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Vatican: Secret Payment by Irish Catholic Church

Irish Catholic church paid child sex abuse victim to keep quiet.

News of deal overseen by bishop of Derry adds to abuse scandals surrounding Catholic churches in Europe.

The Catholic church in Ireland was today embroiled in another child abuse scandal after revelations that a victim was paid to keep quiet in a deal overseen by the bishop of Derry.

Bishop Seamus Hegarty has been named among the defendants in an out-of-court settlement after an eight-year-old girl was abused by a priest for more than a decade.

The legal papers show that £12,000 was paid in compensation to the victim on condition that she kept the agreement confidential.

The settlement between the archdiocese of Derry and the young woman, who was eight when the abuse began, contained a silence clause preventing her from discussing the case.

Her ordeal began in 1979 and lasted for a decade before she revealed at her 18th birthday party that she had been repeatedly abused by the priest.

The abuse began after he was invited into the family home by her parents, who had no idea he was a child abuser. He told the girl that God would punish her if she spoke out about her ordeal.

After she did speak out, her family approached the diocese in Derry, and the victim claims the cleric was moved to another parish in the diocese despite meetings with Hegarty in 1994 during which he told her family he would deal with the problem.

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph today, her family described Hegarty as being “totally unsympathetic” during their initial meetings.

Her father said: “He just glared at me and scowled that this priest was seriously ill, as if I should feel pity for him.”

Despite reporting the allegations to Hegarty, the family say they found out the priest was in Derry and had access to other young girls.

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www.guardian.co.uk

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