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Accused priest given victims file in new church scandal

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The Catholic Church are currently investigating claims that the child protection delegate in the diocese of Clone handed over a confidential file containing evidence of child abuse to the priest at the centre of the allegations.

Fr Bill Bermingham was appointed child protection delegate for the the Clone diocese by the Catholic  Church's National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) in 2008.

The NSBC is currently seeking to meet with Birmingham to determine his motivations behind the handing over of the confidential file to the accused.

It was revealed that Birmingham took an informal statement from a woman last year and gave a copy of the statement to the accused priest before he was questioned by the police.

It has also emerged that several other priests saw the confidential statement.

The alleged victim was made aware of the leaking of her statement and subsequently lodged a formal complaint to the NSBC a few months ago.

Archbishop Diarmuid Dunne has been informed of the incident as has the Catholic Church's clerical abuse helpline, Faoiseamh and victim support group, One in Four.

According to the Irish Examiner, Birmingham has not responded too any requests for an interview and the Clone diocese has refused to comment on the situation until the Dublin Archdiocese report is published in the Autumn.

One in Four chief executive Maeve Lewis said she was "horrified by" the actions of the Clone diocese but refused to make any further comments as the victim is one of her clients.

"This action may not have broken specific Church protocol but it is a horrific betrayal of a victim," said Lewis.

Birmingham was appointed child protection delegate for the Clone diocese after child protection standards were found to be "inadequate and in some respects dangerous".

The victim who wishes not to be named released a damning statement:  "Nothing has changed whatsoever in the past 18 months despite claims to the contrary.

"I feel like I have been run over by a number of trains in the way I have been treated by the Church in the past year.

"I am so angry and appalled any information about me could be passed on to anyone else. Yet I am told no criminal law was broke. Where is the justice for the likes of us?"

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