Archbishop Dermot Clifford has issued an apology to a young man who was sexually abused by a priest.

Archbishop Clifford issued the apology after Fr Brendan Wrixon, from Newmarket in Co. Cork, was convicted of gross indecency against a teenager between October 1982 and February 1983. Fr Wrixon received an 18-month suspended sentence at Cork Criminal Court last Friday.

The court heard that the priest committed the assaults while acting as a confessor during a religious workshop.

In his victim impact statement, the man claimed that the Catholic Church had been more interested in protecting itself rather than helping him. As a result it had taken him 20 years to break his silence, because of the shame that he endured.

“The truth is I was sexually abused by Brendan Wrixon when I was a teenager. I was wronged in a very serious way.

"He was the adult and I was the young teenager.

"He should have known better. As a priest his role was to be guide and witness to Christian values."

Archbishop Clifford, who is Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Cloyne, said he was "deeply sorry" that the trust of a young man was abused. He expressed "sincere regret" to the victim and his family.

According to the archbishop, Fr Dixon has not held a diocesan appointment since 2005.

Judge Seán O Donnabháin told Fr Wrixon: "You have acknowledged publicly that you wronged him; you are no longer a priest and rightly so. You don’t deserve to be one."

The archbishop encouraged anyone who has been a victim of child abuse to come forward and report incidents to the authorities.
"I also wish to let victims, or anyone who has concerns, know that they may also contact me directly or contact the diocesan child protection designated officer, Fr John McCarthy," said Archbishop Clifford.