A priest at the centre of the Cloyne Report’s largest chapter is the latest cleric to threaten legal action against his accusers.
The priest – referred to as Fr Ronat in the lengthy report into clerical sex abuse in the Cork diocese – has made threats to sue several people including victims who have texted him.
A report in the Irish Independent states that the priest has made contact with police and he is considering the legal action.
He has complained to police of a ‘two-year campaign of personal abuse’ which included public cries of ‘paedophile’ in his direction.
But one alleged victim has already told the priest ‘See you in court’.
The victim told the paper that she had sent text messages to the priest and said one text was only sent because the cleric had been ‘smirking’ at her in public.
Fr Ronat has vehemently denied all 11 abuse allegations made against him and has claimed he is the target of deliberate harassment.
Although he has never been convicted of a sexual offence, Fr Ronat will face a church-ordered canonical tribunal and has been forbidden from saying Mass in public for almost a decade.
Police have already warned a number of potential complainants to desist from contacting Fr Ronat.
A source close to the priest told the Irish Independent: “When the police traced the sources of the obnoxious texts and warned those involved to cease, the texting resumed immediately.
“This was the last straw for us and we decided something had to be done.
“We intend to pursue it legally but that will take time. Meanwhile, Fr Ronat is most anxious to get on with whatever little life is left. He doesn’t want to cause any hurt to others - only what is necessary to clear his name.”
The Irish Independent reports that it has seen the texts, which include claims the cleric is: ‘a derelict soul’, ‘evil’, that he ‘faces Hell’ and that ‘justice is coming’.
The Cloyne Report includes complaints against a total of 19 clerics with the report’s largest section - the 42-page chapter nine - devoted entirely to abuse complaints lodged against Fr Ronat including inappropriate contact and sexual intercourse.
Chapter nine also revealed that Fr Ronat had an interest in hypnosis.