Church gave sex claim priest pay-off money

ALAN MURDOCH

Dublin

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin has confirmed he loaned a priest facing sex-abuse allegations IRpounds 27,000 from church funds in 1993 to help him pay an out-of-court settlement to the victim, despite an earlier denial that any diocesan funds were used for such compensation.

It also emerged yesterday that the priest had served for six years as a chaplain at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Dublin in the early Seventies.

The priest at the centre of the allegations, Father Charles Ivan Payne, was alleged to have sexually assaulted an altar boy when he was a curate in Cabra, north Dublin, between 1977 and 1980. The boy was between 11 and 14 at the time of the alleged assaults. The money was provided in June 1993 when Fr Payne was a curate in Sutton, north Dublin, on condition the priest would be responsible for repaying it. A fifth of original sum has been returned.

A spokesman for the Archbishop, Dr Desmond Connell, told Irish television the loan had been drawn from a special fund for administering the diocese drawn from bequests and donations. Last May, Dr Connell denied that his diocese had paid compensation in cases of child abuse when he was asked about the subject in an Irish radio interview.

"I don't wish to make any comment on that because I get allegations perhaps that are without substance. I get allegations also not just against priests but also against others for whom I have some kind of responsibility, so I'm not going to make any comment on it."

Asked how many cases had been resolved with payment of compensation, he said: "I have compensated nobody. I have paid out nothing whatever in compensation and it is my policy that where a priest is guilty and where he wishes to make an out-of-court settlement that is his responsibility and the diocese does not pay for that.

"So the finances of the diocese are not in any way used to make settlements of that kind. The offending priest must find his own resources," Dr Connell said.

A statement yesterday from the Archbishop said that following two psychiatric reviews 10 years after the alleged incidents, during which no further accusations were made, Fr Payne had been cleared to continue his ministry. He has been helping run the church's Dublin marriage tribunal.

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