Three former Archbishops of Dublin have been damned in the latest publication of the Murphy report into clerical abuse of Ireland – and accused of dumping a known paedophile on a parish in California.
Current archbishop Diarmuid Martin has abjectly apologized for the behavior and asked for forgiveness.
The previously unpublished Chapter 20 of the Murphy Report was finally released on the orders of Dublin’s High Court on Friday, almost four years after the remainder of the document was made public.
It contains damning allegation against the Archbishops over their handling of former priest Patrick McCabe, now 77 and a convicted serial child abuser.
At one point in 1988 McCabe was sent to St Patrick’s psychiatric hospital in Dublin but while there he told diocesan authorities he had secured a job working with homeless people at Stockton, California.
The report says that McCabe left hospital in February 1988. It concluded: “The bishops decided to let him go to the USA. They, in effect, set him loose on the unsuspecting population of Stockton, California. There is no record that they notified the Bishop of Stockton of his arrival.”
McCabe was extradited from America in August 2010 but walked free from court last March after an 18 month jail term was backdated by a judge.
The shocking report names Archbishops Dermot Ryan, Kevin McNamara and Cardinal Desmond Connell and is hugely critical of their handling of McCabe.
The Irish Times reports that Archbishop Ryan was Archbishop of Dublin between 1972 and 1984, Archbishop McNamara from 1984 to 1987, and Cardinal Connell from 1988 to 2004.
The newly released chapter also points to ‘shocking police connivance’ which had the effect of ‘stifling one complaint and failing to investigate another, and in allowing the then Fr McCabe to leave the country’.
The Irish Times report says that McCabe was arrested in the US in August 2010 and extradited to Ireland in June 2011. He was jailed for 18 months after he pleaded guilty to the indecent assault of five schoolboys but the sentence was backdated.
The Murphy Commission said it was made aware of 21 complainants where McCabe was concerned.
It says McCabe served in Dublin at the Pro Cathedral from 1971 to 1978, in Artane from 1978 to 1981,in Clogher Rd., Crumlin from 1981 to 1983 and then in the Santa Rosa diocese in California from 1983 to 1986. His faculties as a priest were withdrawn in 1987 and he was laicised in 1988.
The Murphy report says: “Archbishop Dermot Ryan not only about knew about the complaints against Fr McCabe, he had a considerable understanding of the effects of abuse on children. This is one of the few cases in which he took a close personal interest.
“Archbishop Ryan protected Fr McCabe to an extraordinary extent; he ensured, as far as he could, that very few people knew about his activities; it seems that the welfare of children simply did not play any part in his decisions.”
It adds that during the tenure of Archbishop Kevin McNamara, from 1984 to 1987, Fr McCabe returned to Ireland in May 1986 from the US under a cloud following ‘stories of inappropriate conduct’ at a parish in California.
The Murphy Report adds: “To the knowledge of the archdiocese, Fr McCabe stayed on in Dublin for the summer of 1986. His activities appear to have been entirely unmonitored, despite the archdiocese’s knowledge that he had been declared a paedophile and despite its knowledge of many complaints against him. He moved from house to house and he had the use of a car.”
While in Dublin then he abused a nine year old altar boy.
McCabe returned to the US briefly but, unknown to the church, he returned to Dublin in 1987 when he got a job in a school.
The report says that when the archdiocese heard of this the school was informed about McCabe’s history and he was removed.
A meeting of Dublin’s Auxiliary Bishops in January 1988, attended by Archbishop-elect Desmond Connell, was told that he had assaulted a 14-year-old boy at a school Mass.
The Vatican was contacted and asked that Fr McCabe ‘be reduced to the lay state as quickly as possible otherwise immense scandal and damage will ensue both for the Church and the priesthood in this Diocese’.
The report adds that in May 1988 the diocese of Sacramento became aware of McCabe’s presence in California and, as the Murphy report put it, ‘assumed, wrongly of course, that the Dublin Archdiocese might not have been aware of his presence in Stockton’.
The Sacramento church authorities informed the Dublin bishops that it had a duty which they intended to fulfil, to notify Stockton about McCabe, which they did.
The Irish police are also criticised for their handling of the 1986 allegation of abuse of a nine year old boy, reported by the boy’s parents.
At the time Fr McCabe was staying in a west Dublin house owned by Chief Superintendent Joe McGovern. He was interviewed by two officers in connection with this incident but the file went missing.
The Irish Times says that on that same evening McCabe visited Chief Superintendent Joe McGovern and
there, according to the Murphy report, he ‘made certain limited admissions to the chief superintendent who did not convey them to the investigating garda (police), but who did convey them and the fact of the Garda investigation to his local parish priest, Fr Curley.”
Chief Superintendent McGovern told the Murphy Commission ‘he considered Fr McCabe’s behaviour to be a matter for the Church to deal with’.
The Murphy Report said: “The detective handling the investigation contacted an official in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) seeking advice. The investigation stopped. No further inquiries were made by the gardaí (police). “Even though the gardaí (police) knew that Fr McCabe intended to return to the USA, no warrant was sought for his arrest.”
The Murphy report concluded: “The Archdiocese’s handling of events was facilitated in significant ways by the gardaí (police).
“The Commission is of the view that this particular Garda (police) investigation was marred by Church interference which was facilitated by the gardaí (police) and which was material in allowing Fr McCabe to evade justice.
“Between 1988 and 2003 not a single inquiry had been made by the gardaí (police) in relation to this matter. In the Commission’s view, it is difficult not to conclude that the renewed interest in the complaint in 2003 was prompted more by a fear of public opprobrium then by any realistic prospect of successfully concluding the investigation.
“The connivance by the Gardaí (police) in effectively stifling one complaint and failing to investigate another, and in allowing Fr McCabe to leave the country is shocking.
“It is noteworthy that the Commission would not have been aware of the Garda (police) activity in question were it not for the information contained in the Church files.”
A police spokesman said they would not be commenting on Chapter 20 until they had an opportunity to read it.