Saturday, June 5, 2010

Church to pay ‘Evil’ abuse priest big pension
Church to pay ‘Evil’ abuse priest big pension
Victims furious as abuser of over 25 children gets ‘deal’

By Paul Rhodes in Stockton
Saturday June 05 2010

A DEFROCKED Irish priest who admitted molesting at least 25 children is due to begin receiving monthly payments from a pension bought by his diocese from today.

Stockton Diocese in California will begin paying Fr Oliver O’Grady - on whom the documentary ‘Deliver us From Evil,’ was based - from today when he turns 65.

The payments, which will total more than $94,560 or (€70,000) over 10 years - about €650 a month - have outraged abuse victims. Last night they insisted Fr O'Grady shouldn't be rewarded, and any funds should go to victims' support programmes.

“He gets rewarded. I get very frustrated,” Nancy Sloan, 45, said yesterday. Ms Sloan was sexually abused by O'Grady when she was 11.

“The church has certainly gone back on its word countless times. I don't know why it wouldn't even cross their minds to go back on the annuity - give it back to a victims fund,” an emotional Ms Sloan said.

However Bishop Stephen Blaire, who arranged the annuity payments, said last night that the money was part of a deal to ensure that Fr O'Grady left the priesthood.

Bishop Blaire said he recognised the payments would be received poorly, “but there was a reason.”

O'Grady was convicted in 1994 of molesting two brothers between 1978 and 1991. He served almost seven years in prison, and was then deported back to Ireland.

He was the subject of the award-winning 2006 documentary, “Deliver Us from Evil,” in which he spoke openly of abusing more than 20 children.

His case has cost the Stockton diocese millions of dollars to settle sexual abuse lawsuits.

Bishop Blaire said that while he found it distasteful to provide an annuity, “I wanted to provide some measure of justice or peace of mind for his victims that he could never again use his priesthood to damage families. I didn't see any other way of guaranteeing that he would be out of the priesthood.”

O'Grady, who had been removed from his priestly duties before he went to prison, was defrocked in 2001, Bishop Blaire said. The diocese bought the pension seven years ago and it cost the church $11,000 a year. It was paid off by 2009.

The payments to O'Grady will be made through an insurance company.

Last night Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul, Minnesota, lawyer for the two boys O'Grady went to jail for molesting, said the disgraced former priestcertainly doesn't deserve any money.

“Why would they pay him after he's been deported, after he's been convicted?”Mr Anderson asked.

He continued: “He's deserving of no money, certainly from them.” It recently emerged that O'Grady had volunteered to work at a church in the Netherlands.

- Paul Rhodes in Stockton


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