Victim: Probe reveals order's 'criminality'
on 10/09/2012 00:00:00
Last week's report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church described the order's handling of child abuse complaints as indefensible and its culture of secrecy around complaints as "deeply flawed". The gardaí and the HSE were not told of child abuse complaints and when priests confessed to widespread child abuse, this too was kept secret.
The order's superior general in Rome even decided that complaints were not to be passed on to the Church's global clerical child abuse watchdog, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith - a decision that flew in the face of canon law.
"The handling of complaints was set up in such a way that it propagated abuse," said Mr Mc Cullagh.
"Abuse was allowed to happen. Complaints weren't followed up, priests were moved on. They even had confessions from priests yet did nothing. And all of this was done in the name of God? No God would stand for this."
Mr Mc Cullagh, who now works as pharmacist in London, said: "If a company had acted like this, they would be closed down. To have had criminal evidence such as those confessions and have done nothing, that was criminal."
Yesterday, he urged other victims to come forward, saying: "This has to be resolved for once and for all.
"I believe the order, if they are serious, should be sending letters to all past pupils asking any victims to come forward. They haven't attempted to reach out to anyone. Instead, it's all about protecting the institution and damage limitation. Nowhere on their list of priorities is the welfare of the children that they were entrusted with."
Originally from Ballineen in West Cork, Mr Mc Cullagh experienced a living hell during his time at Carrignavar College between 1978 and 1984.
He attempted to bring a criminal case against his abuser in the 1990s but the DPP advised no prosecution. For the next six years, the order fought him as he attempted to bring a civil case to the High Court. At one point, it threatened to countersue him for damaging his abuser's good name.
However, in 2009, the order eventually agreed to make a settlement. At the last minute, when it was clear that Mr Mc Cullagh would waive his identity to highlight the culture of abuse at the secondary school, he received a written apology from the order.
To Mr Mc Cullagh's disgust, they spelled his surname incorrectly and did not put it on headed paper.