BOSTON – Victims of clergy sex abuse and a group that tracks pedophile priests called on local Roman Catholic leaders and the Irish government Monday to publicly detail known connections between the clergy abuse scandals in the U.S. and Ireland.
Two Irish bishops resigned on Christmas Day, joining two others who had quit since a government report in November revealed how Dublin church leaders had shielded pedophile priests from the law.
Terence McKiernan, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, said the report detailed evidence that some accused priests in Ireland had been transferred to parishes in the United States.
“Unfortunately the places they have been moving include our backyard,” said McKiernan, who spoke at a news conference held in front of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the residence of Cardinal Sean O’Malley of the Boston archdiocese.
“So the Irish crisis has become our crisis, too,” McKiernan said.
The organization said it was creating the first-ever database of Irish priests accused of sexual misconduct who had spent time in U.S. dioceses. It sent letters Monday to O’Malley and Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Providence, R.I., diocese, asking that they scour their own personnel files.
“It’s imperative that you release a complete list of all credibly accused Irish priests who were transferred to the Boston archdiocese,” the letter to O’Malley stated.
“And you would serve both children and the church by exhorting your fellow bishops in New England to follow your example,” stated the letter, which did not name any names. McKiernan said he was unaware of any accused Irish priests who are active today in U.S. dioceses.
The letter also was signed by the head of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Without responding directly to the letter, the archdiocese said in a statement that it has established “comprehensive policies and procedures” to protect children from sexual abuse, including a provision that any priest moving to the archdiocese from another jurisdiction be certified by his former bishop as having no past allegations of abuse.