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Bishop sets up abuse helpline.

A BISHOP has announced the launch of the first diocesan helpline for the victims of sex abuse by priests.

Bishop of Cork and Ross Dr John Buckley made the announcement after a priest was charged with indecent assault.

The priest, who is in 40s, has pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault on two boys in 1988 and 1989.

But he denies two further charges of indecent assault over the same period, Bandon District Court heard.

The freephone number - 1800 33 12 34 - is confidential and independent of the bishop, said a diocesan spokesman.

Bishop Buckley said he was extremely concerned for both the priest's victims and the people of the parish in which he had served.

"I hope and pray for the well-being and healing of anyone who has suffered or is suffering," he said.

Bishop Buckley said he was including the family of the priest in the case as among those who had suffered.

"It is a cause of great suffering, regret and sadness that a priest should betray the trust placed in him," he said.

Young people, their families and the Church authorities had all placed their trust in the priest, said Bishop Buckley.

The incident is the second in West Cork in recent years. Three years ago a priest was stood down in the area.

The late Bishop Michael Murphy removed Fr Jerome Kiely as parish priest in Aughadown near Skibbereen.

The move came after an allegation that Fr Kiely had sexually abused an altar boy even though gardai received no complaint.
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Author:Roche, Barry
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 7, 1998
Words:257
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