Derry clerical sex abuse report released

The Derry Diocese has dealt with 23 allegations of sex abuse against priests since 1975, a report into child protection has confirmed.

The review into child protection practices - conducted by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church - further reveals a total of 31 allegations had been reported to police in either Northern Ireland or the Republic.

The review also states a total of 33 allegations had been made to social services, while four priests against whom allegations were made are now “out of ministry”.

Seven of the priests against whom allegations were made are still living - 16 have since died.

The report noted “significant improvements in the management of allegations” since 2009 but said “It is not clear from the files that sufficient emphasis was placed on prompt referral to the police and social services by those legally advising the bishop.”

It says this contributed to “a delay in referring cases to the statutory authorities.”

The review further states: “ Priests about whom there were clear concerns were not robustly challenged or adequately managed and problems were often ‘handled’ by moving them to postings elsewhere. There is evidence that abusive behaviour continued to be exhibited by priests who were moved on in this manner.”

Reports into the child protection services in six Irish dioceses were published this morning.

Full coverage in Friday’s Derry Journal.