Statement from the Catholic Communications

 

In late 2001, the social services having previously been involved, grave allegations were made to the police by two young women against the same priest, Fr X of the Archdiocese of Armagh. The allegations concerned a time when they were seventeen to eighteen years of age.

Fr X was interviewed by the police regarding these allegations and denied them.

The day following the police interview, Cardinal Brady suspended Fr X from ministry as a priest, forbidding him to say Mass publicly, to hear confessions and to have unsupervised access to minors.

Following the police investigation, the Director of Public Prosecutions considered the evidence and directed that Fr X be tried on only one of the allegations.

The priest was tried in a public trial, before a Judge and Jury, at Omagh Crown Court and was acquitted.

Following Fr X’s acquittal, Cardinal Brady met him again and reinforced that Fr X remained suspended on the same terms, in spite of having been acquitted by the Court.

After that acquittal the complainant on behalf of whom no prosecution had been brought sought compensation for her injuries from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and, separately, from Fr X and from Cardinal Brady.

The complainant and Fr X subsequently settled the case between themselves.

The complainant withdrew her proceedings against Cardinal Brady and her proceedings before the Compensation Board.

Cardinal Brady was not involved in the discussions between the complainant and Fr X other than to make it clear that he would not be a party to any confidentiality agreement between Fr X and the complainant, that he intended to commence a canonical process against Fr X and to invite the complainant to assist as a witness by giving evidence in that canonical process.

The complainant agreed to give evidence in the canonical process against Fr X and has, in fact, done so.

Father X remains suspended from ministry as a priest.

Cardinal Brady has forbidden Father X from wearing clerical attire.

Cardinal Brady met the father of the complainant in the early stages, following her original complaint to the police, and also arranged for his representative, Fr Bradley, to meet the complainant and her parents. Cardinal Brady also met her father recently.

The complainant has been offered pastoral support and help, including independent counselling.