Page last updated at 08:37 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Bishop of Waterford William Lee sorry over abuse cases

Crucifix inside Catholic Church in Dublin
The Catholic Church in Ireland has been dealing with complaints over how it handled abuse

Another Irish bishop has apologised over how he handled sex abuse allegations against one of his priests.

Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Dr William Lee said how he dealt with abuse allegations in the mid-1990s as "seriously inadequate".

Dr Lee apologised for delaying two years before telling Irish police.

In a statement to RTE News, he said he "particularly regretted" that he had not sought the "immediate withdrawal" of the priest from all ministry.

Bishop Lee said the complainants were adults when they made the allegations in 1993. He said that without administering oaths he met them over the following year to hear their stories.

He also satisfied himself that they were being "adequately supported".

He said that a psychiatrist had said the accused priest could safely work with children.

Dr Lee moved him to a new ministry as part of "ongoing diocesan changes" but did not tell the priest's new colleagues about his background.

He said that in October 1995, after benefiting from advice on child protection, he reported the priest to police.

Six weeks later, the Bishop removed him from ministry after getting him assessed at a different treatment centre.

Dr Lee said the complainants themselves took the decision not to make a criminal complaint and, insofar as he is aware, that has remained their decision.

The Catholic Church in Ireland has been dealing with complaints over how it handled abuse allegations against priests and abuse at Catholic-run orphanages and industrial schools in the Irish Republic.

On Wednesday the Pope accepted the resignation of an Irish bishop found to have mishandled allegations of clerical sex abuse in his County Cork diocese.

Bishop John Magee stepped aside in March 2009 after an independent report found his Cloyne Diocese had put children at risk of harm.

Bishop Magee was born in Newry, County Down, and served as private secretary for three popes.



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