Investigation Launched Into How Priest Was Able to Abuse Children For Decades

St_petersbelfastNorthern Ireland’s Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) has launched an inquiry into how Catholic priest Brendan Smyth was able to sexually abuse hundreds of children for more than four decades.

Allegations of sexual abuse first surfaced concerning Smyth in 1975. Apparently the Catholic Church conducted “official” investigations as early as 1975. The Church moved Smyth between parishes and dioceses for years on both sides of the Irish border. But it took two decades before Smyth was finally brought to justice and any government convicted him of a crime.

The Church’s role has never been investigated. Now, investigators want to know how Smyth was able to continue preying on at least 140 children (some as young as 8 years old) for four decades without being stopped by law enforcement.

According to the International Business Times, Smyth was first convicted of child sex offences in 1994 and sentenced to four years in jail on 43 charges of sexually assaulting children in Northern Ireland. He later was found guilty of a further 26 charges. In 1997, he admitted to another 74 charges, and was sentenced to an additional 12 years. He died in prison in 1997 at age 70.

The investigation must focus on the Catholic Church’s actions in moving Smyth on numerous occasions without informing law enforcement or the public about the many allegations against him. As in other cases of sexual abuse, if the institution had not aided and abetted the criminal behavior, it would have been stopped. And over a hundred children would have been safe from sexual abuse.

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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