Police investigating former Catholic priest

RNZ reports New Zealand Police are investigating a former priest who allegedly molested boys at St Patrick’s College Silverstream in the 1970s.

Police recently interviewed two men who allege they saw the offence take place in the boarding school’s dormitory during a night in 1974.

One of the witnesses said the abuse was no secret.

He said he knew of three victims, reports RNZ.

In a statement to RNZ, the Society of Mary says it upheld two complaints, laid in 2002 and 2005 against Michael Donnelly, involving sexual abuse of two boys aged 16.

The Society says it offered the men help and informed them they could go to the police.

“Boys indicated to the acting principal at the time that someone was in their dormitory at night, it was dark, and they thought it might be Donnelly.

“We are not aware that there was ever a specific complainant, or whether it was said by someone on behalf of someone else,” the Society said.

“The acting principal investigated the matter, and Donnelly vigourously denied it.”

St Patrick’s College Silverstream said it had no record of this investigation, or of any abuse by any staff against boys at any time over the years.

The anonymous witness told RNZ that Donnelly’s antics were well known and that at one time a poster, drawing attention to them, was placed on the school noticeboard.

“Most of the people at the school saw it before it was pulled down, but it probably brought a lot of this matter to the attention of the powers-that-be,” the witness said.

The witness told RNZ he thought Donnelly was “sick” and the Society is unwilling to confront the abuse.

“The offender was, I believe, a sick man, whilst the people who knew about it and had the ability to stop this, they were not sick people and they made a conscious effort trying to deny it or make it go away or hiding it,” he said.

“I find them equally as responsible as the offender.”

RNZ reports NZ Police refuse to say why the case was being investigated now.

Sources

News category: New Zealand.

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