With all of the problems that have happened in recent years with the priest seuxal abuse scandals, it's a wonder that we haven't seen more false accusations. I'm glad Fr Ricardus has been able to withstand the pressures brought about by the false accusation.
Priest falsely accused of sexual abuse
FALSE CLAIMS: THE REPORT has commended a Dublin priest who was falsely accused of abuse for the manner in which he handled the case.
Of the 46 cases of sexual abuse examined, only one priest was found to be falsely accused. In two other cases there were suspicions or concerns, but no actual complaint of child sexual abuse.
“Fr Ricardus” was ordained in the 1960s and worked in various parishes around Dublin. In January 2003 a man accused him of sexual assault, buggery and attempted oral rape when he was aged seven.
The complaint was made to another priest and was passed on to the archdiocese and the Garda.
Cardinal Desmond Connell met Fr Ricardus who vehemently denied the allegations, but agreed to step down from his ministry.
He was assessed by the Granada Institute, a specialist service in adult mental health, who filed a report in his favour. The complainant made a statement to gardaí in June, as did his parents. But his father later admitted he had no recollection of the events and his mother said she had made some mistakes in her recollection.
When the archdiocese’s child protection advisory panel met in August, its view was that Fr Ricardus should not return to his ministry until it was clear there would be no criminal proceedings.
The archdiocese investigation was complete in early September 2003. It found the allegation against Fr Ricardus had no substance and he could return to his ministry. He had been out for 8½ months.
Gardaí sent a file to the DPP and he decided not to prosecute. Gardaí then investigated the complainant. He was later charged and convicted of making a false statement under Section 12 of the Criminal Law Act 1976. He received a three-year sentence.
Fr Ricardus told the commission the experience was “extremely difficult and harrowing for him”.
The report said he graphically described the shock of being informed of the allegation, the feeling of alienation and abandonment when he was asked to step aside from his ministry and the long wait for the processes to be gone through.
“The commission commends his courage in agreeing to give evidence, but more importantly in getting on with his life and putting the experience behind him in so far as is possible,” the report said.