Diocesan Policy Statement
The Diocese of Cloyne
Child Protection Diocesan Policy Statement
The Diocese of Cloyne recognises and upholds the dignity and rights of all children and young people and is committed to ensuring their safety and well being. The Diocese values and encourages the participation of children and young people in all parish liturgies and in all activities that enhance their spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual and social development.
Above all, the Diocese recognises the need to protect children and young people and aims to do this in a way that promotes their human dignity, integrity and worth as children of God.
The Diocese recognises that, while child protection is primarily the responsibility of Parents, it is indeed everyone’s responsibility. In particular, all involved in working with children and young people have a special duty of care towards them. The Diocese has committed itself to putting procedures in place through which this care is put into effect.
In keeping with this, we will work to do all in our power to create a safe environment for children and young people in order to secure their protection and enable their full participation in the life of the Church.
Dedicated Website: http://www.safeguardingchildrencloyne.ie
Child Safeguarding Services:
If you, or anyone you know, has a child protection concern, or wishes to report an allegation of child abuse directly to Church Authorities, please contact the Diocesan Designated Officer.
Diocesan Designated Officer: Phone Number: 086 0368999
Diocesan Deputy Designated Officer: Phone Number: 086 7950437
If you, or anyone you know, has a child protection concern or, wishes to report an allegation directly to the Statutory Authorities, please contact the Garda or the Local HSE and ask to speak to the Duty Social Worker.
Mallow / Fermoy Phone Number: 022 – 54100
Cobh / Midleton / Macroom Phone Number: 021 – 4927000
Local Garda Station Phone Number: _____________
ADVISORY PANEL FOR THE DIOCESE OF CLOYNE IS
THE “NATIONAL CASE MANAGEMENT reference group”
This service is provided by the
NATIONAL OFFICE FOR SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN
CHILD PROTECTION TRAINING COMMITTEE:
Mr. Con Lynch, Macroom, Chairman
Sr. Nuala O Gorman, Secretary
Canon Gerry Casey
CLOYNE DIOCESAN SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN COMMITTEE
Annual Report for the year ending 31/12/2010
The Cloyne Diocesan Safeguarding Children Committee is the end product of a series of initiatives aimed at promoting child protection in the Diocese of Cloyne. It was formerly known as the Cloyne Child Protection Committee – a committee which was established in 2004 and this succeeded a steering committee which had been established earlier that year. The secretariat of the Cloyne Diocesan Safeguarding Children Committee is based in CDYS Mallow.
2.1 Membership of Cloyne Diocesan Safeguarding Children Committee on 31st Dec. 2010.
Con Lynch (Chairman), Sr. Nuala O’Gorman (Secretary), Rosarie O’Riordan (Training Coordinator), Fr. Gerry Casey (communications officer with diocesan authorities), Una Relihan, Denis Ring and Fr. Bill Bermingham.
3 Changes in personnel
In July 2010, Fr. Brian Boyle took up duties as curate in Charleville, with additional duties (for the time being), in Newtownshandrum and Dromina and fearing that a lack of time would compromise his input to the safeguarding children committee, tendered his resignation. Fr Brian had acted as child protection coordinator since 2004 and he made a significant contribution in that role and in his input to the work of the committee. We wish to record our appreciation of his contribution to safeguarding children and we wish him continued success in his parish ministry.
The safeguarding committee recommended the appointment of Fr. Bill Bermingham. He was duly appointed by Archbishop Clifford and attended his first meeting of the committee in November.
4 The work of the committee – fulfilling our role and responsibilities
The role and responsibility of Cloyne Diocesan Safeguarding Children Committee is defined in the Safeguarding Children Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland:
v The provision of training
v The safe recruitment of volunteers and staff within their service are
Their role is primarily focused on creating, maintaining and monitoring a safe environment for children in all aspects of Church life and for advising on the human resources required for implementing best safeguarding practice across services
The manner in which the committee applied itself to fulfilling the various elements of its role and responsibilities is summarized in Sections 4.1 – 4.8.
4.1 Approach and methodology
The approach to our work is facilitated through regular meetings for the purpose of:
v Discussion, decision making
v Identification and targeting areas that require attention
v Allocation of tasks
v Setting deadlines for completion of tasks
v Reporting back and evaluating progress
Generally meetings are of half-day duration and were held on the following dates during 2010: 25th January, 24th February, 13th April, 19th May, 7th July, 18th August, 1st September, 19th October, 23rd November and 14th December - a total of 10 meetings.
Additionally, the Policy Review Committee met for two full day meetings.
Good communication is essential to the work of the committee and involves:
v Member to member communication between meetings – usually via e-mail or telephone
v Communication between the committee officers as required
v Communication/consultation between officers and the training coordinator
v Communication with parishes through the facilities at the diocesan office in Cobh
v Communication with the diocesan authorities and priests of the diocese – usually facilitated by the committee’s communications link officer.
v Direct communication via the safeguarding children secretariat at CDYS Mallow
v Use of the diocesan website
v Direct communication between individual committee members and the parishes allocated to them for audit.
4.1.3 Establishing and maintaining accurate data bases
The availability of accurate, up to date information regarding training and garda vetting of Church personnel is essential to fulfilling the functions of the committee. Significant progress has been made in this area during 2010.
4.2 Provision of training
During the year seven training sessions were provided. Five training sessions were held in Mallow, one session in Killeagh and one individual session in Midleton.
The training programme for the year was focused primarily on completing the training of:
v 100% of priests appointed to parishes
v Retired priests who are active in ministry in the diocese with 100% completion targeted for early in 2011.
v 100% of priests of the diocese who are engaged in work outside of parish ministry
v Training of newly appointed parish representatives.
The total number of priests trained in 2010 was 62.
The total number of parish representatives trained was 18.
We wish to acknowledge the contribution of the training coordinator, the trainers and the cooperation of the priests and parish representatives.
4.3 Safe recruitment of staff and volunteers
The committee sought to promote safe recruitment of staff and volunteers through:
Clearly outlining the selection and recruitment procedures/guidelines of the diocese in the diocesan policy document Safeguarding Children in the Diocese of Cloyne
Clearly specifying roles and responsibility at diocesan and parish level (in the diocesan policy document and in the sample parish policy)
Facilitating the garda vetting process by:
v Provision of garda vetting forms to parishes
v Identifying, insofar as possible individuals for whom vetting was necessary
v Encouraging compliance with the vetting process
v Passing on, where appropriate, documentation to the diocesan garda vetting administrator
v Building up a data base (which does not contain sensitive information) of the vetting status of diocesan personnel –
4.4 Creating a safe environment for children
In addition to the provision of training and safe recruitment of staff and volunteers, the committee also contributed to creating a safe environment for children by producing the new policy documents.
As well as the provision of training and monitoring, the production of a revised diocesan policy on safeguarding children proved to be an onerous and protracted task during 2010. The work was structured as follows –
4.5.1 Establishing a policy review committee
A subcommittee for carrying out reviews of policies was established. This committee focused principally on producing drafts of the new safeguarding children policy for the diocese
4.5.2 Producing the policy
. The work involved:
v Review of the existing policy Child Protection in the Diocese of Cloyne, which was published in 2007.
v Consultation with the National Office for Safeguarding Children regarding format and content.
v Research and consultation with other dioceses.
v Producing a document which would be a comprehensive reference for child safeguarding matters – policy statement, procedures, codes of behaviour, information and resources.
v Designing a format which would allow the user to dip into the appropriate section for whatever safeguarding children element was required.
v Providing an indexed Policy Summary which would provide the user with details of the issues covered and which would indicate where in the document more information can be found.
v Production and review of initial drafts.
v Submission of draft document to committee members.
v Submission of draft document to Archbishop Clifford.
4.5.3 Drafts of policy document refined and amended by the safeguarding committee members
v The work of producing the policy was discussed at the regular meetings of the safeguarding committee.
v There were ongoing consultations with the National Office for Safeguarding Children regarding the content. Clarification was sought on various issues – including the inclusion of vulnerable adults.
v The document was reviewed, amended by the National Office.
v It was decided that the policy should be extended to apply to vulnerable adults as well as children
v Drafts of the new policy document, Safeguarding Children in the Diocese of Cloyne were made available to members of the Cloyne Diocesan Safeguarding Children Committee both in hard copy and electronic format.
v Amendments were submitted, by the members principally in electronic format, but also via telephone and in writing. These amendments were substantially incorporated into the policy.
v Meetings of the Safeguarding Committee which specifically discussed the draft policy were held in Blarney in November and in Mallow in December but a second meeting planned for December had to be cancelled due to inclement weather conditions.
v A design for the cover was agreed at the Blarney meeting in November.
4.5.4 Publication strategy
The document as amended by the committee members was submitted for a second review to the National Office and further amendments as suggested by them were incorporated.
There is an element of fluidity currently existing, which may require that amendments be made in the short term to Safeguarding Children in the Diocese of Cloyne i.e. new guidelines having been prepared by the Department (but not yet made operational) and new vetting guidelines being prepared by the National Office. Based on these considerations and on the fact that the National Office had ‘twice reviewed the document, committee members agreed that:
(i) It would be published on the diocesan website along with a statement that the document may be subject to further review.
(ii) A limited edition would be printed and distributed using the facilities available to the Committee in CDYS Mallow. This would be in a loose-leaf format to facilitate inclusion of any alterations which might be required throughout the course of the year 2011.
The document would be professionally formatted and published following on the first review in January 2012.
The document will be reviewed annually by the Policy Review Committee.
4.6 Producing a Sample Parish Policy
4.6.1 Reasons for a sample parish policy
The decision to produce a sample policy which parishes could adopt in full or adapt to suit the particular circumstances of their own parishes was influenced by the following considerations:
v The requirement that each parish should have a policy document
v The desirability for consistency in so far as this is practicable
v The requirement that all Church staff/volunteers should be clear on the responsibilities attaching to their roles
v The need for a small, easily readable “manual” which would be distributed to Church staff/volunteers
v The need to communicate and spread the Church’s safeguarding children message
v Equipping Church staff/volunteers to respond and report allegations of child abuse.
v During the course of the parish audits/visitations, some parishes had asked for a sample parish policy
4.6.2 Content of the sample parish policy
This content and format is substantially based on a policy document which had been devised, reviewed and re-reviewed and piloted in one parish in the diocese. It was amended by the Safeguarding Committee, reviewed ‘twice by the National Office and approved by them.
The document describes the safeguarding structure in the parish, the codes of conduct, procedures to be followed, the responsibilities attaching to various roles and information on how to recognise and respond to suspicions/allegations of abuse.
It also contains footnotes which inter alia direct the reader to where more information may be found in the diocesan policy Safeguarding Children in the Diocese of Cloyne. The sample parish policy applies to vulnerable adults and to children.
4.6.3 Distribution of the sample parish policy
The sample parish policy will be distributed to parishes electronically and in hard copy where required.
4.6.4 Attendance registers
A number of sample attendance registers were compiled including – sacristy registers and parish group attendance registers.
4.7 Monitoring – parish audit/visitation
4.7.1 Audit questionnaire
In fulfillment of its monitoring role as defined in the Safeguarding Children Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cloyne Diocesan Safeguarding Children Committee:
v Drafted and circulated a sample audit document to acquaint them of the areas which would be monitored during the visitation.
v Drafted, piloted amended and produced the final Parish Audit questionnaire containing 10 sections, 41 questions, some of which had multiple sub-sections.
v Prepared and supplied to parishes a resource pack containing diocesan policy statement and contact details in English, Irish and Polish, and a variety of forms including application forms, accident/incident report forms, declaration forms and garda vetting forms.
v Circulated a letter advising parish priests that the purpose of the audit/visitation was intended to be supportive and helpful to the implementation of safeguarding children policies and procedures.
4.7.2 Carrying out the parish audit
Each member of the Cloyne Diocesan Safeguarding Children Committee was given responsibility for visiting a number of parishes and a standardized approach to the work was outlined.
The parish audits which began in October were substantially completed by year’s end, with 38 of the 46 parishes having been visited. A return call was made in some instances. In other instances information which was not available to the parish priest on the day of the visitation/audit, was subsequently sent by e-mail or telephone. The audit will be completed in the remaining 8 parishes early in 2011.
In general the committee members were disposed to be positive, to affirm the work already done and to give assistance if possible.
4.7.3 Analysis of parish audit questionnaire
The level of detail in the questionnaire reflects the extent to which safeguarding children is being promoted in the Diocese of Cloyne.
The completed questionnaires will be analysed in late February and March and a report will be prepared.
4.7.4 Self audit
The completed self audit documentation from the Safeguarding Children Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland will be returned to the National Board in early 2011.
4.8 Communicating the Church’s safeguarding message
The safeguarding committee actively communicated the Church’s safeguarding message throughout 2010 in the following areas:
v Making contact details widely known – updating contact details and introducing a colour scheme to make it easy for parishes to check on whether the information on display was up to date. Updated information on green paper was supplied during the parish audits. Versions in Irish, English and Polish were supplied. When contact details are changed, a paper of a different colour may be used.
v Encouraging parishes to provide dedicated notice boards for display of safeguarding Children material. (The purchase of these was facilitated by the training coordinator).
v Giving Church personnel information at parish level – this was facilitated through provision of indices in the sample parish policy containing clear definitions of child abuse, the signs and symptoms and information on responding and reporting allegations of child abuse.
v Making children aware of their right to speak out – awareness in this area was raised through the parish audit, the sample parish policy and the draft diocesan policy
v Providing information on the safeguarding structure at national, diocesan and local levels (Safeguarding Structures Section 8 Safeguarding Children in the Diocese of Cloyne).
v Establishing links with statutory authorities – a written report of the work of the safeguarding committee was sent to the local HSE official and a decision was taken to invite him to a meeting in 2011.
v Communications policy – a subcommittee of the Cloyne Diocesan Safeguarding Children Committee made recommendations aimed at achieving greater cohesion understanding, linkage and coordination between the various child safe guarding elements in the diocese. (See recommendations).
Communication of the Church’s safeguarding message was effected through a variety of channels including the Safeguarding Committee’s secretariat based in CDYS Mallow, the Cloyne Diocesan Centre in Cobh and the diocesan website www.cloynediocese.ie
The extension of the of the Training Coordinator’s hours from twelve to twenty per week was helpful to the committee and to the progression of the work. However, a considerable burden of work was borne by committee members, additional to attendance at meetings.
8.2 Administrative Costs
Administrative and secretarial facilities are provided through CDYS Mallow. The financial arrangements for these services are negotiated between the diocese and CDYS Mallow. The Safeguarding Children Committee is not privy to these financial arrangements.
Based on discussions throughout the year and in fulfillment of its duty for “advising on the human resources required for implementing best safeguarding practice across services,” the committee recommends that greater cohesion, linkage and efficiency be effected in the area of safeguarding children by:
(i) Appointment of a Diocesan Safeguarding Children Manager/Coordinator whose functions would include coordinating, overseeing and giving cohesiveness to safeguarding children in the diocese.
(ii) Appointment of a female to act in the capacity of diocesan designated officer.
(iii) Devising diocesan wide mechanisms for rapid updating of information regarding training and vetting e.g. of newly appointed parish representatives and/or priests from others dioceses who have retired to a parish and who assist in ministry.
(iv) Devising a communication strategy to improve information sharing – between the diocese and diocesan agencies involved with safeguarding children.
The committee recommends that the issues (i) – (iv) would form the basis for discussions between the Cloyne Safeguarding Children Committee and the relevant diocesan authorities as early as possible in 2011.
The volume of work carried out in 2010 by the safeguarding committee collectively, and by individual members thereof, is very impressive. I wish to thank each and every member of the committee. In particular I acknowledge the work of the secretary, the communications officer, the training coordinator, the members of the policy review committee, the committee members who carried out the parish visitation/audit and those who undertook other individual projects on behalf of the committee.
I acknowledge the significant contribution of CDYS Mallow and its director to the work of the committee through provision of accommodation for meetings and the provision of office accommodation and infrastructure. I acknowledge the assistance of the administrative secretary and the pastoral coordinator in the diocesan office in Cobh and the significant input of the diocesan webmaster. I also acknowledge the assistance given by the National Board for Safeguarding Children and the Staff at the National Office. At parish level, I acknowledge the cooperation of priests, of parish representatives of parish staff/volunteers and group leaders.
28th February 2011
Sr. Nuala O’Gorman (Secretary), Con Lynch (Chairman)
 Safeguarding Children Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland – 55
Report on the Implementation of the Review Recommendations
1. As requested, this Report comments on the progress that has been made to date in implementing the necessary changes to safeguarding practice in the Diocese of Cloyne since the acceptance of the Report findings by the Bishop.
2. The National Board welcomes the appointment of Fr. William Bermingham as the new delegate for the Diocese. In all the contacts to date, he has impressed as a competent, and caring person who has a deep passion for safeguarding children. In all respects, Fr. Bermingham appears to be capable of leading the Diocese forward in its practice in this area.
3. The Diocese has shown a new openness and willingness to engage with the National Office which is greatly welcomed. This close working relationship enables us to provide guidance and to monitor closely practice in the Diocese
4. The attitude towards keys agencies such as the HSE and the Gardai, is greatly improved. This will bear fruit in the months ahead if any new concerns should emerge. It will take time to embed a good practice relationship but we are
encouraged with what has happened in the past few weeks since the appointment of Fr. Bermingham.
5. It is important that existing victims are informed of the new approach and also of the change in personnel in the Diocese. Meetings have already taken place with victims and these have proved to be very worthwhile. We would urge you to continue with this initiative and would offer what support you need to facilitate their progress.
6. The decision to adopt and implement fully the new Guidance that the National Board will be issuing next month, is an excellent step forward. The National Office will provide whatever support is needed to advance these changes as quickly as possible, on the ground in the Diocese.
7. The review of the advisory structure by you, we believe is well advanced and the National Board would accept your decision to ensure that this is entirely compliant with the new Guidance before implementing it.
8. All past cases have been reviewed and appropriate supports put in place in respect of each accused priest. This action alone will help greatly in restoring confidence in the ability and commitment of the Diocese to manage risk.
9. In all regards, it is encouraging to note that so much progress has been made since the findings of the Review Report were accepted and the decision was made to work co-operatively with the National Board. We look forward to achieving even more in the months ahead.
18th December 2008
Elliott Report June 2008
Report on the Management of Two Child Protection Cases in the Diocese of Cloyne
This report presents the findings of a review of two child protection cases which arose within the Diocese of Cloyne. The review was primarily records based but was supplemented by interviews with Bishop Magee, his delegate Monsignor O’Callaghan, and Dean Goold. Each case involved members of the clergy as the alleged perpetrators. Child protection practice was examined through the case records provided by the Diocese of Cloyne and found to be inadequate and in some respects dangerous. There was no evidence that risk had been appropriately identified or managed, thereby potentially exposing vulnerable young people to further harm. Deficits in practice are identified and recommendations listed to address these.
Please note that the allegations referred to in this report are not proven and this report makes no determination as to their veracity.
The Identification of the Two Cases
1. On the 15 February 2008, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSC) met with two senior officials within the Department of Health and Children. The purpose of the meeting was to update the Department on the ongoing initiatives that the NBSC had embarked upon in order to embed best practice in the field of safeguarding children within the Church.
2. At the conclusion of that meeting, the CEO was informed that a complaint had been made to the Minister regarding the practice of the Diocese of Cloyne in a particular case. A copy of the correspondence was given to the CEO and he was asked to investigate the circumstances outlined in the complaint, and to report back his findings.
3. The complaint came from an adult man who alleged that he had been abused when a young boy by a priest, whom will referred to as Father A, and that this matter had not been properly dealt with by the Diocese, and particularly by the Bishop. The victim had grown up and had joined the priesthood.
4. Contact was made with the Bishop and the CEO travelled to the Diocese on 20 February 2008, to establish directly from those involved in the case of Father A, as to whether the complaint was justified or ill founded.
5. The visit failed to provide sufficient information to enable the CEO to make a fair assessment of what had happened. A selection of case papers were provided for review, but these were incomplete and insufficient for the purpose of forming a fair judgement as to what had happened in this case.
6. Correspondence was sent to the Bishop requesting access to the full case records and expressing concern at the fact that the complete documentation had not been made available for review by the NBSC.
7. On 7 April, the NBSC were contacted by Faoiseamh, the child protection helpline for the Congregations of the Religious of Ireland, (CORI). They were seeking help in responding to a distressed client, a woman, who they were uncertain of how to best meet her needs. The CEO spoke by phone to the lady who lived within the Diocese of Cloyne, and arranged to interview her.
8. The following day the CEO and Sister Colette Stephenson visited the lady in her own home. She described an alleged serious sexual abuse that she said she had been subject to from a priest within the Diocese of Cloyne, Father B. This was alleged to have gone on for approximately five and a half years. It was alleged that she was raped by a priest at the age of thirteen. We took a chronology from her of the abuse and of the contacts that she had had with the Bishop, and Monsignor O’Callaghan, in which she had detailed to them the alleged abusive behaviour of Father B.
9. As a consequence of these circumstances and within a relatively short period of time, two serious cases of sexual abuse had been reported to the NBSC on a completely unsolicited basis. Each complaint, alleged a lack of any adequate response being taken by the Diocese. They reported a perceived lack of willingness to follow any appropriate child protection procedures. In the case of the lady whom we visited, we formed the view that significant additional trauma had been generated for her through this perceived lack of acceptance and support.
10. Given the remit of the NBSC, it was decided that both cases should be fully investigated and that the Diocese should be asked to make all the relevant documents available for review, as a matter of priority.
11. On 21 April 2008, a meeting took place in the Columba Centre, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. The meeting was attended by Bishop Magee, Monsignor O’Callaghan, and Dean Goold, from the Diocese of Cloyne. Mr Aidan Canavan, the chair of the NBSC and the CEO were also present. Ms Ann Doyle took the minutes of the meeting. The case papers for the Father A and Father B complaints were handed over to the NBSC for review.
The Case of Priest A
1. The case papers furnished for Father A amount to eight folders into which relevant papers are placed. Although not required, there is no narrative recording of actions taken or decisions made. This makes it difficult to follow clearly the development of the case. The eight folders have the following headings:- Report to Civil Authorities, Fr. G and his contacts with XY, One in Four letter to the Minister, Relevant Minutes of Case Management Committee, Interview with XY, Correspondence with support person NT, Correspondence setting out implications of withdrawal from ministry for A, Interview with A.
2. In the correspondence supplied by the Department, the complainant had listed an alleged chronology of the case. This proved to be very useful as a template against which the case papers could be reviewed.
3. The complainant XY, a priest of the Diocese, first reported that he had been abused in December 2004. He spoke to the Bishop but he did not at that time identify who the alleged perpetrator was. Support for him was organised by the Bishop and he entered into counselling early in February of the following year.
4. In May of 2005, XY met with Dean Goold and disclosed to him that A was the priest who he alleged had abused him when he had been a young boy. In September of the same year and four months after XY had revealed who had allegedly abused him, Bishop Magee met with A on the foot of these allegations and following this meeting A decided to resign from his post as parish priest.
5. On 19 November 2005, six months after the identity of the accused was disclosed to the diocesan authority by the complainant, a letter was sent by Monsignor O’Callaghan to Superintendent McPollin of the Gardai, informing him that a complaint has been received against a priest in the Diocese. It names only the victim but does not identify the alleged perpetrator. It does state that he is another priest of the Diocese.
6. Two important points should be noted. Firstly, the delay in reporting was supposedly justified in the view of the Diocese, by the unwillingness of the complainant to talk to the Gardai. In short, the attitude of the complainant was seen as the determining factor as to whether a complaint was reported or not. This is an obvious and concerning misunderstanding of what good child protection practice dictates.
7. Secondly, the failure to name the alleged perpetrator to the Gardai was not exceptional. Indeed, it is described as “their normal practice” by the Bishop in a signed minute of a meeting which took place on 25 May 2006 involving the Bishop, XY and his parents. (The minute was produced by the Bishop himself.)
8. Throughout the case papers for priest A, references are made to the pastoral care policy of the Diocese and the need for reconciliation. It is not clear as to what is meant by these references. However, what are glaringly absent are any references to the need to protect vulnerable young people and to act in a timely and effective way to achieve this end. This is illustrated by the minutes of the Case Management Committee that met on 21 September 2005 to discuss the A case. Current risk to young people is not referred to at all. The suggestion is noted that the option of retirement to the accused might be offered if appropriate. (This is, in fact, what happened when the Bishop met the accused later in the month, when he decided to offer to retire from his post.)
9. What is also significant about the Case Management Committee that met to discuss this case was its composition. There was only one person who was not a member of the clergy present. It is not clear as to whether this is unusual or not. However it does raise issues about the objectivity of the advice that this group offered.
10. It should be noted that A held a role in the Diocese which would afford him opportunity for contact with young people. Through this he would have had frequent contact with young people of a similar age to that of XY. There is no evidence in the case papers that any attempt was made to identify any other possible victims amongst those young people.
11. A was sent for assessment to the Granada Institute where it was determined that he had no erotic interest in young people and represented a low risk for further abuse. It is not clear, nor is it stated anywhere in the file, as to whether A ever admitted to the alleged abuse. However, his legal representative has raised as an issue with the Diocese their failure to caution A about making an immediate response to the allegations when these were put to him by the Bishop.
The Case of Father B
1. The case papers for B comprise eight folders into which different items of correspondence and notes are placed. They have been given the following headings:- Further Complaints, NM. law case, NM. notes, Complaint PSP, DB Complaint, Concern re ZW. and her son V, B House, Withdrawal from Ministry.
2. There is no narrative recording in the file which makes it very difficult to sequence accurately the many significant events that took place in this complex case. Correspondence is combined with notes of telephone calls, meetings, and observations. Some are undated which adds further to the difficulty of interpreting accurately what happened.
3. The first noted complaint against B was received in early 1995. PSP and her father, informed the Bishop that B had sexually abused her. On 30th March , Bishop Magee directed Monsignor O’Callaghan to conduct an investigation. It is stated in the files reviewed that the papers on completion of the investigation were to be placed in the secret archive maintained by the Diocese. (The reference to this is dated 7/10/00).
4. The matter was submitted to the Diocesan Child Protection Management Committee on the 4th July 1995. It was further discussed on 17th July and again on 14th November of that year. It is noted in the recording of these discussions that the Committee raised doubts about the “quality of the alleged abuse” and the victim’s age. It was also noted that the victim did not want to report the matter to the Gardai and no report was made by the Diocese.
5. A further complaint was received by the Diocese on 4th September 1996. ZW, who is an adult woman, expressed her concern about the relationship that B had with her fourteen year old son, V. Father B was described as overly affectionate to him and would give him expensive gifts. He was observed kissing him on one occasion. Also, V and B would kiss each other goodnight. ZW. also reports that she had a sexual relationship with B for about a year which gave B frequent access to her house.
6. On 9th December 1997, DB, a new complainant, wrote to the Bishop and alleged that B sexually abused her during a young people’s retreat at St. Dominic’s in Ennismore. She alleged that the abuse took place during the hearing of her confession which was conducted in a bedroom at the retreat house. She was instructed to lie on the bed for her confession to be heard. B then abused her.
7. On 14th February 1998, Bishop Magee directed a letter to B in which he states that “pending the pastoral decision which I may eventually take in your regard, I require you do not engage in the visitation of schools or have young people under the age of eighteen alone in your house.” B was a careers guidance teacher in a local convent school.
8. B was placed on restricted ministry following the letter from the Bishop in early 1998. He was able to continue to wear priest’s clothing. On 16th May 2002, Monsignor O’Callaghan sought advice with regard to B’s future. He raised the possibility of a return to “full ministry” for B. This would involve an approach to complainants to secure their agreement.
9. A telephone conversation is noted in the file as taking place on 4th June 2002 between Monsignor O’Callaghan and B in which a number of alternatives are raised including retiring on sick leave, or taking action to clear his name. The option of transferring to a Diocese in America was considered not viable because of the allegations.
10. In January 2003, ZW and her son V, who was then twenty one years old, returned again to complain about B. Further detail is noted of the alleged abusive sexual relationship between B and V. The matter was referred to the Gardai for the first time for investigation. Consideration was given and noted in the file to the possible withdrawal from ministry of B.
11. On 17th November 2005 NM, a new complainant made contact with the Diocese and alleged serious sexual abuse by B. She alleged that the abuse began when she was thirteen years of age and involved full sexual intercourse. She also alleged that the abuse lasted until she was eighteen years of age and B was frequently seen by the victim in the community wearing priest’s clothes. The matter .was reported to the Gardai for investigation.
12. On 13th January 2006, Monsignor O’Callaghan wrote to Bishop Magee regarding how he might respond to the request from the Gardai investigating the complaints against B. It is clear from the papers contained in the file that the policy of the Diocese in their contacts with the Gardai was to give “minimal” information. In particular, it is indicated that no information was to be volunteered in respect of any previous complaints involving this priest.
Interview with Bishop Magee and Monsignor O’Callaghan
1. On 6th May 2008, the Chairman and CEO of the NBSC met with Bishop Magee and Monsignor O’Callaghan to address questions to them arising from the review of the case papers. Eight questions had been identified for discussion. These comprised:-
” What is the reporting policy for Child Abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne?
” How many priests are currently living in the Diocese against whom a child protection allegation has been made?
” What information would normally be given to the Gardai or the HSE when making a child protection referral?
” What preventative actions would normally be taken when information comes to light that a priest is accused of causing harm to a child or young person?
” What role does the informant’s consent play in deciding whether or not a referral is made to the Gardai or to the HSE, of alleged abuse?
” What is meant by the term “a pastoral care policy for responding to child abuse cases in the Diocese of Cloyne”?
” What sources of advice are available to you in deciding how to respond to a child abuse allegation within the Diocese?
” On reflection, what would be your view of the actions that were taken to protect children from further harm from alleged abusers in the Diocese of Cloyne?
2. The information given by the Bishop and the Monsignor in interview has been taken account of in the analysis and recommendations section of this report. To summarise their position, they accept fully that “lacunae” existed in their child protection policies and practice. They recognise the need to ensure that all information relating to an allegation of abuse is conveyed to the appropriate authorities fully and in a timely way. They accept also that this has not happened in these two cases.
3. Although it was confirmed to the NBSC at the meeting that a substantial and radical re-appraisal of child protection policies and practice in the Diocese had taken place, it had not yet resulted in any new approach being committed to paper. However, this was accepted by the Bishop as something that urgently needed to happen.
Assessment of Child Protection Practice
1. These two cases provide sufficient evidence to form an accurate judgement on the adequacy of child protection practice in this Diocese. It is significantly deficient in a number of respects. Most alarmingly, it fails to focus on the needs of the vulnerable child and the requirement to take preventative actions quickly and effectively to secure their wellbeing.
2. Good child protection practice involves working openly and in a collaborative manner with those agencies that hold the statutory powers to investigate child abuse and to intervene to protect children. The very essence of this relationship is a willingness to share information with those who hold the responsibility to take actions.
3. In these cases, information sharing was always limited and approached on a reluctant basis. The term “minimal” is used in the case papers to describe what is aimed for. This position appears to be endorsed by certain persons who provide advice for the Bishop which raises serious questions about the quality of that advice.
4. Any meetings that were convened by the Diocese, such as the Child Protection Management Committee, are apparently focused on the needs of the accused priest. There is no documentary evidence that the ongoing risk to vulnerable children was discussed or considered at any time by them. Again, this raises serious doubts about the ability of those groups to perform effectively in this role.
5. There appears to be no understanding or appreciation of the nature of the issues that they were dealing with. Individuals who sexually harm children do not reform easily. It is always dangerous and often irresponsible to assume that an individual who once harmed a child, has achieved a position of low risk, through this being asserted by someone who is seen as expert in the field. Behaviour of this nature is often deeply entrenched and is not easily eliminated.
6. The Bishop is the responsible person in these matters. He holds the authority and the responsibility to ensure that actions are taken and children are protected. In these cases, this did not happen in the way that it should have. Actions when taken, were inappropriately delayed and were minimal in content. The responsibility to take action and to make decisions can not be delegated from the Bishop to other bodies, regardless of what level of expertise it is assumed they hold. This appears not to have been properly understood in both of these cases. There is a very clear difference between an advisory role and a decision making one.
7. There is no appreciation evident from the records or from the interviews that it was realised that by allowing individuals against whom an allegation has been made, to continue to wear the vestments of a priest may facilitate further abuse of young people. Priests occupy a position of trust and respect in communities. This profile is useful for a predatory abuser who happens also to be a priest, who can then utilise his position as a means of securing new victims. The Diocese is vulnerable to be seen as complicit in this by not taking action to remove these people from the priesthood.
8. The issues that these two cases deal with are very serious. The potential for long lasting hurt as a result of mishandling a complaint is real. Given the serious nature of what is involved, it is surprising to find case papers that lack coherent content. A higher standard of recording practice is urgently required.
9. There is a failure evident in both cases, to distinguish between what is termed “historic abuse” and “current risk”. The disclosure of child sexual abuse occurs most often after a significant passage of time has elapsed. Adults disclose, often incrementally, about the abuse that they endured as a child. This pattern of disclosure is not uncommon but appears to fail to lead to the assessment of current risk. This contributed to a failure to take appropriate preventative actions to protect children in both these cases.
1. The Board is satisfied that it received all relevant and available files from the Diocesan authority in relation to its investigation and that the relevant diocesan personnel did make themselves available to meet with the CEO.
2. Children have been placed at risk of harm within the Diocese of Cloyne through the inability of that Diocese to respond appropriately to the information that came to it regarding child protection concerns involving the clergy. It failed to act effectively to limit the access to children by individuals against whom a credible complaint of child sexual abuse was made.
3. The competence of those involved in this area of work in the Diocese has to be questioned. Risk has not been recognised and responded to appropriately.
4. Put simply, the responses of the Diocese could be described as ill advised, and too little, too late. However, the events that these cases focus on are very significant to those involved.
5. In going forward, the Church as a whole seeks to demonstrate best practice in the field of safeguarding children. It aims to enhance the lives of those that it has contact with. It wants to eliminate preventable harm and suffering. In each of these cases, it has failed to do so. It is of vital importance that the learning from the review of these two cases is immediately and comprehensively addressed by the Diocese of Cloyne and anywhere else within the Church where it may be relevant.
1. The Diocese of Cloyne adopts immediately a safeguarding policy for children that meets the standards expected of it within the Church as a whole.
2. One of the essential elements of this safeguarding policy will be the sharing of all information held on any alleged abuser within the Diocese with the appropriate statutory authorities, in a timely way.
3. The development of an open and collaborative working relationship with the key statutory agencies in the area should be seen as a priority. This should be based on a sound understanding of the role and remit given to each body under the legislation that applies in this country.
4. The current child safeguarding structure within the Diocese is reviewed to confirm that it can provide high quality safeguarding advice that appropriately recognises the need for protecting the vulnerable child, rather that concentrating on the management of the accused.
5. Any other cases that have been identified within the Diocese should be urgently reviewed to establish if current risk has been adequately assessed. This should be progressed independent of the Diocese until confidence is restored in the ability of those involved to take required actions.
6. Preventative actions should be reviewed and implemented in all cases that are known to the Diocese to protect other children from potential further abuse. (These should include addressing the question as to whether a person should be placed on administrative leave or stood aside from active ministry and the strictures that should be imposed pending investigation and whether the priest remain in the priesthood at all. Such action must be taken at the earliest opportunity.)
7. Child protection training should be sourced and provided for those involved in child protection in the Diocese, to improve their ability to recognise risk and to record their practice appropriately.
8. All present and future safeguarding practice in the Diocese should be recorded in case files that allow for the easy retrieval of key information on actions taken and decisions made.
These recommendations represent the key areas for immediate change in the area of child protection practice within the Diocese of Cloyne. The adoption of each should give rise to an action plan for their implementation which will include a timescale for their completion. This should be shared widely within the Diocese so that the fact that change has taken place will be comprehensively understood. Failure to atke such action will place children at risk, and set back the positive developmental work that the Church as a whole has embarked upon.
Chief Executive Officer
National Safeguarding Board for Children
Catholic Church in Ireland
30th June 2008
Dedicated Website for further Cloyne Diocese Safeguarding Children information: http://www.safeguardingchildrencloyne.ie