US Smyth victim calls on Brady to resign

Sat, May 5, 2012, 01:00

VICTIM'S VIEW:AN AMERICAN victim of the child abuser Brendan Smyth has called for Cardinal Seán Brady to step down.

“I want him to resign,” said Helen McGonagle, a US lawyer who was abused by Smyth when he was a priest in Rhode Island.

“I plead for both the Republic and Northern Ireland to conduct a public criminal investigation into this whole matter and that it be made public . . . Brady needs to be investigated and if the evidence is there he needs to be prosecuted and charged.”

Ms McGonagle said that Cardinal Brady’s stance was “I did my job, this was my function”.

“The fundamental problem with that is that he cannot see beyond the glasses of canon law . . . He certainly performed the function of the distorted canon law that exists and the Vatican directive on crimes of solicitation which says, ‘swear victims to secrecy . . . and nobody is to talk about child abuse or you risk excommunication’. Yes, that’s the function he fulfilled.

“He didn’t fulfil the function of a human being, a man in the secular world or follow secular law and he can’t see that. It’s as if the man is completely brainwashed and he can’t think outside the role as a cleric,” she said.

Ms McGonagle, who was abused by Smyth from the age of six, said she was aware of at least a dozen victims of Smyth in Rhode Island, including her sister.

She said that her sister “eventually succumbed to severe depression, had a massive overdose of prescription anti-depressants at age 48”. “Smyth and the Catholic Church destroyed my family,” she said.