August 2010 — Former priest in California awaits extradition to native Ireland to faces sex abuse charges. An Irish priest faces extradition to Ireland after evading a long trail of sex abuse complaints by shuttling between his native country and the U.S., serving in California parishes and eventually retiring in a waterfront Bay Area suburb. Patrick Joseph McCabe, 74, is facing charges he sexually assaulted six boys in Ireland from 1973 to 1981. He turned himself in to federal authorities on July 30 after the 10th warrant was issued for his arrest in Ireland. He is being held under federal authority with no bail in Alameda County jail.
Details of McCabe’s case match those of an unidentified priest described in a 2009 report by Dublin High Court Justice Yvonne Murphy, which set off renewed investigations into the accusations made against McCabe and others. The report stated that once abuse complaints surfaced in 1982, the Archdiocese of Dublin sent the priest to the United States, first arranging for his treatment, then securing a position for him in the Diocese of Santa Rosa.
Church directories confirm that McCabe was in Eureka and Guernville when the report lists the priest as having been placed there. The priest’s name was redacted from the report. According to the document, McCabe’s case “encapsulates everything that was wrong with the archdiocesan handling of child sexual abuse cases.”
In strong language, the report points out ways in which Dermot Ryan, the Archbishop of Dublin, knew about the complaints against McCabe, understood the effect of abuse on children, but still made sure as few people as possible knew of the charges. Ryan reached out to former Santa Rosa Bishop Mark Hurley, whom he knew, and “asked him to, as it were, ‘rid him of this troublesome priest,’ and Bishop Hurley agreed,” the Murphy report states.
Murphy also called the Irish police to task for “effectively stifling one complaint and failing to investigate another, and in allowing (McCabe) to leave the country.”
McCabe’s whereabouts weren’t known to Irish police again until the international law enforcement network Interpol found him in 2003 living in Alameda, a suburb of the San Francisco Bay Area. Irish police finally interviewed him in 2007. McCabe denied the claims of abuse, but acknowledged to investigators he had a fetish for young boys in formal shirts and ties, and felt sexually attracted to them.
The first of McCabe’s reported victims to take his complaints outside the church filed charges with the police in 1987. According to federal court documents, he claimed the priest offered him a ride, then locked him in his car and tried to penetrate him ten years earlier. In an interview with Irish investigators included in federal documents, McCabe said of the man, “He met all my requirements to match up my fetish, and I embraced him and fondled him with no further sexual behaviour.”
Terence McKiernan, of BishopAccountability.org, which compiles data on clerical abuse, agreed with the Murphy report’s assessment that the McCabe case is emblematic of the Catholic Church’s problematic handling of sex abuse charges. “All through the report, what you’re seeing is the brotherhood operating,” he stated. “They shuffled him around. He’s clearly one of the boys. There is a willingness, almost a reflex, to honour those relationships and not to think about the kids.”
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