Statement of Bishop Michael Smith, 9 November 2012
A retired priest of the Diocese of Meath pleaded guilty to a number of charges of child sexual abuse and was sentenced in Trim Circuit Court on 9 November 2012. The priest had been removed from ministry, in accordance with Church guidelines, in 1999 when the Bishop was first informed of allegations against him.
Following the Court judgement, Bishop Smith expressed his profound sorrow and shame to those who were abused by the priest, and to their families, for the pain and trauma inflicted on them. "Such abuse was a betrayal of trust by him and I condemn it unreservedly", the Bishop said. "I want to assure them that they are and have been in my thoughts and prayers throughout this process." Click here for the full text of the Bishop's statement.
The Bishop pointed out that "the painful facts of this case of abuse are a stark reminder that the diocese must be ever vigilant in its efforts to safeguard children". He proceeded to outline the safeguarding children measures in place in the Diocese of Meath and to ask anyone with concerns regarding the safety of children to contact, without delay, the Gardaí or the HSE or the diocesan designated liaison person, Fr Sean Henry.