Dermot Ryan: sent McCabe to US

AN IRISH priest in prison in the US, awaiting extradition to Ireland to face charges of sexually assaulting six boys here, is facing several legal actions by more alleged victims in the US.

Fr Patrick Joseph McCabe (74) was arrested in August. He is currently in custody without bail in Alameda county jail in California. A final extradition hearing has been set for 2 November.

Since his arrest, two men filed lawsuits against the Santa Rosa diocese, where McCabe worked during the 1980s.

The men, who are not named in the lawsuits, claim McCabe sexually abused them and that Catholic officials knew of previous allegations against him.

McCabe's case has already caused embarrassment for the Catholic hierarchy here. The late archbishop of Dublin, Dermot Ryan, sent McCabe to the US when allegations about him surfaced.

Details of McCabe's case match those of an unidentified priest, described in last year's Murphy report on child abuse, in the Dublin archdiocese.

It noted the first formal complaints of alleged sexual abuse against the priest surfaced in the mid 1970s. Following consultations, he was sent for treatment in England in 1981. But after this, more allegations of abuse by the cleric emerged.

Ryan then sent the priest to the US on a "renewal program" for Catholic priests who suffered from sexual impulses. In 1983, Ryan made a personal appeal to Santa Rosa's bishop, Mark Hurley, to accept McCabe into his diocese. The Murphy report said it appeared that Hurley, who like Ryan is now deceased, was told of the priest's past before he arrived. By the end of 1985, "stories of inappropriate conduct" had reached Hurley, according to the Murphy report, who removed the priest from his parish.

The report said the priest was again sent for treatment in England but refused to stay on as a patient and was suspended in August 1987 from the ministry.