Case study: Fr Eugene Greene
IN 1995, shortly after he was appointed Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Philip Boyce travelled to Annagry in west Donegal to address a rumour about Fr Eugene Greene, one of Ireland’s worst sexual abusers of children. He spoke to a concerned school teacher and others but there was nobody prepared or able to give him hard evidence or make specific allegations against Greene.
“There was nothing really you could do about it because you didn’t even have a name of a person abused or the name of anyone who could say anything about it,” he said yesterday. “I could not get anything.”
Two years later Greene was caught. When one of his victims attempted to blackmail him, he complained to the Garda – which set in train an investigation that finally led to Greene being sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment in 2000.
Yesterday’s audit goes back to 1975 and, according to Dr Boyce, over that period Greene was allegedly involved in 21 or 22 sexual abuse cases against children.
However, his period of offending went long before that. He was convicted of offences against 26 boys in eight parishes in Donegal between 1965 and 1982, originally facing more than 100 charges.
Before his return to Donegal in 1965, he served for 10 years with the Kiltegan Fathers in Nigeria. There are allegations that there was knowledge of his proclivities going back at least as far as 1976 but, as noted in the audit and also referred to by Dr Boyce, the main concern against Greene appeared to be over his alcoholism.
It was known that he had a drink problem but not that he was a child abuser, Dr Boyce added. Now in his 80s, Greene is believed to be living in west Cork.