Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Weekend letter writing, requesting support for release of Chapter 20

This weekend, I have written to as many influential people I can think of that may be able to bring some influence to bear on the relevant authorities.

All the victims mentioned in Chapter 20 have the right to know what happened with their relevant cases. My case has been investigated by the Murphy commission and by association I have been investigated too. I feel I have the right to know what happened to my 1977 statement made to Archbishops House and my 1987 statement made to the Gardai (Irish Police).

I have written to the following people, all the letters are similar in message but applicable to the recipients particular relevance. Sample letter below.


  • Irish Minister for Justice, Mr Alan Shatter.
  • President of Ireland, His Excellency Michael D.Higgins.
  • An Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny TD (Prime Minister of Ireland).
  • Archbishop Of Dublin, The most reverend Diarmuid Martin.
  • Cardinal Sean Brady, Catholic Primate of all Ireland.
  • Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'connor, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster.
  • Achbishop Charles Brown, Papal Nuncio to Ireland
  • His Excellency Archbishop Gerhard Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Rome
  • Senator David Norris,Independent Irish Senator and civil rights activist.


Scan of letter to Cardinal Sean Brady - March 2013 - Page 1

Scan of letter to Cardinal Sean Brady - March 2013 - Page 2

Email to Irish Minister for Justice

This is a copy of the email sent to Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

"27/03/2013 09:05

Dear Mr Shatter

My Name is James Moran. I was a witness for the state at a recent clerical sexual abuse trial at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

It involved an ex Priest named Patrick McCabe. I am just one of his victims. He is one of two priests that sexually abused me around 1977.

I have waited 37 years for my case to get to court and on the 22nd March he walked from court a free man.

The sentencing of McCabe paves the way for the release for the final chapter of the Murphy report.

My case was the final one to go before the courts, in which McCabe is mentioned so I see no legal impediment to its long awaited release.

Can you please inform me if a date has been fixed for the release of Chapter 20.


Respectfully Yours

James Moran"

Murphy report - Chapter 20 - Irish media pressing for release.

Sunday Independent 31st March

Censored section in Murphy sex abuse report set to be published
SUNDAY INDEPENDENT - RUAIDHRI GIBLIN – 31 MARCH 2013
A censored chapter in Judge Yvonne Murphy's report into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations by the Catholic Church and State is finally set for full publication.
Chapter 20 has remained censored on foot of a High Court direction that its full publication could damage the trial of a defrocked priest charged with the sexual assault of children in the 1970s and 80s.
Former priest Patrick McCabe was sentenced last week by the Circuit Criminal Court after having pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two 13-year-old boys.
Although sentenced by Judge Margaret Heneghan to two concurrent 18-month jail terms, he walked free from the court because he had already been in custody for longer than the sentences handed down.
As a result of his trial, there is now no further need for the blanked-out chapter to remain secret.
McCabe was extradited from California in June 2011 and had been in custody for 21 months awaiting sentence. His identity could not be revealed last year when he pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting five other boys.
The handling of complaints made against McCabe was the subject of chapter 20 in the Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin diocese, chaired by Judge Yvonne Murphy and known as the Murphy Report.
The inquiry was set up by Government to investigate how church and State handled clerical child sex abuse allegations in the Dublin diocese between 1975 and 2004.
The report examined the handling of complaints made against a representative sample of 46 priests, though complaints had been levelled against more than 100. The report was published in 2009.
Chapter 19, also censored for similar legal reasons, was not published until the sentencing in 2010 of Tony Walsh, "probably the most notorious" abuser, according to the report.
Among the 50 pages of chapter 20, many of which were published blank, it was stated that the McCabe case "encapsulates everything that was wrong" with the Dublin diocese's handling of child sexual abuse cases.
According to the report, Archbishop Ryan not only knew about the complaints against McCabe but had "protected him to an extraordinary extent. . . It seems that the welfare of children simply did not play any part in his decisions", it stated.
Judge Murphy went on to state that "connivance by the gardai in effectively stifling one complaint and failing to investigate another, and in allowing [McCabe] to leave the country was shocking".
Following McCabe's sentencing, one of his victims, James Moran, waived his right to anonymity.
He said on Wednesday that he was alarmed to discover it could be months before the remainder of the Murphy Report was published.
Mr Moran said the legal reasons for withholding parts of chapter 20 no longer existed, and he had written to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter asking him for the date of release.
No further victims of McCabe are due to come before the courts, so there are no implications for the Murphy Report, Mr Moran said.
"Surely the time to release it is now, so the Irish people and the wider world will discover the truth, even if unpalatable," he said.
In a victim impact statement submitted to the court, Mr Moran said his voice was being heard after a long and painful journey.
"I have waited nearly 37 years for acknowledgment and justice," he said, adding that he often thought of all the victims who had been too afraid or too ashamed to come forward and expose the contamination within the church.
McCabe had changed the path of his life for ever, and while he may never be able to forgive completely, he wanted to begin some kind of healing process, he said.

Friday, 29 March 2013

What is the Murphy Report? Why is it so important to me?

Murphy Report

The Murphy Report is the brief name of the report of an investigation conducted by the government of Ireland into the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin. It was released in 2009. 

The Commission of Investigation was headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy, a Circuit Court judge, hence the common name given to the report. The aim of the report was to examine the manner in which allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests over the period 1975 to 2004 were dealt with by Church and State authorities. The report investigated just 46 sample allegations. The preparation of the report was due to take 18 months, but due to the complexity of the investigation, it took 3 years. 

This report was publicly released on 26 November 2009. It concluded that "the Dublin Archdiocese's preoccupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid 1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its assets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. The Archdiocese did not implement its own canon law rules and did its best to avoid any application of the law of the State". The 720-page report said that it has "no doubt that clerical child sexual abuse was covered up" from January 1975 to May 2004. As charted by the Murphy commission, the complaints of parents and their children were ignored and other families placed in immediate danger as prelates from John Charles McQuaid onwards suppressed scandals and took refuge in canon law to protect offenders at the expense of children. Complainants alleged that most uninvolved priests turned a blind eye to their allegations. Several chapters were redacted. Relating to my case, chapter 20 was removed, for release at a later date when the criminal case against Patrick McCabe was over.

The criminal proceedings to which the contents of Chapter 20 refer, are now over. I can see no reason why this chapter should not now be released. I would like to know the reasons why justice has taken 37 years. 
Chapter 20 must be released.

To find out more about the Murphy Report, CLICK HERE
To see Chapter 20 of the Murphy Report in it's redacted form, CLICK HERE





Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Another delay? Surely not?


I was alarmed to discover the possible date for whether or not to publish the remainder of the Murphy report (CLICK HERE to read more about the Murphy Report) is set for 11th June 2013. If this is true, then surely the debate should be 'when' to publish and not 'whether' to publish.

Chapter 19 was released 9 days after Tony Walsh was sentenced in 2010. This release (chapter 20) should be no different as there are no further victims of McCabe to come before the courts that have any implication with the Murphy Report. Therefore there are no legal impediments to the complete release of chapter 20.


I would imagine there is nothing else to hide, so I have written to the Minister for Justice this morning asking him for the date of release.

The Murphy report was released in 2009 with parts withheld for legal reasons. Those legal reasons no longer exist. Surely the time to release it is now, so the Irish people and the wider world will discover the truth, even if unpalatable.'

My email has been acknowledged by the Minister's private secretary and I await the government response.

My email to the Irish Minister for Justice - 27th March 2013


Monday, 25 March 2013

Sad statistics of average abuse reporting time in Ireland


Murphy report release imminent.

UPDATE - RELEASE NOW DELAYED CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

McCabe was the final abuser mentioned in the Murphy report, to come before the courts. It therefore leads the way for the long awaited full publication. Extracts already published highlight major failings in the way church and state investigated clerical sexual abuse. Judge Yvonne Murphy pulls no punches when she gave her assessment of this redacted chapter:

 "This case encapsulates everything that was wrong with the archdiocesan handling of child sexual abuse cases." Ryan protected McCabe. "The connivance by the Gardaí in effectively stifling one complaint and failing to investigate another, and in allowing Fr [McCabe] to leave the country is shocking."

If this comment has been released, we await with bated breath to see what's been redacted.

UPDATE - RELEASE NOW DELAYED CLICK HERE TO READ MORE


Saturday, 23 March 2013

RTE News Report

RTE News Report - Click here

TV3 Ireland News Report


Lenient Sentence?

There have been some reports in the press that I was 'outraged' by the leniency of the sentence. This is untrue. I have had 24 hours to analyse it and my views have shifted slightly. I still believe he started serving his own personal sentence 5 years ago when he was tracked down.

However I feel the Irish Justice system left the Judge with very little option. I am not a lawyer but what concerns me are the signals that are sent out to those future victims who may come forward, and endure a difficult legal and courtroom process, may be dissuaded from doing so unless they believe their journey will be one where the ultimate punishment fits the crime.

It also sends out the wrong signals to perpetrators of abuse against children, that the system is not a deterrent.

The fact that current sentencing guidelines for historical abuse, pre early 80's, is such that the guilty party can only be given a 2 year sentence because that was the maximum at the time of the offence, seems slightly antiquated. The current maximum sentence for this crimes is ten years. There seems to be an imbalance which needs to be addressed.

As far as McCabe's sentence is concerned the Judge listed the mitigating circumstances. The fact that he did plead guilty. The fact he issued an apology, she also took into account his age and medical condition. Whether the sentence should run concurrently is another issue and I am not in a position to comment.

I perhaps will never know how long he will serve for what he did to me, nor will any of the victims, but he has served time. This is important because there are so many victims who never get to court and never given a reason why, by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Considering that victims of this particular crime carry with them a sense of guilt and shame most of their lives and somehow feel responsible for what happened, then I would urge the DPP to be more open in these cases, as far as giving a valid reason not to prosecute. At least then the victim is aware that it's not because they are not believed.

Being believed is such a huge issue for victims of sexual crimes - current or historical.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Daily Star - Report on the sentencing of McCabe

Daily Star - 22 Mar 2013

Another chapter closed.


At Dublin airport preparing to fly back to UK. Its been a roller coaster of a day. The sentence was light but he started to serve his own personal sentence 5 years ago when the Irish authorities contacted him.
The messages of support have been astounding but without it the mountain was unclimbable.
Thanks everyone. X

VIDEO - TV3 News Report after McCabe's sentencing - 22 March 2013


TV3 News Ireland from 22nd March 2013. Speaking after the sentencing of Patrick McCabe at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

If you have any difficulty playing the report, it is also available on Youtube: CLICK HERE TO PLAY VIA YOUTUBE

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

2003 - 2013

The past ten years since the Garda investigation started in earnest, has been filled with incredible highs and lows, given that McCabe was living in the U.S.A. Just when I thought there was some hope, it would be dashed by some legality or other. At this time I was also advised to take a civil case against the Dublin Diocese and  Newbridge College combined. I received a nominal award but the disclaimer I had to sign was mostly stating the church accepted no liability. To me this was not Justice. They had merely ticked a box on a very long list.

There were many times when I thought no criminal prosecution would take place at all. The Irish Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) had reservations. It was not going to be easy to prosecute the case, nor was it going to be easy to extradite him from America back to Ireland.

The Gardai submitted my file several times to the DPP and he directed that no prosecution should take place.I then started writing to the DPP in Dublin and started to explain what happened at the hands of both priests, the affect it was having on my life and the affect it had on my parents lives. (I just stopped short of offering an internal organ in return for an attempt at prosecution).

McCabe was asked if he would allow an interview by the Irish Garda and he declined. Some time after the Garda were given permission to travel to America to interview him. This time he agreed and told the Gardai enough to build a case for extradition.

I continued to write to the DPP each time I found new evidence, even if it was the name of a Bishop or Monsignor that my Mother and I had visited. When I remembered the smallest detail I would forward it to the Gardai and the DPP. I've lost count of how often I wrote but it didn't matter because I was like a dog with a bone.

I owed it to my Mother's memory to do whatever I could to see justice done. She had made it her personal quest and I had no option but to continue that quest.

_________________________________________________________________

Moves begin in US to extradite ex-priest over abuse claims


                                                                                                      

EXTRADITION proceedings have begun in the United States against an elderly former Irish priest accused of child sex abuse offences.
Patrick McCabe (74), who now lives in California, is the subject of 10 warrants that have been issued in the Irish courts for his extradition.
Nine relate to allegations of indecent assault and one to attempted indecent assault. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail if found guilty in an Irish court of the offences.
Mr McCabe was remanded in custody last week and will remain there pending the full extradition hearing which is likely to take place this autumn. October 25th has been requested by his defence for the extradition hearing.
_________________________________________________________________
The trial date was set for Feb 2012 but was postponed. I was then issued with a subpoena to appear before the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in July 2012. When I got to court, he had issued a reduced plea, which I was willing to accept but it was too removed from the facts of the case. Trial postponed until Feb 2013.
We depart tomorrow for our 4th Court appearance in 6 weeks. I'm not giving any consideration to what sentence will be given. My expectations are somewhere between barrel-bottom and low.
The most important point I would like to make is that there are no victories attached to any of this. No champagne corks will be popped in celebration. What it is on Friday is what it should have been 37 years ago and that is plain and simple justice.
After all, Justice is a civil right.

Wisdom from others.

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
George Bernard Shaw 

Priest Abuser McCabe Compares Himself to Jesus Christ

Priest Abuser McCabe Compares Himself to Jesus Christ

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

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Friday, 1 March 2013

Highland Radio coverage of McCabe's guilty plea.


Press coverage - Leinster Leader



My case, as reported by the Leinster Leader, an Irish regional newspaper

How did I feel reading my Victim Impact Statement?

People have asked me how I felt reading my Victim Impact Statement in court?

Prior to reading the statement, I was asked to omit certain parts because of my other abuser but I felt happy that nearly all I had written was left intact for me to explain the affect my experiences had on myself, my partner, my family and anyone who knew me. It was my one opportunity to explain how I felt both then and now.

Was I nervous? Yes.
Was my throat dry? Yes.
Did I have the support and love of my partner and family? Yes.
Was I ready? Yes.

I was called to the stand. I had to pass within 1 metre of  McCabe. Would I look at him? Would I choose the ramp and walk behind him? Would I stop briefly and stare into his eyes so deeply, that only he would really know what I was thinking?

With dignity mustered, I walked slowly in front of him, without looking at him, and took my place in the witness box and took the oath.

McCabe was sitting about 2 meters over my left shoulder so I took my seat and a deep breath. I could feel my legs shaking and my voice was quivering but I tried to breathe as slowly as I could and I started to give the account of my life as I know it.

It probably took 10-12 minutes and was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. It was almost like a potted version of someone else's life....but incredibly, I knew it was mine.

When I finished I stood up and walked past him again, without giving him the satisfaction of a glance.

I remember his face!

My Victim Impact Statement


I grew up in a small village in County Kildare. We were a close knit, happy and staunchly Catholic family. My father was a businessman and my mother a housewife. One of my earliest memories of family life is kneeling every evening to say the Rosary, even visitors would join in. We would attend Mass each Sunday in our local church where I was an altar boy. My mother would organise the annual pilgrimage to Knock for the local area. My parents would often entertain priests and counted some as their closest of friends. My mother in particular had a very strong faith and would pray for hours after we went to bed. As a child I was taught to have respect and reverence for priests and religious. I was a happy boy and according to members of my family, always had a smile on my face. I had quite a sheltered and cosseted childhood.

In 1975 I was sent to Newbridge College, an all-boys boarding school, as my parents wanted to give me the best education available at the time. My older brother also attended. When I started in Newbridge my baby sister had just been born and I missed home desperately. My sister is here today and her strength and courage have inspired me on many occasions. My grades for my first year were very good, although there were aspects of boarding school life I found ‘unusual’. The priests were surrogate parents and some of them took their role very seriously indeed, particularly when it came to ‘special’ boys. Just after Christmas 1976 I returned to Newbridge College. On the afternoon of Saturday 15th January, Patrick McCabe changed the path of my life forever. 

After the sexual assault I reported it to my Dean who in turn reported it to a priest, who had abused me during my first year. After giving this priest an account of what had happened to me, he again abused me in his office that same night.                                                    

For me it was a turning point, initially I was shocked, confused and nervous. I didn’t know who to trust. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I isolated myself from the other boys and when I came home at weekends, I was quiet and shy. My parents had been told by my Headmaster Vincent Mercer that if they “didn’t talk about what happened, it would go away”. My parents could see the change taking place within me and they were devastated. They had tried to give me a good foundation for my future and instead they felt responsible for sending me into a lion’s den.

Apart from how I was feeling, I watched my mother with tears in her eyes almost every time she looked at me. My father on the other hand could barely look at me at all. I don’t doubt they both loved me. As young parents they were facing the total betrayal of people that they deeply respected and trusted. How heart-breaking must it be to watch your young, vulnerable child become the polar opposite of what he was.  They felt responsible, yet powerless to help. They were told “not to talk about it” but on this occasion it was not going to go away.  My parents silence was playing into the hands of an organisation that was supposed to be the all-caring, all-Christian, and all-embracing but it turned out, the Catholic Church, the very institution that formed my parents’ lives and indeed formed all our lives, was the institution that brought our family life crashing down and we would never as a family, be the same again.

I was taken out of Newbridge College and then attended a co-educational day school in Castledermot. I liked the company of girls but was always reluctant when it came to forming relationships. I felt different. I was happy on the surface but felt haunted by my experiences in Newbridge. I was popular with my school mates but always felt dishonest because I carried a secret…a secret that no one should speak of.  I could not apply myself at school and would often only take home a pencil case because I had lost any real desire for learning. As a result my grades deteriorated and my exam results were littered with E and F grades. These results were in stark contrast to my grades in earlier years.

During this time, my Mother had found her voice and embarked on her own personal crusade for justice on my behalf. She visited many priests and Archbishops and started telling anyone of importance about my experiences and the affect it was having on the family. She was willing to speak out in the pursuit of acknowledgement and perhaps healing. Unfortunately, Irish society at that time had no appetite for the truth and she was dismissed by many for her inane ramblings. Not one so called ‘Religious’ would give credence to her story but as the world now knows, they did believe her, but they chose to handle it ‘in-house’.

I continued to hide my secret, but as I got older the impact on me became greater. My secret was shameful, thinking it was my fault and what did I do to make them choose me? I brought shame on my family and I was struggling with my own sexuality. For these reasons and more, I contemplated suicide at the age of 17. I failed my Leaving Cert, failed all attempts at relationships but most importantly, felt I had failed my family.

I was 21 when I left Ireland. I was on the run, but still unaware of what I was running from. I arrived in London and drifted from one job to another and one address to the next. I led a very promiscuous lifestyle with no regard for my own health or that of others. At last I had escaped. I felt liberated, but I felt very sad and lonely. After a while I realised that I hadn’t run away from my problems, I had just relocated them. Even then, nearly ten years after my abuse, it would be triggered each and every day by the smallest of things. I was teaching myself to ‘file away’ the unwanted images and memories and for the most part I was able to do so, at least enough to allow me to function on a daily basis.

Both my parents died within 3 years of each other, they were in their mid 50’s and died suddenly. To this day I shoulder the guilt of their premature passing, as they saw themselves responsible for my aimless meandering through life, added to their own lives becoming so stressful after my experiences at Newbridge College.

In 1987 I was arrested by the Gardaí and taken to Newbridge Garda Station for demanding from Newbridge college that they pay for my psychiatric treatment. I made a statement about what happened to me. 10 years ago I was contacted by the Gardaí who uncovered this 1987 statement. Suddenly I was a child again and found it more difficult than ever before to face my demons.  This started a legal process which I thought would be over in a short time but unfortunately it has taken until today.

I made my first written statement 37 years ago and made my first statement to the Gardaí 27 years ago. I am grateful to the few I met along the way who paid genuine attention to my family and had my best interests at heart.

I have been in counselling now for nearly 10 years and it has enabled me to start ‘filing away’ again. It has removed the need for anti-depressant medication and I have reduced my alcohol intake. In 2005 I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by Dr Ann Leader at the Bon Secours Clinic in Glasnevin.

I feel my life has been blighted by the events of the mid-seventies. I have waited nearly 37 years for acknowledgement and justice. In that time I have had 25 jobs and as many addresses, I have experienced every emotion associated with self-loathing. I bite my nails until they bleed. I do not attend church because of their sheer hypocrisy and willingness to silence those within it for breaking ranks and speaking the truth. The Catholic Church as an institution cares about itself and its revenue stream.

I have alienated family, friends and relationships. I apologise to whoever I may have affected through the years.  I am angry, disillusioned and bitter towards the Church and authorities. However I have also been blessed with supportive family and friends, some of whom are here today and I will be eternally grateful for their love and support. I am also proud and very lucky to have a supportive partner for the past 16 years, who accepts my shortcomings and is always there, unconditionally, to pick up the pieces. 

I know I cannot carry these emotions around with me forever, nor do I want to.I have tried all available methods to reduce the anger, bitterness and resentment.The only thing I have not tried is forgiveness.

I realise forgiveness is a difficult process, that is why today is so important for me and for the others like me, who don’t have the strength or courage to speak out. I may never be able to forgive completely but I at least want to begin some kind of healing process.  I feel that anger and resentment will cut off the air supply to our future contentment and therefore we can never move forward….. With our own lives, or as a society.  

Today my voice is being heard after a long and painful journey and I am going to use today as a springboard for change. I am now 50 years old and I need to resolve so many issues. If I can forgive those involved through the years then I am optimistic for the future.I am not here to apportion blame or to maintain what happened to me was worse than to many others, but this is my life and because of what happened, the opportunities of youth were taken away from me and my formation as an adult was adversely affected. I regularly think about what I could have been.

I am sure we all need to be forgiven for something. Forgiving does not mean forgetting but if it makes me function normally in society and makes up for lost years, then I believe it will be a necessary and important exercise.

In conclusion I want to mention all the boys and girls that I think of so often. The boys and girls that have been too afraid or too ashamed to come forward and expose the contamination within the Catholic Church and for those who, because of legal process must compromise the truth so justice can be done. We are all survivors, except some have a louder voice. There have been too many days like today, too many victim impact statements read, too much heartbreak for victims and their families. For every court statement read and every court sentence given, I really believe at least one child is given the opportunity to live a normal life.
                                                           
I cry each time I hear a song called “Bui Doi” from the musical Miss Saigon. It’s about children born to American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Bui Doi means “the dust of life” and is intended to bring an image to mind, of a child moving around aimlessly…. Like dust. This is how I have seen myself and other victims for so many years and why the words mean so much to me.    
                                                                                                   
      "These kids hit walls on every side, They don’t belong in any place
       Their secret they cannot hide, It’s printed in their face
       They’re called Bui Doi, The dust of life
       They are the living reminders of all the good we failed to do
       We can’t forget
       Must not forget
       That they are all our children too."



This statement is dedicated to my loving parents
Larry and Teresa Moran. R.I.P

A walk to clear the head before court in Phoenix Park, Dublin