Sometimes, justice takes a while. An 85 year old Irish Catholic priest has finally been caught after spending more than 20 years on the lam, hiding in Spain. He finally admits that he’s guilty of molesting seven children, including altar boys, while at his posts in Mackworth, Derbyshire and later Buxton, Derbyshire, and Hyson Green, Nottinghamshire.
Francis Paul Cullen was extradited back to the UK after he was found in Tenerife, Spain, where he attended Mass every Sunday at a church in Playa de las Americas. He was put on trial and charged with 21 counts of child sexual abuse against seven children, five boys and two girls, aged six to sixteen. He plead guilty to all charges, which included indecent assault, indecency with a child and attempted buggery. The court said that further claimants had come forward and more charges were likely to be filed.
Cullen was sentenced to 15 years in prison, unlikely to ever get out again, which certainly doesn’t help the children he abused. Judge Jonathan Gosling told the disgraced priest, “You took full advantage of your position, and the trust in which you were held, to satisfy your perverted lust. It is impossible to reconcile the fact that you were administering the sacraments of the Catholic church – baptism, confession, communion, confirmation – at the same time as you were indulging yourself with these children, some of whom served you on the altar at which you celebrated. To say that you were a disgrace to your cloth understates your activity. This was gross hypocrisy. In a sentence, your entire life was a lie.”
That pretty much sums up religion right there, doesn’t it? The entire life of a priest is a lie. Once again, we come back to the fact that priests and other clergy use their positions to gain the trust of others. According to prosecutors in this case, Cullen was well-liked and respected by parents who trusted him and their children idolized him and look where it got them. Cullen was said to invite children to his home for tea and cake, where he’d abuse them, or he’d molest altar boys following Mass or on Cub Scout trips that he ran. He even visited one victim in Ireland at his home where he molested him. The judge summed it up quite nicely, “You were also welcomed into the parents’ homes. They could never have guessed that in truth you were a predatory paedophile – a term which was at that time unknown to the vocabulary. You were, in reality, cunning, devious, arrogant – in the word of one of your victims, despicable.”
That pretty much describes the whole of the Catholic Church as far as I’m concerned. Welcome to Horror Show Sunday.