his retirement from the force, has championed the victims of lay and clerical abuse.
The victims of a lay pedophile ring in Donegal’s Irish speaking Gaeltacht region have accused police of being complicit in the cover-up of lay and clerical child abuse.
As the publication of the explosive report into sexual abuse in the diocese of Raphoe is delayed, one of those who co-operated in the investigation has gone public with his claims.
John O’Donnell, now 55, was abused by a male singer in his local church choir from the age of nine to 15.
He has spoken at length to the Guardian newspaper about the pedophile ring which operated ‘for years’ in Donegal – and he is not the only victim to come forward.
Nor is O’Donnell the only victim to tell the English newspaper that Irish police officers were complicit in the culture of cover-up.
O’Donnell’s harrowing story includes his account of the angry response from a local officer when he went to a police station to report the rape by a lay member of his local church choir.
“He assaulted me from when I was nine until I was 15, until I was old enough to know it was wrong,” O’Donnell told the Guardian.
“This man took advantage because I was adopted and regarded as something lower than most kids in the area.
“The abuse took place at his home and in a shop he ran. It went on from 1965 to 1972.”
When O’Donnell decided to report the rapes to his local police station, he was shocked by the reaction of the officer on duty.
“A local guard was outraged that I was naming such a fine upstanding member of the community as a child rapist,” revealed O’Donnell.
“The officer slapped me on the face and told me to get out. He said to me that I was adopted and not worth anything. From that day on I never fully trusted a member of the Garda Síochána (police service).”
O’Donnell hid his past for years as he married and raised a family without every discussing the horrors of his childhood.
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