IN THE same week that that Alexander Bede Walsh – a former Roman Catholic priest from Staffordshire – was warned that he faces jail after being convicted of 21 counts of child abuse, retired New York Cardinal Edward Egan caused outrage by retracting an apology he made in 2002 to victims of sexual abuse carried out by priests in his then diocese of Bridgeport.
According to this report, Egan – in the interview with Connecticut Magazine – said:
I don’t think we did anything wrong.
He said he had not been obligated to report abuse claims and maintained he inherited the cases from his predecessor, and did not have any cases on his watch.
Egan, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 in 2007, was Bridgeport bishop from 1988 to 2000. The Bridgeport diocese has paid out nearly $38 million to settle abuse claims over the years involving allegations by more than 60 people who said they had been molested by Catholic priests.
In court documents unsealed in 2009, Egan expressed scepticism over sexual abuse allegations and said he found it “marvelous” that so few priests had been accused over the years.
The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests called Egan:
Obviously unrepentant, self-absorbed and painfully dismissive of the abject suffering of tens of thousands of deeply wounded men, women and children who have been sexually violated by priests, nuns, bishops, brothers, seminarians and other Catholic officials. We can’t help but believe that many other prelates feel exactly as he does but are shrewd enough to avoid saying so outside of clerical circles.
Meanwhile, Walsh, of Church Lane, Abbots Bromley, was warned by Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court to expect a long sentence for the attacks carried out while he worked at children’s homes and churches between the 1970s and 1990s.
During the 10-day trial, the jury heard Walsh already had a previous conviction for possessing indecent images of children.
Det Con Tim Bailey, from Staffordshire Police, said after the hearing:
He is supposed to be a man of the cloth but he has shown no compassion, no integrity and no humanity. He has forced grown men to come to court and relive childhood experiences of sexual abuse.
Mr Bailey said he believed there could be further victims who had yet to come forward.
Speaking after the trial, the Archbishop of Birmingham Bernard Longley apologised to the victims for the “horrendous crimes” and the “deep betrayal of trust” they had experienced.
Hat tip (Walsh report): Angie RS and BarrieJohn