Thursday, 12 October 2017

Chaplain allegedly performed oral sex on girl before Mass

Woman claims teacher sexually abused her in school oratory when she was student
In civil proceedings, the woman has sued the man, who left the priesthood some years ago, for damages, including aggravated damages. He denies the claims.

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A woman who claims she was sexually abused by a school chaplain when she was a secondary school student has claimed before the High Court he performed oral sex on her in the school oratory.

The woman said she was a fifth-year student at the time and was wearing her school uniform and, after the sexual activity, both of them got ready for a sixth-year graduation Mass. The chaplain was 20 years older than her, she said.

The woman, under continued cross-examination on the sixth day of her case by Miriam Reilly SC, for the then chaplain who has since left the priesthood, said this was the first time they had oral sex on the school premises.

She said she was helping out at the sixth-year graduation Mass. When the chaplain was writing his speech in the oratory, there was “touching” and he then performed oral sex on her, she said.

When Ms. Reilly put to her this did not happen, the woman said she knew it happened and said the priest had performed oral sex on her.

When counsel asked was this not “very risky”, the woman replied: “Everything about this relationship was risky.”

In her civil action, the now 28-year-old woman alleges that, between 2004 and 2007, she was repeatedly and wrongfully physically and sexually assaulted, falsely imprisoned and sexually abused and subjected to sexualised behaviour by the Catholic chaplain, who was also a teacher in her secondary school.

In civil proceedings, she has sued the man, who left the priesthood some years ago, for damages, including aggravated damages. He denies the claims.

She also sued the school and the local bishop who both deny any liability.

Mr Justice Robert Eagar has been told the school pleads it is not vicariously liable for any alleged actions of the priest and contends the diocesan bishop is liable.


A woman who claims she was sexually abused by a school chaplain over a three year period has launched a High Court action for damages.

The 28-year-old woman alleges the abuse began when she was a Transition Year student.

"He exploited her continually and regularly", Jack Fitzgerald SC, for the woman, said.

"His attitude to the claim and what she says happened is that none of it ever happened,"  counsel said.

The woman has sued the priest as well as the school in the South East and the local bishop.
Mr Justice Robert Eagar was told the school claims it is not vicariously liable for any alleged actions of the priest.

She claims that between 2004 and 2007 she was repeatedly and wrongfully physically and sexually assaulted, falsely imprisoned and sexually abused.

She says she was subjected to sexualised behaviour by the Catholic chaplain and teacher in her secondary school.

She has alleged that on a school trip to Gambia, when she was 16 years of age, he invited her and another student to sleep in his bed with him.

The three of them spent the night together.

Mr Justice Robert Eagar was told the school claims it is not vicariously liable for any alleged actions of the priest.
The priest she has further claimed was very attentive to her on the trip and after that sent her private text messages.

She has also claimed the priest continued to send private text messages to her and they became increasingly personal and sexual in nature.

She has alleged the priest bought a mobile phone for the specific purpose of texting her and that the priest allegedly advised her they would wait until she was seventeen before they could take the relationship further.

A few days after she turned 17, the priest brought the girl and some friends to the cinema. She claims when he took her home he kissed her.

It is claimed intimate physical contact would occur in his office in the school, after school, in the school chapel and he priest's house.

It is claimed the physical contact developed and progressed from kissing and cuddling to oral sex.

She has claimed the priest was held in high regard by everyone and she was unable to discuss the relationship with anyone.

She felt pressurised by the priest to have sexual intercourse with him.

It is alleged that by the time she was in Leaving Cert year she was having sexual contact with the priest about once a week.

The priest ended the relationship with the girl in February of sixth year and stopped talking to her.

Opening the case, her counsel said the woman first made her allegations in 2011 and the school board of management conducted an inquiry and found there had been no sexual contact between the two.


When I published yesterday's article about this case we have the usual numbers of MINDLESS  CHURCH DEFENDERS trying to make out that the chaplain/teacher in question was NOT a priest but a lay chaplain.

This piece from The Irish Times makes it clear:

1. That the chaplain was a priest.

2. That he engaged in oral sex with the girl in the school Oratory.

3. That the priest has since left the priesthood.

4. The school managers found no sexual contact !!!!!

On another day, after this article was published the judge did decide (wrongly in my opinion) that the bishop was not liable but that the priest and school was.

There are questions:

1. Who appointed the priest as school chaplain?

2. Was it the bishop or his representatives appointed him?

3. Was the priest a religious priest or a diocesan priest.

My experience in these matters suggests to me that the priest was a diocesan priest and the appointment was made by the bishop.

I might be wrong?

But if I am not I believe that the bishop should have been judged to be at least partly liable.

People are wondering where the school was?

During the case, it was said it was in the South East of Ireland.

That suggests Wexford or Waterford.

The victim may at some time in the future renounce her right to privacy for us to know.

I hope this man has not - or will not - be employed in another school.


We will not see the Catholic Church take full and thorough action on these matters until we see a photograph on the front page of The Irish Times of a bishop, in handcuffs on the way to prison.


  1. The priest may not have been directly employed by the school but was there on Church business to carry out activity on behalf of the church so Church should in some manner carry the can.

  2. This blog has hit rock bottom. The topics being discussed lately are just rubbish. Very few are replying.

    1. There is always the odd commentator who will detract rather than participate. If Anon 09.53 really believed his/her comment (s)he would simply stop viewing the blog. Interestingly (s)he comes back daily to view the latest installment.

      Clearly the words are those of a person who would prefer if the blog disappeared. The actions are those of a person who reads the blog.

      Pat, it's a good topic. It is relevant and this highlights the structural defense of the church that is build into the chaplaincy arrangements with schools and hospitals.

      Clearly the State and Church should be separated in such chaplaincy situations. Equally clear is that priests should be afforded employee status with bishops holding employer liability. In effect that would mean the legal positions would reflect the reality.

      I think there should be scope for the school to appeal the decision not to hold the bishop jointly liable, but would the Dept of Education have the guts to make such an appeal?? Probably not. Perhaps we should get our local TDs to ask the Minister of Education some Dail questions in relation to how he will respond to this?

    2. Very good commentary and points.

    3. But you enjoy tuning in, anyway, don't you?

    4. I love tuning in. This blog is a God-send to those of us abused in Maynooth and those of us whose bishop covered up that abuse.

  3. Thanks Pat.. for your clarification on yesterday's story.
    I did my best to try and explain the reasons why this was very unlikely to be a lay chaplain in my posts yesterday as readers will know but some posters were hellbent on getting me to "prove".

    1. As far as some Taliban like Catholics are concerned no priest or bishop can ever do anything wrong!!!

    2. Thanks to AOD for sending me the clarifying material.

  4. 09.53 I totally agree.

  5. @9.53
    Why not write out a list of topics for Pat then? ---You say the blog is "at rock bottom"
    What your your rescue plan be?

    1. The Blog needs no rescue as number of visitors rises.

      But topics for discussion are very welcome.

      As are articles/blogs written exclusively by readers.

    2. Where are all the blog improvements suggestions from poster at 9.53?

      Easier to complain about things than come up with positive suggestions.. yes?

  6. 12.19 it's not my blog. Do you want to do the work for you, sounds like it

    1. No. But if you have no constructive suggestions - stop gurning!

    2. At 12.19
      If every blog needs to conform to your particular interests does that make you Kim Jung Un?

    3. Hey 14.20
      Where did any poster say the blog needed to conform "to your particular interests"?? Very strange...

    4. @18.28

      It's self explanatory. Think about It before you post.

  7. Ha ha! - Nice one, Pat!

  8. Dear Pat, I owe you an apology. I was a poster on your blog of yesterday. Indeed, I think I was the first person who suggested that this couldn't have been a priest. I did so for two reasons: (1) the article you posted did not mention that it was a priest and it certainly suggested to me that it was a teaching chaplain. it was a badly written article. (2) I thought to myself that a young chaplain would have been more lightly to have been gay.
    I note from the two articles published in todays blog that that the man was definitely a priest. I also note that he is around 48 or 50 now. He's too not young. Most of the early 40s and younger are gay if given the choice and asexual if not.
    I wish to apologise to you. I am not a Church Defender.

    1. No apology needed.

      What you said was rational and possible :-)

  9. Pat, I'd like to offer for your consideration a guest blog post on the notion of clergy being self-employed. I have some knowledge of the subject of self-employment via my experience as a senior policy official in the Department of Work and Pensions HQ in Whitehall.

    1. I would welcome that warmly and welcome you as a guest blogger :-)

    2. I'll email you a draft in a day or so.

    3. As a priest I have always resented the concept of being self-employed. I could not act in any self-employed status. It did seem that this concept was largely due to the fact that we - rather than the diocese - would pay for our own stamps.
      Would appreciate an expert analysis

    4. I'm the proposed guest blogger. Key points will be:

      * tax and National Insurance implications of employed Vs self employed both for clergy and the diocese, including the benefits/disbenefits for all parties. That includes paid holidays, PAYE, pensions, terms and conditions as set out in contract, the right to strike (!), appeals, interviews for jobs. To what extent are these realistic and to what extent is priesthood comparable to lay occupations? Are the clergy to have no rights or is there a sliding scale and where does it stop?

      * the motives, good and ill, with particular reference to clergy; whether or not it's perfectly legal tax avoidance;

      * what are the perks and risks of self-employment Vs the perks and risks of paid employment. Do clergy get all the risks but none of the perks? Perks are lower National Insurance, higher expenses set against tax, no contract of employment. Risks are smaller State pension, no employment protection rights, even less than an agency worker.

      * Do what extent do clergy have the autonomy that self-employment implies? Can they work when and where they want and set their own terms and conditions? Are they appointed somewhere or do they choose? Are they accountable to anyone but themselves? Can they be fired? Is the promise of obedience to a bishop and his successor an implied contract?

      * Who meets the main costs of the worker, eg housing, the workplace (eg presbytery, church)? The priest or the diocese?

      * Why is the diocese the employer for National Insurance purposes ie the diocese pays the stamp but denies other obligations?

      * Would making priests employees confer rights, and conversely obligations which neither party might welcome?

      * In the law words should have their plain and simple meaning, as understood by a reasonable person. Does the average reasonable person consider clergy, who are ordained only with the church's permission, sent hither and thither, subject to canon law, accountable in many ways, truly self-employed?

      * Self-employment suggests an offer of chargeable goods and services, with profit and loss accounts and chargeable services rendered. Does that happen?

      In summary, bishops may feel that contracts of employment have too much of a feel of lucre and unbefitting a priest. Or it could be a tax and National Insurance dodge, or a way of freeing the bishop from conferring employment rights above and beyond those provided by Canon law. Or it makes thinks simpler administratively. Perhaps it's always been that way so just custom and with no malign intent.

      A few initial thoughts. I think I've written my guest blog post, Pat.

    5. Is that it!!

    6. Try not to feel bad that you now "dislike being alone in a room" with someone, Sr M.
      I am sure the feeling is mutual.

    7. Not at all clear what country or region the guest blogger is talking about?? Bring back Pat!

    8. Hey, hope that guest blogger doesn't everywhere is same as his Whitehsll!!
      We are not that tied to London's apron strings you know.

    9. Arlene's on fire13 October 2017 at 07:14

      It's obviously the UK. Tiny clues: reference to National Insurance; written by someone with a UK background, as explained earlier in the thread.

    10. Yes.. @Arlene... but the UK IS NOT ALL EXACTLY THE SAME... Didn't you even read what the posters replied!!

  10. Too often being a chaplain or indeed a member of the clergy, can open one to all kinds of allegations. I personally will never find myself alone in a room with a child or vulnerable adult. In fact, I dislike being alone in a room with a stranger. Indeed I have felt an unease ever since the false allegations against Nora Wall. In my opinion and pastoral experience, we must deem void the role of chaplains and bring in professionals who can deal with counselling and call them exactly that. We must stop the government from funding chaplains who slack and drink tea to pass the time.
    Sr. Mary

    1. A good suggestion.

      Most priests I know who were, or had been, chaplains are personally averse to the role.

      The assumption that a man, by virtue of priestly ordination, is ideally suited to chaplaincy work is as arrogant as it is preposterous.

      Chaplaincy is a unique vocation, calling for willing, and professionally trained, counsellors.

    2. It's such a pity when people become cynical like that lady about their role. As she says. it's better to leave it to those who can do it well.

  11. Sorry Pat, I forgot to add something vital, which I'd ask you to include:

    * there is no definition in UK law of what constitutes a self-employed Vs an employee. It relies on judgement of an individual case and on case law.

    * At the Employment Tribunal the question will be whether there is or was a contract of employment. I suspect that's why your Employment/Industrial Tribunal action against Cahal failed, Pat.

    * But in tax law, if you are an office holder you cannot be self-employed and must be put on PAYE. Are PPs inducted into parishes, chairs of school boards of governors, trustees of diocesan trusts, Vicars General, Diocesan Administrators, all office holders? I think so.

    * But none of this will be tested. Even if a priest or a group of priests won a civil hearing imagine the outcome for them in the diocese. So I suspect it'll be self-employment unless and until the civil authorities intervene. Personally I think it would be better for the bishops to act before that is necessary.

  12. I hope that guest blogger doesn't misinfotm or confuse people. He doesn't (so far) state where he is from and what jurisdiction he is intending to represent when he describes employment issues. We often have difficulty straightening out for employees the important differences (and where the similarities are) between say Gt. Britain and our devolved government situation here in N Ireland(since 1995). They are not completely the same and the Republic of Ireland is another jurisdiction yet again.
    Perhaps now that I have mentioned it he will be wary and our readers will be wary!
    Or better still, maybe the guest blogger has something else he could write about instead...

  13. He mentioned Whitehsll so a Gt Britain perspective.
    Not N Ireland as employment issues are one of our "devolved" things.
    Republic of Ireland have reliable experts if necessary and USA also.

  14. He mentioned Whitehall.

  15. @22.36

    Absolutely - - I'm with you man!

  16. Ha ha! He certainly had more questions than answers!... A bit like Jeremy Paxman on a bad day with a hangover.

  17. Arlene.. there's no "UK" where employment law is concerned! You mean GB obviously. Don't you even realise that N Ireland and Scotland have devolved government? The Republic of Ireland has a separate government. Had you heard about that?

  18. Arlene's on fire.13 October 2017 at 12:30

    PAYE, other taxation and National Insurance are all reserved to Westminster and are NOT devolved to NI or Scotland. Had you heard about that?

    1. I have heard of it.. It's my job.
      You still haven't grasped the points made by posters earlier on this thread.. There are SOME similarities BUT IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES. Even if you had read further down your Google check you would have seen this...

  19. @Arlene
    Yes, but what people are trying to make you appreciate is that while there are some similarities (you mentioned some of the them but not such a universal situation as you imply... even on those aspects.) there are enough important DIFFERENCES for professionals in the business to rightfully warn Pat and the potential guest poster that this is definitely not a one -size - fits - all area as far as blog advice goes. Now you obviously have a problem with that. That's no longer our concern and therefore this conversation - on our side-is now closed. We cannot be any clearer than we have been and Pat and other readers have already fully understood the points. Sorry.

    1. Speaking as neither Arlene nor the guest blogger what's all this "we" and "our" in your post above. Is that a Royal We or a Papal We? As late as Pope Paul VI encyclicals were addressed to "Our brothers in the episcopate".

      Lot of keyboard warriors about today, Pat. It must be payday and a few beers consumed here and there.

    2. I think you @ 18.52 whether or not you are a lone wolf, should perhaps let other person and groups post in the ways that they want.

      It's more courteous not to be so judgemental.

  20. Whether people reply singly or as a group with a spokesman is up to them surely!

  21. Not everyone gets paid on Friday..
    Not everyone is a drunkard..