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Church faces barrage of sex cases after record deal • Wednesday January 29, 2003

Irish Independent, Jan. 29, 2003

The Catholic Church is now certain to face a multi-million-euro bill arising out of clerical sexual abuse civil claims after a High Court settlement yesterday set a new record.

A public apology from Cardinal Desmond Connell and a six-figure pay-out by the Church brought to a close a seven-year civil claim by a former altar boy.

The size of the compensation was not disclosed, but is believed to be between 300,000 and 400,000, the largest settlement yet reached over a case of sex abuse by a Catholic priest.

Mervyn Rundle, now 28, was nine when he was abused by Thomas Naughton, then curate in Dublin’s Donnycarney parish.

Naughton was jailed for three years in 1998 for abusing four altar boys between 1984 and 1988.

Outside the High Court yesterday, Mr Rundle demanded the Cardinal’s resignation if he was not prepared to take a more caring approach to the victims of clerical sex abuse.

And he urged the Cardinal to “hand over everything that is there”, adding that he “has been hiding for so long information that is needed”.

Cardinal Connell’s apology was part of the terms of the settlement agreed between counsel for the church and Mr Rundle.

In a statement read to the court by a lawyer, Cardinal Connell expressed profound regret for the injury caused to him and his family.

He also acknowledged that before Mr Rundle’s abuse occurred, concern had been expressed about Naughton’s behaviour which could have resulted in his being withdrawn from parish duties.

Mr Rundle said he was delighted the Catholic Church had at last acknowledged “the pain it caused a frightened boy for so long”.

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