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Outraged residents are demanding the arrest and criminal prosecution Limerick Bishop Donal Murray, whose resignation was accepted today by the Vatican, after a pedophile priest — whose crimes he he covered up — received a three-year sentence for abusing a young boy. The shocking abuse began when the boy was just six years old, and happened at least 70 times between 1982 and 1984.
Father Thomas Naughton, 78, was sentenced to prison after being found guilty of the offense.
Retired police sergeant John Brennan, who tried in vain to have Naughton prosecuted at the time, said “as justice was done today, I think that it should now be taken a step further. Fr. Naughton, I’ve always maintained, is a human being with a problem. It was his superiors who, aware of this weakness, sent him around to other places, and I think they shouldn’t be allowed at this stage to resign or retire. They should be the subject of a criminal investigation. If there is neglect and evidence of a cover-up, it shouldn’t be a question of somebody resigning. They should be the subject of a criminal charge."
Parents — who complained to Murray about Naughton when Murray was an auxiliary bishop in Dublin in 1983 — said their concerns were dismissed. Murray is currently in Rome trying to save his term as bishop despite calls for his resignation.
Mervyn Rundle, who was abused by Naughton, asked “when are the police going to act against these guys?"
Naughton, a 78-year-old St Patrick’s Missionary Society priest, pleaded guilty to five simple counts of indecent assault, and yesterday received five three-year sentences, to run concurrently, with the final year suspended in each case.
Judge Michael O’Shea said the abuse was “appalling, shocking and horrifying,” and the abuse had an “absolutely catastrophic” impact on the victim’s life.
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said in a statement: “Tom Naughton was an abuser who damaged the lives of many innocent young people. I hope those involved in today’s proceedings will find some solace and justice in his having to serve a jail sentence for his crimes.”