Bishop of Waterford and Lismore apologises over child abuse claims

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Another Irish bishop has apologised for failing to properly deal with allegations of child abuse against a priest, it was confirmed today.

Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Dr William Lee, who waited two years in the mid-1990s before telling gardai about complaints from two people, said his handling of accusations was seriously inadequate.

"I sincerely apologise and am deeply sorry for the inadequacies of my earlier actions in this case," the bishop said.

Bishop Lee said he particularly regretted not removing the priest from all ministry or informing other clerics the allegations had been made.

"In October 1995, having had the benefit of the guidance then emerging from the Bishops' Advisory Committee on child sexual abuse, I reviewed my earlier decisions in the case and concluded that these had been seriously inadequate," the bishop said in a statement.

"I particularly regretted that I had not sought the immediate withdrawal of the priest from all ministry and that others associated with the new ministry were not informed that allegations had been made."

The priest at the centre of allegations was not charged with criminal offences. Bishop Lee said two people who came forward first in 1993 declined to press charges and more people who made complaints in 1996 decided not to push for charges.

The resignations of two bishops over the mishandling of child abuse scandals have been accepted by the Vatican - former Bishop of Cloyne John Magee and former Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray.

Three others are awaiting their fate - Bishop of Kildare James Moriarty and Dublin auxiliary bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field - while others including Cardinal Sean Brady have issued apologies.