Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sex Abuse pay-out in Leeds Diocese


Frpm CFNews: Seven victims of a paedophile priest have won a fight for compensation from the Catholic Church in Leeds.

The men took legal action against Leeds diocese over abuse at the hands of Father Neil Gallanagh at St John's School for the Deaf near Wetherby in the 1970s. Now the diocese has agreed out-of-court settlements with the men, now in their 40s. No details are being made public on the sum they have received - though the Yorkshire Evening Post understands it is 'significant'.

Previous reports said the claimants each stood to get as much as £50,000 if they succeeded in proving wilful neglect by the diocese. The case of an eighth man is still ongoing.

The action has been led by David Greenwood, a solicitor with Dewsbury-based law firm Jordans. He said: 'No amount of money will ever make up for what happened to these men. That does not mean, however, that they should not be compensated for their ordeals.'

Mr Greenwood believes the diocese's decision to settle was prompted by a recent Law Lords ruling in favour of a Leeds woman attacked in 1988 by Lotto rapist Iorworth Hoare. The woman has been fighting, with the support of the YEP, for a six-year time limit on compensation claims from victims to be lifted.

Gallanagh was given a six-month suspended prison sentence in 2005 after he admitted indecently assaulting two teenage boarders at St John's between 1975 and 1980. Charges involving five other boys under 16 were left on file at the conclusion of the 75-year-old's trial.

It later emerged that Gallanagh already had a conviction for child abuse when he was given his job at St John's. He admitted attacking a nine-year-old boy during a day trip to the Isle of Man in 1960, when he was a priest in Northern Ireland.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Leeds said today it would be 'inappropriate' to comment until the group action was fully concluded.

In an earlier statement, when the compensation bid was first announced, the diocese said written records from the time were 'scant' and two bishops of the era had died. Since that time, the diocese had developed 'good policies and practice in regard to all aspects of the protection of children and vulnerable adults', the spokesman said, and it had 'co-operated fully when approached by statutory authorities in regard to historical cases'. [Yorkshire Evening Post]

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen