Irish bishop disowns priest who supported sex offender


Outrage over a priest's defense of a convicted sex offender has resulted in Bishop William Murphy of Kerry disowning the priests' behavior.

Up to fifty people had queued up to shake the hands of sex offender Danny Foley before he was sent to jail for 7 years earlier this week.

Fr. Sean Sheehy was one of those people. The priest also defended Foley, providing a character reference for the sex offender in court.

Bishop of Kerry William Murphy released a statement distancing himself from the actions of Fr. Sheehy.

“I wish to offer my sympathy to the victim and to apologize to her on my own behalf and on behalf of the Diocese of Kerry.

“I pay tribute to her courage. I hope what has happened will not undermine the progress that has been made in bringing perpetrators of sexual abuse to justice.' said Bishop Murphy.

In an interview with the Irish Times, Fr. Sheehy said he wanted to "support him and let him know he was not alone. My christian responsibility was to the person who is the object of what I call, this extremely harsh sentence."

Police found the 22-year-old victim half naked beside a skip with Foley crouching over her. He denies sexually assaulting her. The victim has said that she has been demonized by villagers in her hometown in Kenmare. The victim said that since the sexual assault barmen refuse to serve her in her hometown.

When asked why he did not shake the victims hand, Fr Sheehy said he did know the victim but he "certainly would have shook her hand as well.”

Fine Gael Senator Frances Fitzgerald said the court case “exposes the continuing social prejudice against victims of sexual crime”.

The Senator also called for a debate about the treatment of victims of sex crimes.

“In light of the actions in the court house yesterday we must ask ourselves as a society, as a community, how we react to crimes of a sexual nature and the current level of support offered to victims of such crimes.”
Fr. Sheehy defended his actions and said he would do it again.


Log in with your social accounts:

Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:

Forgot your password ?

Don't have an account yet? Register now !

Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:

Already have an account ?

For Newsletter Subscribers – Draw for 1 Prize on December 31st.

Prize: Your Piece of Ireland – a Square of Land in the heart of the Glens of Antrim, Ireland

More details here (or you can buy a little piece of Ireland directly): http://bit.ly/1zew9ox

Terms & Conditions

Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Make sure we gathered the correct information from you

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.

Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: