Clerical abuser asks for 'second chance'

 

ONE OF the most serious child sex abusers among priests in Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese, Bill Carney (61), has written to an English newspaper pleading that he is “a good honest Christian living as best I can one day at a time . . . all I ask for is a chance”.

In a letter to his local Gloucestershire Echo paper, he wrote that “for over 30 years now I have been a recovering alcoholic, and the only mark against my name is three points on my driving licence for doing 38mph in a 40mph area”. He said that “in these 30 years there has not been the slightest suggestion of anything that would indicate that I am a danger to any child”.

He said British prime minister David Cameron had said he gave former News of the Worldeditor Andy Coulson a second chance, and that “everyone does deserve a second chance”.

He said an article in the Gloucestershire Echo on May 22nd depicted him “as a threat or a danger to children. Nothing could be further from the truth.” He had delayed responding to the May article “as I have needed some time to cool down”, he wrote.

The Echoarticle reported that he had moved to a property in Northleach, near Cheltenham in the Cotswolds, home of his former wife Joan Clayton (70). The paper had been contacted by a man who said Carney was living near a playground at Northleach and wondered whether his two young children would be able to use it again.

On hearing of the Murphy report findings in 2009 on her husband, Ms Clayton began divorce proceedings. Last May her son Paul, from a previous relationship, told The Irish Timesthat as part of the divorce Carney had been awarded £100,000 (€114,600).

He said at the time his mother’s marriage to Carney, after he was dismissed from the priesthood, had lasted about 10 years. Carney had turned up on her doorstep two weeks before the interview claiming he was getting treatment for heart problems and asked whether he could stay. Describing his mother as “a nice, quiet, gullible old lady”, he said she relented as she felt sorry for Carney.

Ordained in 1974, Carney served as a priest in Dublin until 1989 and was dismissed from the clerical state in 1992 following a canon law trial in Dublin. Described in the Murphy report as “a serial sexual abuser of children, male and female”, it found there were “complaints or suspicions of child sex abuse against him in respect of 32 individuals. There is evidence that he abused many more children,” it said.