More abuse suits to follow Clogher action

US lawyer predicts legal actions will continue

A legal case for damages initiated by a Catholic diocese in the United States against Ireland’s Diocese of Clogher in relation to an Irish priest abuser will not be the last, a legal expert has warned.

The Diocese of New Ulm in Minnesota is reportedly suing Clogher in a so-called ‘cross suit’ for negligence in relation to the case of the late Fr Francis Xavier Markey, who was a known abuser in Clogher when he was transferred to the United States without any warning as to the dangers he posed to children. New Ulm itself is facing a number of claims by alleged victims of Fr Markey.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic this week, US-based lawyer Patrick J. Wall said: “I fully expect these cross suits to continue”. Referring to the enactment of the Child Victims Act in America, which suspends statutes of limitation in abuse cases and offers a three-year period in which to bring damages claims, Wall told this newspaper that many more cases are anticipated, pushing dioceses into cross suits in order to spread the cost of their final liability.

A former Catholic priest, Mr Wall is now a lawyer currently taking a case against New Ulm on behalf of one of Fr Markey’s alleged victims.

A priest of Clogher, ordained in 1952, Francis Xavier Markey was repeatedly treated for his proclivities from 1964 onwards. In 1981, he was sent to America, and to the Servants of the Paraclete facility in New Mexico, for further treatment. From here, he was transferred to New Ulm, where further allegations of abuse surfaced against him.

Extradited to Ireland in 2010, Fr Markey died in 2012 as he faced charges of abusing a child at Lough Derg.

The Servants of the Paraclete also face a legal action brought by New Ulm connected to the Markey case.

Contacted by The Irish Catholic, a spokesman for the Irish bishops said: “The Diocese of Clogher is not aware and has no information on this reported
legal action”.