Wednesday, 11 October 2017



Student wins abuse case against chaplain

High Court awards woman ¤210,000 in claim against school and former chaplain Abuse occurred on school grounds and on trips abroad, including visit to pope


A woman who was sexually abused by a school chaplain, who was also her teacher, while she was a pupil at a secondary school has been awarded ¤210,000 damages by the High Court.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Robert Eagar commended the bravery of the woman in bringing her claim. His award against the former chaplain and the school, located in the southeast, included ¤10,000 in aggravated damages.
The judge said the case turned largely on the court’s assessment of the accuracy and truthfulness of the witnesses, and the woman’s evidence was coherent, consistent and credible.
He also accepted her evidence that the reason she found it difficult to report the abuse to the authorities until a year after she disclosed it to her family was that she felt no one would believe her.
The former chaplain’s claim that the woman brought the case out of a “lust for revenge” for him refusing to “go with her” or have sex with her was “wholly unconvincing”, the judge said.
The judge found the evidence of independent witnesses on behalf of the woman to be cogent and convincing, while that of the former chaplain was “inconsistent”.
He said the woman, following her disclosures to the school of the abuse, was subjected to the man denying any sexualised conduct had occurred. The man had also filed a counter-claim alleging her account was malicious lies.
Imprisoned
The judge found the former chaplain wrongfully physically and sexually assaulted, falsely imprisoned and sexually abused the woman, who was a transition-year student when the abuse began in 2005. It continued until 2007.
On the balance of probabilities, the judge accepted she had proved her case and preferred her evidence to that of the former chaplain. Some undisputed evidence, including that the girl and the chaplain shared a bed during a trip to Gambia, and some medical evidence, supported her case.
The woman was groomed by the defendant, the judge said. This consisted of sexualised behaviour and the judge said he accepted the woman’s evidence that her relationship with the chaplain developed into a sexual relationship while at all material times she was a schoolgirl.
The mental trauma suffered by the woman was not confined solely to the acts of assault and false imprisonment, but from the consequences of breach of trust by a man who played such an important role in her schooling and local community, the judge said.
During the case, the woman said that on a school trip to Gambia when she was 16 years old, the chaplain invited her and another student to sleep in his bed with him.
He first kissed her after she turned 17. The sexual element progressed and they had oral sex about 35 times. She said they had oral sex on a youth trip to Cologne, Germany, to see the Pope; and in the chaplain’s school office, bedroom, car and the school oratory.
She had sued the chaplain, the school and the bishop.
The judge found the chaplain was liable for the abuse and the school vicariously liable on grounds that its failure to adequately monitor his behaviour allowed an inappropriate relationship to develop into an abusive relationship.
The judge found, on the balance of probabilities, the woman’s injuries would not have occurred but for the negligence of the school and it should have foreseen that the intimacy and privacy of the chaplain’s role had the potential to create risk for students.
“There is no evidence of any system of checks being put in place to monitor the behaviour of the chaplain,” he said.
The judge said that, because the man was not directly employed by the Catholic Church as chaplain and teacher, the bishop was not vicariously liable for the acts committed by the chaplain.

PAT SAYS:

The line in this article I want to highlight today is the last line:

The judge said that, because the man was not directly employed by the Catholic Church as chaplain and teacher, the bishop was not vicariously liable for the acts committed by the chaplain.

What I cannot understand about this is that even though the school paid the chaplain's wages the chaplain was chosen and appointed to the school by his bishop!

Furthermore, the chaplain's wages would have been signed over to the diocese and the bishop and the priest would have received his normal diocesan clerical salary.

That means that this particular priest would have NOT been in the school but for the decision of the bishop.

Dad the bishop appointed another "non-abuser" priest to the chaplaincy this whole criminal scenario would not have occurred.

It annoys me how these Catholic bishops who have total control over priests - and others - make excuses when things go wrong and claim that they are not liable!

It's also disappointing that the civil courts treat Catholic bishops so lightly.

If you or I had played a major role in the appointment of that chaplain the judge would have found us at least partly liable. 

Had this particular school had the freedom to appoint their own chaplain - and the appointment was done professionally as it is for all teachers - this man may never have become chaplain.

I think that like In England hospital , prison and other chaplaincies should be done without pressure from the authorities in religions.

As far as I am concerned every priest and bishop should be treated by the courts as any other citizen would be treated.









58 comments:

  1. Very glad that the girl got justice after this disgraceful excuse of a chaplain behaved so badly.
    Your point, Pat, made in your sentence "Had this particular school.. etc" is the important one.
    Schools appointing any new staff must ensure that the new person takes a DBS disclosure check before taking up employment. (--formerly called a CRB check) At least that chaplain will now be on the Barred List and will never be employed in another institution where there are children or vulnerable adults. At least he shouldn't if they carry out their correct employment procedures as directed. Far be it from me to excuse that bishop, but the school concerned should have insisted on putting the correct initial checks into action. Easier said than done I suppose when they were expected to "trust the bishop's choice". Thank God it's now illegal to rely on hearsay where contact with under 18 yr olds are involved. I am referring to UK law.

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  2. You're wrong here I think. The chaplain was obviously not a priest. Nowhere in the article does it say he was a priest. In the South Bishops would have no say in non-clerical chaplains. Indeed, chaplains would be multidenominational in state schools (as opposed to Catholic Secondary Schools)

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    1. If he was not a priest why did the girl attempt to sue the bishop?

      At least it much have been a Catholic school under the control of the bishop for the girl to have named the bishop as a defendant?

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    2. I think the original poster at 1.09 is very likely to be correct in the assumption that the chaplain was a priest. A Catholic secondary school, even in this day and age, would definitely have a priest as chaplain as his duty would mainly be saying the school Masses and Sacrament of Confession for the pupils especially around Easter and Christmas. This is the Republic of Ireland we talking about. They would have no need of a lay chaplain as virtually any of their classroom teachers would be qualified to teach Religious Education. It's part of their training in most, if not all instances.

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    3. @12:04
      "Would have" is a presumption which doesn't stand up. You'll need more proof than that to substantiate your claim.

      As far as I remember this case was in the public domain some years ago. It's possible that the status if not the actual name of the defendant is available there.

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    4. @14,07
      I don't have to "have proof" "for anything chump and certainly not to you!
      A cursory revision of your grammar would be advisable... to get s grasp on the many uses of the subjunctive and other cases.

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    5. @14.07
      You say that "as far you remember" this case was in the public domain? Maybe you're right but I think, in your case, that's a "presumption" too far. Remember those?

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    6. Hey--the poster at 12.04 was describing the usual accepted situation in schools here in the Republic. The information is correct. RE is taught by lay teachers in schools everywhere here. Talk sense..

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    7. @19.30
      The subjunctive is a mood and a modality of verbs.

      Cases, on the other hand, apply to nouns, pronouns and qualifying adjectives.

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    8. The chaplain of Maynooth university is a lay woman lol, even though there are plenty of priests on the campus. Wasn't there a Vatican ruling a short while back that only the ordained could be called "chaplain"?

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    9. Cases also refers to "head cases" as you have just proved..

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    10. "Cases also refers...."

      Plural subject. Singular verb.

      Quod erat demonstrandum.

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    11. We have no idea whether there was a Vatican ruling on chaplains or not. A poster today explained that in third level education chaplains were paid members of Staff and that the word "chaplain" was very flexible as far as some colleges and universities were concerned. The person in that role was often like a kind of councillor or pastoral advisor. Maybe the Pope can spot the weakness in that. (It wouldn't be hard!)

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  3. The law in England and Wales has moved on. In the JGE case in 2012,
    the Court of Appeal held that the trustees of a Roman Catholic diocese are vicariously liable for abuse committed by a parish priest. The basis of the decision was that the bishop/priest relationship was 'close enough' to an
    employment relationship to justify the imposition of vicarious liability.
    Although the decision was not unanimous, the Supreme Court (perhaps surprisingly) refused permission for a further appeal.

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  4. More fool the school.

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  5. I read this artical a few days ago Pat. There is no suggestion in the artical that the chaplain is actually a priest. A lot of school chaplains are non-ordained. This may be why the bishop is not liable. I'm that case the chaplain who be an employee of the school only.

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    1. For the bishop to be named a defendant he had to have control over the school?

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    2. Again not necessarily. Many people assume that the local bishop 'controls' everything. However if the school was a religious congregation founded school the local bishop has no say in who they employ. It may have been a mistake: ie it's Catholic therefore the bishop is automatically liable. If the chaplin were a diocesan priest then mabey: if a layman the no

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    3. Who do you think the liable Trustees of a Catholic Secondary school are?

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  6. When I was chaplain in a secondary school it was not a formal arrangement. There was no contract and no wage as such. I'm sure things have moved on. Any work I did was seen as part of my parish duties.

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  7. It is still largely like that on both North and South of Ireland. The school Principal is simply told that Father xxx is your chaplain re/school Masses and calling in occasionally to speak to some of the classes - - maybe the First Communion class in particular. The classroom teachers were responsible for the day to day religious education.

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  8. Whether or not the chaplain was a priest will no doubt appear from the
    judgment when the official transcript is published (on the British and
    Irish Legal Information Insitute website and/or the Irish Courts Service
    website). But it seems most unlikely that the bishop would be named as
    a defendant unless the abuser was a priest of his diocese.

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    Replies
    1. Or a Catholic school of which the bishop or his appointees were on the board as chair or members.

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  9. The Irish courts are not one bit behind the door when it comes to making bishops and dioceses liable when they are, in fact, liable in abuse cases.

    Millions of euro have been paid out - rightly so - by bishops whose priests abused young people.

    No doubt, in this case, the judge weighed up all the evidence and made his judgment accordingly.

    But no - that’s not one bit good enough for the all-knowing, all-wise, all-just, entirely fair and balanced legal eagle, Pat Buckley - and his team of expert legal advisers.

    Your bigotry and prejudice, yet again, Fr Buckley, jaundices your eye.

    Thank God, in this case, justice was served for the victim and a sexual predator has been made accountable. That’s all that really matters to fair-minded people.

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    Replies
    1. This comment is total baloney.

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    2. This comment is bogus. The church was protected from 90+% of liability in Ireland and even at that they failed to pay part of their 100million for years.

      If the Church in Ireland was exposed like the Church in the USA was then the leaders of the Irish Church may have been held far more accountable for their poor leadership.

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  10. From around the middle of last year there was a review of the chaplaincy situation in THIRD level colleges and there were government proposals to offer funding for the posts which would be done on the usual school recruitment procedure as tutors would have been subjected to.
    The implication was that lay people could also apply and a body called "Atheist Ireland" were were pleased and satisfied about that as they continue their campaign to have the role of "chaplain" diluted into a mentoring and counselling understanding of the word "chaplain".
    So nowadays the title has definitely lost its original clerical meaning in many third level colleges.
    Having said that, the school mentioned in today's blog was second level education.
    I think the Catholic Secondary school would always aim to have a priest as their chaplain and to see the title of chaplain in its original meaning. Some schools have had a nun as chaplain but only if shortage of priests made it imperative. I suppose it's hard to be absolutely certain re/whether that person in today's blog story was a priest but someone knows!

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  11. Pat, have you been vetted to work with children or vulnerable adults?

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    1. The chaplain in question was a priest at the time of the offences but has since left the priesthood

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    2. well it appears someone is using your picture on grindr and pretending to be you

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  12. It amazes me why some people only feel better about themselves when they continually down others and see all too quickly their failings and sins. Pat -
    psychologically this reveals a "lostness" - a "pathology" - that reveals inner, unresolved emotional and spiritual issues... Interesting that, when you can, you SELF RIGHTEOUSLY ABROGATE ALL HUMAN GOODNESS TO YOURSELF. The rest of us are beyond redemption!

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  13. Arlene's on fire11 October 2017 at 17:28

    It's not even clear this is in the Free State. It says the south east, which I associate more with England. I'm nearly 100% sure the chaplain is a lay person. If he were a priest the reporter would emphasise that.

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    1. God Bless you Jessica Fletcher

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    2. "Nearly never done it"
      Isn't that what they say?

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    3. I have been racking my brains all day @ 17.28 and do you know, I can't think of one country that hasn't a "south east"! Isn't that strange?

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    4. Jessica Fletcher she ain't.
      More like Jessica Rabbit we think!

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  14. Does the poster at 16.11 know which Irish (or English) county this blog story today happened in?

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  15. Chaplains are of very little relevance in times of medical crisis etc. In my experience of healthcare the last thing a patient who has received bad news needs is spiritual advice. it is a time for family and friends gathering around and sensible medical intervention rather than non sensical tripe. That being said when I worked as a part time chaplain to a private school my salary was very poor, I earned £12,000 pounds. I however was not under the auspices of a bishop but rather the board of governors and my order.

    Sr. Mary

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    1. Whoever you are at 18.15, I think you need a brain transplant! If you are a "religious" of any kind your comment is both pathetic and utterly inane. So, Sr. Mary, get real or seek help.

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    2. With that attitude to your(potentially) important role of chaplain "of very little relevance... in my experience.." to re-iterate your own description, I am surprised you had a position at all! Who said anything about a chaplain's role bring confined to times of medical crisis? It sounds like (very) part time work and here's hoping you don't have many daily crises calls in your present private school post.

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    3. This Sr Mary character comes on here all too often making ridiculous assertions and claims that can not be upheld. Mary my love you need to go easy on the cognac and get an early night.

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    4. Sr Mary your some woman

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    5. Mary I tend to agree somewhat that in medical cases intervention needs to be quick and swift. however God is still present in that situation and a kind word and a kind heart from the chaplain can maybe ease the pain and help the patient. May God bless the work that you do sister.

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    6. 'chaplain's role bring confined'

      its 'being'

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    7. ".. You're some woman."

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  16. The poster at 18.15 is not the Sr. Mary who posted over the last number of days. I think 18.15 is using the name in a mischievous way and I very much doubt their honesty in using it.
    Sr. Mary

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    1. Why would you say the poster is any less sincere than you are? - - There are literally dozens of nuns who have Mary as part of their professed name!

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    2. 18:31 you are clearly trying to cause division and upset. I have made my statement. Perhaps I could have worded my contribution in a more contrite manner but I speak with experience, conviction and realism. I have been a committed religious for many years and given my life to my Church. Wisdom is a profound and distinguished attribute with which I speak.
      Sr. Mary (The real Sr. Mary)

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    3. Thank you to the rail Sr Mary Wonder if she's fooly trained?, (From the "real" Anonymous)

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  17. id love a bag of chips and quarter pounder, some nuggets, strawberry milkshake yum yum

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  18. Good luck with that then!

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  19. Sr. Mary could bring the vinegar wine she's on for better taste, since her utterances are symptomatic of someone on the bottle! I suggest the Sr. Mary who is chaplain should retire if she feels so useless at pivotal moments....

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    Replies
    1. who IS a chaplain.

      I'm tired of correcting your grammar.

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    2. Actually, she sounds quite intellectual.

      I'm pleased you (and others here) are trolling her, because you can only learn from her knowledge, and mental acuity.

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    3. @22.07

      And guess what?!!
      We're tired of your "corrections"! So snap..

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  20. No I'm Sr Mary! I'm Sparticus!!!!

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  21. Pat. Can you name the Diocese this happened in?. I have a good idea myself especially if the Chaplain was a Priest.

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