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Gardaí made ‘scurrilous’ comments about clerical abuse victim and tapped his phone

James Moran-n
James Moran

A SURVIVOR of clerical sex abuse has slammed crass gardaí who launched a ‘scurrilous’ campaign against him in the 1980s.

Cheshire-based Irishman James Moran revealed how police in Ireland pursued him with allegations of blackmail after he returned to Dublin in 1987 to confront the priest who abused him.

Details of the garda campaign against him were brought to light as the final chapter of the Murphy Report was released earlier this month.

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Mr Moran also alleges a teacher abused him during the same period.

Originally from Co. Kildare, he is now demanding to know why officers went to extraordinary lengths to treat him as a “criminal” when he tried to expose the priest who abused him as a schoolboy.

“The gardaí are there to protect and serve, but they did neither of those things for me,” he said. “In fact they did exactly the opposite. They failed me. They failed my family. And who is to say that they have not failed scores of other people?”

Mr Moran spoke to The Irish Post last week following the publication of the Murphy Report passages. While it should have yielded him some peace of mind, instead he says he has suffered “a large jump backwards” in his ongoing recovery.

Chapter 20 of the Murphy Report, which was heavily redacted because of a High Court order to prevent compromising the trial of Mr Moran’s abuser Patrick McCabe, was released in full last week by Ireland’s Justice Minister — four months after the disgraced priest was convicted.

It explains in detail how police pursued Mr Moran, who has been seeking closure for almost 40 years.

It included phone tapping and garda comments about Mr Moran and his relatives, which were deemed “scurrilous” by the Murphy Report’s authors.

Gardaí are also accused of submitting a detailed file to the Director of Public Prosecutions recommending that Mr Moran be prosecuted after he threatened to sell his story to the papers.

The campaign against him even went as high up as the garda commissioner’s office.

“All I wanted was to be heard and I was not being heard so I did whatever I could to be heard,” he said. “But they made me out to be some sort of criminal when in fact I am a victim of sexual abuse.”

The 50-year-old, who has lived in Britain for 30 years, had hoped the final chapter of the Murphy Report would shed light on why his complaint to the Archbishop’s office in 1977, when McCabe abused him at his Dublin school, was ignored.

What he did not expect to discover was that gardaí had launched an “exhaustive and comprehensive investigation” against him. “This has opened up more wounds than it has helped to heal,” he added.

He now says he has a long list of questions he wants answered, including who was responsible for the phone tapping and who signed off on the measure.

His pain at the findings, he adds, has not been helped by the gardaí’s response to the revelations.

Commissioner Martin Callinan issued a statement saying that the DPP has directed no prosecution against current or former gardaí in the light of Chapter 20’s full publication.

Speaking to The Irish Post, Commissioner Callinan said: “It is a matter of regret to me that people did not receive the appropriate attention and action from the Garda Síochána to which they were entitled. The policies and structures now in place are very much victim-focused and designed to ensure that no one has a similar experience today.”

But Mr Moran added: “If there had been a real culture change [at the gardaí], I would have expected that his first comment would be saying they hold their hands up and sincerely apologising for getting it wrong and asking what they can do to help, rather than taking such a defensive litigious stance. I would have expected a little more humanity and a little more humility.”

Patrick McCabe, 77, pleaded guilty earlier this year to abusing Mr Moran and another boy in the late 1970s. The disgraced priest, who had spent 21 months in custody, walked free after the judge backdated his 18-month sentence.

The teacher, who Mr Moran also accused of abusing him, was convicted of multiple assaults on boys, but was never charged with regard to Mr Moran’s allegation.


Niall O Sullivan

Niall O’Sullivan is a reporter at The Irish Post. You can follow him on @Niall_IrishPost on Twitter

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