Head of Irish Catholic Church agrees abuse deal
DUBLIN (Reuters) - The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has agreed to a legal settlement over his role in administering an oath of secrecy to a teenage victim of clerical sexual abuse in 1975, the victim's lawyer said on Wednesday.
Cardinal Sean Brady has previously said he was ashamed that he had been present at meetings where children had to sign oaths of silence about allegations of abuse against Nobertine priest Brendan Smyth, one of Ireland's most notorious paedophiles. Many victims have called on Brady to resign.
Smyth died in 1997, just one month into a 12-year sentence after pleading guilty to 74 charges of indecent and sexual abuse on boys and girls for more than 30 years, many after Brady oversaw the oath.
Brendan Boland, now 50, sued Brady over his role in administering an oath of secrecy after he was abused by Smyth from 1973, when he was 12 years old.
A lawyer for Boland told reporters a settlement had been reached with the cardinal to end legal proceedings but declined to give further details. Irish media reported the settlement included a six-figure euro sum for Boland.
"I am most disappointed that he has refused even through his lawyers in court to publicly acknowledge and accept the failings of the Church in its handling of the circumstances giving rise to this case," Boland said in a statement.
A spokesman for the cardinal said the settlement had been reached between Boland and the Archdioceses of Armagh, of which Brady is head, on the basis that the abuse occurred there.
The church in predominantly Catholic Ireland has been rocked by a series of reports of child sex abuse stretching back decades and church leaders' complicity in covering it up.
Hundreds of cases of sexual and physical abuse of youths in recent decades by priests have come to light in Europe and the United States as disclosures encourage long-silent victims to go public with their complaints
A church watchdog Wednesday released reports on child protection practices in several Irish dioceses in recent decades in which it criticized delays reporting abuse to the civil authorities and errors of judgements by bishops.
It found there were serious delays in the reporting of abuse to civil authorities in the Diocese of Raphoe in the northwest of Ireland, where one priest, Father Eugene Greene, has admitted to more than 40 charges of indecent and sexual assault.
But victims said they did not trust the church to police itself.
"It doesn't clarify anything for any victim," Martin Gallagher, who was abused by Greene, told state broadcaster RTE. "What we want is a state investigation."
(Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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