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article imageSupport group: Vatican abuse publication a ‘last-minute ploy’

By Andrew John     Aug 18, 2011 in Crime
Wednesday’s publication by the Vatican of files concerning a case of a priest accused of sexually abusing children has been denounced by a victim support group as a “last-minute ploy.”
The priest – the late Father Andrew Ronan – is said to have molested children in Ireland and the USA, according to the Irish Times.
The Vatican agreed to publish internal files about the allegations after being ordered by a judge in Oregon to turn over papers relating to the case, but the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has called the move “desperate” and that it is a Vatican ploy to “seem ever-so-slightly less recalcitrant than it has been for decades with clergy sex crimes and cover-ups.”
The words are those of Barbara Dorris, SNAP’s outreach director.
“If anyone is tempted to see any kind of ‘silver lining’ in this, it’s important to keep in mind that the highest echelons of the Catholic hierarchy have been fighting this disclosure for nine years,” the paper quotes her as saying.
The Irish Times report continues: “The files, published on the Vatican Radio website, were part of documentation the Pope plans to turn over to the US lawyers of a man who says he was abused by the late Fr Andrew Ronan, a teacher at the Servites’ Our Lady of Benburb Priory in Co. Tyrone.”
That man is known only as John V. Doe and he wants to hold the Vatican liable for the abuse.
The Vatican hopes the publication of the papers will help to “calm down those people who were too quick to make sensational and unfair comments without taking the time to get an adequate understanding of the facts.”
Jeff Anderson, lawyer for Doe, said today his office had not yet received the papers from the Vatican. And the documents to be released, he said, were only “a partial release of what the court has ordered” and the absence of material “would clearly raise more questions and concerns.”
The Independent’s Ireland edition says: “The documents posted include a 1966 case file in which Fr Ronan requested to be laicised – removed from his position as a priest – after his superiors became aware of the accusations against him.”
Vatican attorney Jeffrey Lena says in introducing the documents (PDF): “Like other documents previously produced by the Servite Order and the Portland Archdiocese, these newly released documents show that the plaintiff’s lawyers’ long-standing accusations against the Holy See are false. The Holy See was not involved in Ronan’s transfers, including the transfer to Portland, and had no prior knowledge that Ronan posed a danger to minors.
“Instead, the documents confirm that the Servite Order first informed the Holy See of Ronan’s misconduct when Ronan petitioned for laicization in February 1966 – after the plaintiff’s abuse – and that the Holy See granted the petition for laicization just weeks later.”
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