Thursday, 18 Apr 2024

No charges against Casey despite his niece's claims he sexually abused her

There was no outstanding criminal investigation or charges against the late Bishop Eamonn Casey at the time of his death despite claims by his niece that he abused her over a 10-year period, it has been claimed.

His niece Patricia Donovan gave a lengthy interview to a Sunday newspaper yesterday claiming she had been sexually abused by the late Bishop Casey from the age of five.

She said she reported this to gardaí in 2005.

The allegations were investigated in 2006 but the Director of Public Prosecutions ordered that no charges were to be brought on 13 sample allegations.

On foot of Ms Donovan’s allegations, the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton in the UK, where her uncle was serving as a hospital chaplain, sent him back to Galway diocese.

In 2005, allegations against the former bishop were reported in the media, but yesterday’s interview in the ‘Irish Mail on Sunday’ was the first time the bishop’s niece was named as his accuser.

When contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday, a statement for Bishop of Galway Brendan Kelly was issued.

“The Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora is aware of one allegation of child sexual abuse against Bishop Eamonn Casey. This allegation was reported to An Garda Síochána,” the statement said.

“No prosecution was undertaken. The diocese understands that, at the time of his death in March 2017, there were no outstanding criminal investigations about or outstanding charges against Bishop Casey.

“Restrictions had been placed on Bishop Casey’s priestly ministry by the Vatican Congregation for Bishops. These were still in place at the time of his death,” it said.

The statement added the diocese reports all allegation or concern regarding the safeguarding of children to the statutory authority.”

The former bishop died aged 89 in the Carrigoran House Retirement and Convalescent centre in Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare in March 2017.

Bishop Casey became a high-profile and popular media personality in the 1970s and 1980s.

He became a household name when he introduced Pope John Paul II at Ballybrit Racecourse in Galway in 1979.

His downfall, though, was one of the first major scandals to hit the Catholic Church in Ireland.

In 1992, it emerged that he had engaged in an affair with American divorcee Annie Murphy, and had fathered a son with her.

The news scandalised Catholic Ireland and he was forced to leave the country in a storm of controversy.

Ms Murphy was a second cousin once removed from Bishop Casey and the pair had met once when Murphy was young but began their affair in 1973, meeting at rendezvous throughout Dublin after she moved to the capital.

Bishop Casey was also involved in charity work throughout his career, helping to set up aid agency Trócaire.

The controversial bishop left Ireland in 1992 after his secret affair was discovered, spending 14 years in exile in South America.

He returned to Ireland in 2006 after allegations were made by his niece. He later developed Alzheimer’s and spent his last years in a Co Clare nursing home.

A statement issued by his family after his death was attributed to his son Peter, as well as the bishop’s siblings. The statement said the bishop was a “great source of love and support”.

Ms Murphy now lives in California, while Peter is believed to be living in Boston.

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