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DUBLIN (ChurchMilitant.com) - A once-popular priest is being exposed posthumously as a predator, adding to the growing school-linked abuse crisis in Ireland.
The Irish Times reported Thursday new allegations of sexual abuse against the late Fr. Michael Cremin. They stem from his time as a teacher and soccer coach at the all-boys Carmelite College boarding school in County Westmeath.
One former student told The Irish Times that although he himself wasn't abused, he remembered seeing Cremin abuse other boys: "He was abusing them in front of us. This was regular, happening for years. This was going on in front of everybody. If he was doing this openly, what was he doing in the dorms?"
Once decorated by the Gaelic Athletic Association for his coaching prowess, Cremin is alleged to have serially abused boys, most often in his rooms on campus but also in classrooms and hallways. Former pupils called the priest's pederasty a "known thing."
At least one other priest from Carmelite College has been accused of sexually abusing boys. Nearly a dozen Carmelite priests working at Terenure College in Dublin (another all-boys school) have been accused of over 40 instances of sexual abuse of male students.
The allegations against Cremin follow the revelation, starting in November, of widespread systemic sexual abuse in all-boys schools run by the Spiritan order, most notably Dublin's once-prestigious Blackrock College. After brothers Mark and David Ryan revealed on a radio documentary that they had been abused decades ago while students at Blackrock, countless victims came forward to share their own stories. Almost all victims were male.
To date, nearly 500 men have alleged sexual abuse at Spiritan-run boarding schools. Some men have even alleged multiple instances of abuse. Most of the allegations have come from students at Blackrock and Willow Park, also in Dublin, although allegations have also surfaced against priests working at St. Mary's College and Templeogue College (both in Dublin), as well as Rockwell College in County Tipperary. One former Blackrock student said a fifth of his 1979 graduating class identified themselves as abuse victims.
The Dominican-run Newbridge College in County Kildare — a boys-only school until 1984 — has also generated its share of sexual abuse allegations. According to the Dominicans in Ireland, at least six Newbridge priests and friars had been accused of abusing at least 29 students. A total of 37 allegations have been made against the order in Ireland by at least 97 alleged victims.
The Vincentian order has confirmed 48 allegations of abuse leveled against priests at the all-boys Castleknock College and the all-boys St. Paul's College, both just outside Dublin. Ireland's Franciscans, who run two schools for boys, confirmed 124 allegations of sexual abuse.
The Jesuits in Ireland have also received complaints against priests working in all-boys schools.
Descriptions of abuse suffered by boys at Carmelite College are almost identical to descriptions of abuse suffered by other boys at other Catholic schools. Andrew Fitzpatrick, a former student at Spiritan-run Rockwell College, claimed "everyone knew" a now-deceased priest and teacher was "very obviously a pedophile."
"He would sit in the class correcting homework while 'fiddling' with the same three or four boys," Fitzpatrick said. "He was well able to identify those who would not fight back." He reported at least four other priests had abused boys at Rockwell.
A former Blackrock student said it was a known fact among students that certain priests liked "touching boys," saying there was "no doubt about" a clerical pedophile ring operating at the school. Another student told of his days at Willow Park, where at least three priests would abuse him.
While conducting an investigation into the explosive Spiritan abuse claims last year, Ireland's lower house of Parliament, the Dáil Éireann, was told an administrator at Blackrock was alerted to the homopredation as early as 20 years ago. Evidently, the administrator told subsequent complainants not to make such claims without "proof and [an attorney]." That administrator is still working at Blackrock.
In 2015, John Connolly filed a legal complaint against the Spiritans for abuse he allegedly suffered while a Willow Park student in 1958. The now-74-year-old Connolly reports the Spiritans told him "they would not only deny everything but force it to a higher court and get me for [legal] costs," which were estimated to equal between $42,000 and $85,000.
In 1971, a mother lodged a complaint against another Spiritan priest, Fr. Arthur Carragher, who reportedly molested two of her sons at St. Mary's College. He was transferred to a parish in Canada, where he sexually abused at least one altar boy.
Whether at schools run by Carmelites, Spiritans, Dominicans, Vincentians, Franciscans or Jesuits, the almost 800 emerging stories of clerical sex abuse all have one prominent common theme: homosexuality.
In his recent apology to abuse victims, Fr. Martin Kelly, Irish provincial of the Spiritans, never once mentioned homosexuality — he never even acknowledged that nearly every single victim of a predator priest was male.
Ireland's bishops have, likewise, failed to address the proverbial elephant in the room, never noting the prevalence of homosexuality in the sexual abuse of children, or the sexual abuse of adults, for that matter.
Abp. Eamon Martin of Armagh, failing to address the homosexuality crisis among clergy, recently called clerical sex abuse "an open wound that has never been able to heal."
The former archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said the number of abuse allegations against Spiritan priests is "frightening." He asked what attracted so many "horrendous abusers" to the same schools, never noting that all of those schools were all-boys schools.
In 2016, it was revealed Ireland's national seminary, St. Patrick's Pontifical University in Maynooth, was infested with homosexuals. Martin reported claims of "a homosexual, a gay culture."
Unnervingly, Martin missed the mark when addressing reports of the rampant use of the gay hookup app Grindr. He said using Grindr "would be inappropriate for seminarians, not just because they are trained to be celibate priests but because an app like that is something which would be fostering promiscuous sexuality, which is certainly not in any way the mature vision of sexuality one would expect a priest to understand."
Martin never addressed Grindr's emphasis on homosexuality directly conflicted with Catholic moral teaching, regardless of one's vocation.
One seminarian even went to the Garda, Ireland's police force, with allegations his spiritual director had molested him. The now-married man said he would "definitely not suggest Maynooth to any young man currently considering a vocation."
Perhaps most tellingly of all, the Irish government commissioned an investigation into sex abuse at boarding schools in 1999. The investigators' final report, nicknamed the Ryan report, was published in 2009. The report classified homosexual abuse of children as "endemic," noting girls were sexually abused at a drastically lower rate than boys.
The Ryan report's findings are consistent with clerical abuse reports from other nations. The infamous John Jay report from the US found over 80% of clerical sexual abuse cases were homosexual in nature.
The new and still-emerging abuse crisis in Ireland indicates — just as the Ryan report did in 2009, just as the John Jay report did in 2004, and just as the Catholic Church has taught for centuries on end — homosexuality is the chief crisis.