Leading Irish newspapers The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner will tomorrow (Saturday) issue formal printed apologies to one of the two young seminarians falsely accused last year in a fake seminarian sex scandal story emanating from the Irish College in Rome. Large damages are also believed to be part of the deal signed days before a hearing was to begin in the High Court.
Last May 2018 when the story broke, The Irish Catholic was the only newspaper that uncovered the truth of the story, finding that claims that the two seminarians were dismissed from the Irish College in Rome to be false, that claims of a sexual nature were false and that claims it happened after a conference were untrue as the conference never happened. While some media outlets took down the story soon after it was shown to be false, The Irish Times stood over the story until now.
A source close to one of the men said he was delighted with the outcome and to be able to finally clear his name. However the source also said that it could have easily been sorted out a year ago by the Irish College authorities in Rome or by the Archbishop of Dublin. “All he wanted was a simple correction of the record, that he left the Irish College in Rome of his own accord and was not kicked out or found to have been involved in some sexual activity with another seminarian. But the rector Msgr Ciaran O’Carroll refused.” The source also said that the young former seminarian believes that the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin did nothing to help clear the young men’s names despite pleading from the young man and others. “Archbishop Martin talks about fostering vocations and looking after seminarians and his priests. This young man gave four years of his life to the seminary and was hung out to dry, the Archbishop did a Pontius Pilate,” claimed the source. Both the Archbishop of Dublin and Msgr Ciaran O’Carroll, Rector of The Irish College, refused to comment when contacted by The Irish Catholic last year.
It is believed that lawyers for one of the seminarians has previously criticised media outlets for reporting the allegations without trying to contact the young men involved or seek independent confirmation of the story.
Ironically, last year days after the articles appeared, Pope Francis for his World Communications Day message called on journalists to stand up for those with no voice, and in this case, especially when the national media ignore their voice and those with a duty of care for them refuse to come to their aid.