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Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 21:37 GMT
Priest abuse victims speak out
Father Eugene Greene
Father Eugene Greene's sex assaults began in 1960s
Another Catholic diocese in the Republic of Ireland has come under fire for the way in which it handled the case of a paedophile priest.

Father Eugene Greene was jailed in 2000 for abusing children, many of them his altar boys, in County Donegal, over a period of three decades.

Now some of his victims and their families have spoken out about the treatment they received at the hands of the church and their anger that he was not removed from ministry long before the law caught up with him.

Their stories feature on BBC Northern Ireland's Spotlight programme and come in the wake of criticism of the Dublin Archdiocese and the handling by Cardinal Desmond Connell of clerical sex abuse.

Mercy errands

Fr Greene raped or sexually assaulted at least 26 boys in parishes across Donegal back as far as the 1960s.

One of his victims, Paul Breslin, was only ten when the priest began abusing him, under the guise of taking him on mercy errands around his parish of Gortahork.

"It was worse than hell," he says of the rapes he suffered at the priest's hands. "I felt so alone.

"I had nobody really to turn to. I did want to tell my own dad but I said to myself if I told them they would say: 'No, the priest can never do that.' "

The mother of another victim is angry because the church was told about the abuse in the 1970s but failed then to remove Fr Greene from his parish.

"The church has a terrible lot to answer for because they knew what Eugene Greene was doing," said Teresa Bonner.

'Brutal'

"They will talk to us about family life, and the importance of it - they destroyed ours, or they very nearly did."

Teresa's son John was raped twice by the priest and says the brutal attacks he suffered as a ten-year-old have affected him ever since.

"John was brutally violated," she says, "He is in Europe at the moment. He's not dealing at all with his abuse, never has. He lives from one place to the other, half the time living maybe in parks, or sleeping out."

Teresa said the church in Donegal had made her family feel they were the ones in the wrong for John eventually coming forward as an adult to tell what happened to him.

"Nobody ever came into our home to say: 'How are you all doing, can we help in any way?' Nobody ever darkened our door."

The programme has uncovered other complaints which were made about the priest and questions why no records of them exist on church files.

Spotlight is on BBC One Northern Ireland television on Tuesday at 2235 GMT.

The Church has been rocked by recent abuse revelations

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25 Oct 02 | Europe
22 Oct 02 | N Ireland
08 Apr 02 | Europe
21 Feb 01 | N Ireland
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