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Paedophile priest abused kids in US

Added on December 11, 2004

Saturday December 11th 2004

A PAEDOPHILE priest who abused children in Clare in the 1970s and 1980s had previously abused children in Florida in the 1960s.

Fr Tom McNamara, who died in 1997, abused children in the east Clare parishes of Whitegate and Mountshannon - including triple killer Brendan O'Donnell, who murdered Imelda Riney, her son Liam, and Fr Joe Walsh in 1994.

Now the diocese of St Augustine in north Florida has confirmed that Fr McNamara abused three adolescents while serving as a priest in Jacksonville between 1966 and 1968.

Director of One in Four Colm O'Gorman said yesterday that the case was "part of an emerging international picture of abusive priests not just moving from parish to parish, but from country to country".

Brendan O'Donnell's foster father, Tony Muggivan, said yesterday he was not surprised that Fr McNamara's record of abuse dated back to the 1960s.

"I believe that it stretches back further and the Church authorities were involved in a cover-up of his abuse where he went undetected for at least 30 years."

He confirmed that he has met with Bishop of Killaloe Willie Walsh on the issue.

Bishop Walsh has confirmed that he was notified by the St Augustine diocese of the Jacksonville cases last summer.

But he said he was not aware of accusations against Fr McNamara before his time in Florida.

A Church spokeswoman in North Florida said there was no indication diocesan officials at the time knew of the abuse.

He was not prepared to say if the diocese had paid money to victims of Fr McNamara.

Gordon Deegan

? Irish Independent &

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