Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/560434
Title:
The Ferns report
Authors:
Murphy, Francis D.; Buckley, Helen; Joyce, Laraine
Citation:
Murphy, Francis D, Buckley, Helen, Joyce, Laraine. 1995. The Ferns Report: presented to the Minister for Health and Children, October 1995. Dublin: Stationery Office.
Publisher:
Stationery Office
Issue Date:
Oct-2005
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/560434
Item Type:
Report
Language:
en
Description:
The Ferns Inquiry identified over 100 allegations of child sexual abuse made between 1962 and 2002 against 21 priests operating under the aegis of the Diocese of Ferns. Six of the priests had died before any allegations of abuse were made against them. Three more died subsequent to the allegations. The nature of the response by the Church authorities in the Diocese of Ferns to allegations of child sexual abuse by priests operating under the aegis of that diocese has varied over the past forty years. These variations reflect in part the growing understanding by the medical professions and society generally of the nature and the consequences of child sexual abuse and in part the different personalities and management styles of successive Bishops. Between 1960 and 1980 it would appear that Bishop Herlihy treated child sexual abuse by priests of his diocese exclusively as a moral problem. He penalised the priest in respect of whom the allegation was made by transferring him to a different post or a different diocese for a period of time but then returned him to his former position. By 1980, Bishop Herlihy recognised that there was a psychological or medical dimension to the issue of child sexual abuse. His decision in 1980 to send priests in respect of whom allegations of abuse were made to a psychologist was appropriate and broadly in accordance with the understanding then evolving. What was wholly inappropriate and totally inexplicable was the decision of Bishop Herlihy to appoint to curacies priests against whom allegations had been made and in respect of whom a respected clerical psychologist had expressed his concerns in unambiguous terms as to their suitability to interact with young people. Equally inappropriate was Bishop Herlihy's decision to ordain clearly unsuitable men into the priesthood when he knew or ought to have known that they had a propensity to abuse children. It is the view of the Ferns Inquiry, as it was the view of Roderick Murphy SC (now Mr Justice Roderick Murphy) as expressed in his Report on Child Sexual Abuse in Swimming (1998), that where a credible allegation of child sexual abuse is made against an employee (or other person acting under authority) it is the responsibility of the employer or superior to require the employee to step aside promptly from any post or position in which he has access to children. Bishop Comiskey accepted that this principle was equally applicable to the exercise by a bishop of his authority under Canon Law in relation to priests of his diocese. Furthermore it was recognised that in the case of diocesan clergy "stepping aside" from a position in which there is unsupervised access to children necessarily entailed stepping aside from the active ministry entirely pending the investigation of the allegations.
Keywords:
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE; RELIGIOUS GROUP; PSYCHOLOGY; SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR
Series/Report no.:
A5; 1774

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorMurphy, Francis D.en
dc.contributor.authorBuckley, Helenen
dc.contributor.authorJoyce, Laraineen
dc.date.accessioned2015-07-14T15:13:50Zen
dc.date.available2015-07-14T15:13:50Zen
dc.date.issued2005-10en
dc.identifier.citationMurphy, Francis D, Buckley, Helen, Joyce, Laraine. 1995. The Ferns Report: presented to the Minister for Health and Children, October 1995. Dublin: Stationery Office.en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10147/560434en
dc.descriptionThe Ferns Inquiry identified over 100 allegations of child sexual abuse made between 1962 and 2002 against 21 priests operating under the aegis of the Diocese of Ferns. Six of the priests had died before any allegations of abuse were made against them. Three more died subsequent to the allegations. The nature of the response by the Church authorities in the Diocese of Ferns to allegations of child sexual abuse by priests operating under the aegis of that diocese has varied over the past forty years. These variations reflect in part the growing understanding by the medical professions and society generally of the nature and the consequences of child sexual abuse and in part the different personalities and management styles of successive Bishops. Between 1960 and 1980 it would appear that Bishop Herlihy treated child sexual abuse by priests of his diocese exclusively as a moral problem. He penalised the priest in respect of whom the allegation was made by transferring him to a different post or a different diocese for a period of time but then returned him to his former position. By 1980, Bishop Herlihy recognised that there was a psychological or medical dimension to the issue of child sexual abuse. His decision in 1980 to send priests in respect of whom allegations of abuse were made to a psychologist was appropriate and broadly in accordance with the understanding then evolving. What was wholly inappropriate and totally inexplicable was the decision of Bishop Herlihy to appoint to curacies priests against whom allegations had been made and in respect of whom a respected clerical psychologist had expressed his concerns in unambiguous terms as to their suitability to interact with young people. Equally inappropriate was Bishop Herlihy's decision to ordain clearly unsuitable men into the priesthood when he knew or ought to have known that they had a propensity to abuse children. It is the view of the Ferns Inquiry, as it was the view of Roderick Murphy SC (now Mr Justice Roderick Murphy) as expressed in his Report on Child Sexual Abuse in Swimming (1998), that where a credible allegation of child sexual abuse is made against an employee (or other person acting under authority) it is the responsibility of the employer or superior to require the employee to step aside promptly from any post or position in which he has access to children. Bishop Comiskey accepted that this principle was equally applicable to the exercise by a bishop of his authority under Canon Law in relation to priests of his diocese. Furthermore it was recognised that in the case of diocesan clergy "stepping aside" from a position in which there is unsupervised access to children necessarily entailed stepping aside from the active ministry entirely pending the investigation of the allegations.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherStationery Officeen
dc.relation.ispartofseriesA5en
dc.relation.ispartofseries1774en
dc.subjectCHILD SEXUAL ABUSEen
dc.subjectRELIGIOUS GROUPen
dc.subjectPSYCHOLOGYen
dc.subjectSEXUAL BEHAVIOURen
dc.titleThe Ferns reporten
dc.typeReporten
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