Sexual abuse in Raphoe diocese

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This article summarises convictions and allegations of child sexual abuse by clergymen in the Raphoe Diocese, Ireland.


In 2000, Eugene Greene, a priest who served in the Raphoe Diocese, was sentenced to 12 years in jail after being accused of abusing up to 26 boys.[1][2] Greene, who had pleaded guilty to 40 out of 115 charges, was released from prison in 2008.[3]

A 2008 book alleges that Greene's criminality was known to clergy in Raphoe "at least as early as 1976".[4] The now retired Bishop of Derry, Dr. Séamus Hegarty, was Bishop of the Diocese of Raphoe in 1982–1994, during the period when some of this abuse occurred. However, in a RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta interview in 2002, Bishop Hegarty said he never knew of Greene's crimes when he was Bishop,[5] and the current Bishop of Raphoe, Dr. Philip Boyce, has stated that he was not made aware of child sexual abuse allegations against Fr. Greene in 1995.[6]

In 2006, the diocese of Raphoe adopted a policy to prevent further cases of child abuse. The report, entitled Child Protection in the Diocese of Raphoe, sought to build greater public awareness to break the social taboo about investigating allegations of clerical pederasty.[7]

Philip Boyce has said he would welcome an audit or any intervention which would help ensure the safety of children. This proposal was first put forward by retired Garda Martin Ridge, who investigated the child abuse carried out by Eugene Greene.[8][9]

On 11 August 2011 Bishop Boyce complained about a media article that claimed that "hundreds and hundreds" of children had been abused over 40 years by 20 priests in the diocese.[10][11]

On 30 November 2011 the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church published its review of Raphoe and examined all case files from 1975 to 2010 to determine how allegations and concerns were dealt with. Its purpose was also to interview key persons involved in child safeguarding, judge how cases are currently assessed, how the statutory authorities are notified and determine if there are any current risks to children. The review found that "significant errors of judgment" were made by successive bishops.[12]

52 allegations of abuse were reported to the Garda Síochana and the HSE against 14 priests incardinationed into the Diocese during the period 1 January to August 2010. Eight of those priests against whom an allegation was made are now "out of Ministry" or have left the priesthood. A total of four priests from the diocese have been convicted of having committed an offence or offences since 1 January. The review concludes that the diocese now has a robust safeguarding policy and procedure in place for safeguarding children, that files are kept in a satisfactory and orderly fashion, that there is a prompt referral system to the state authorities and good co-operation with the Garda Síochána and the Health Service Executive (HSE).[13]

The review was described as a whitewash by the local Tirconaill Tribune newspaper, which criticised the review for not having spoken with the abused.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Leahy, Enda (23 January 2005). "Cleaner 'abused children in church'". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Priest abuse victims speak out". BBC News. 29 October 2002. Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Notorious paedophile priest was caught out by his own arrogance", Irish Independent, 11 August 2011
  4. ^ Ridge M. & Cunningham G., Breaking the Silence Gill & Macmillan, Dublin 2008).
  5. ^ Irish Times 4 January 2010, p.6.
  6. ^ Statement from Bishop Philip Boyce, Bishop of Raphoe
  7. ^ Child Protection In The Diocese of Raphoe, 2006
  8. ^ Bishop of Raphoe would welcome child abuse investigation
  9. ^ Commission 'must be set up' for Raphoe
  10. ^ Harkin, Greg (11 August 2011). "Hundreds of children abused by 20 priests". Irish Independent. 
  11. ^ "Bishop Boyce responds to lead story in the Irish Independent | Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference". 11 August 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Taylor, Charlie. The Irish Times  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Report critical of Raphoe bishops
  14. ^ "BBC Two – This World, The Shame of the Catholic Church". 5 May 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012.