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Brendan Smyth victim - recovered memory clergy abuse case

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  • smartnews@aol.com
    Brendan Smyth victim battles with US church Crime Correspondent Ali Bracken 1/31/10 Helen McGonigle (48) was just six years old when she was first assaulted
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2010
      Brendan Smyth victim battles with US church Crime Correspondent Ali
      Bracken 1/31/10

      Helen McGonigle (48) was just six years old when she was first assaulted
      by the late Irish priest. She was living in East Greenwich in Rhode
      Island with her family when he entered her life. The sexual abuse
      perpetrated against her continued for the next four years. McGonigle's
      family of Irish descent were members of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic
      Church and it was here that they came into contact with the convicted
      sexual abuser. A master manipulator, he infiltrated her family's daily
      life. He also sexually abused her elder sister Kathleen under the
      pretence of preparing her for the sacrament of penance. Kathleen and
      Helen's brother Gerard both died from fatal drug overdoses as a result
      of the abuse Smyth perpetrated against her family. Her mother also spent
      time in a mental institution before her death because of the actions of
      the paedophile priest.

      Helen repressed the memory of the horrors Smyth inflicted upon her as a
      child. It only came to the surface five years ago when she began to look
      deeper into what caused her sister's fatal overdose from antidepressants
      in 2005. As she delved into their early life in Rhode Island, she soon
      learned her elder sister, and many other children, were also victims of
      Smyth....The McGonigle family moved from Rhode Island in 1973 but the
      damage wreaked by Smyth never left them. In 1994, the priest was
      convicted of 17 counts of sexual abuse in a Belfast court. Three years
      later in Dublin, he pleaded guilty to another 74 counts of child sexual
      abuse....His rampant abuse of children was known to his superiors in the
      Catholic church and helped bring down the Fianna Fáil/Labour
      coalition in 1994.

      In 2006, McGonigle notified the diocese of Providence of the abuse she
      suffered at the hands of Smyth in Rhode Island. She was informed that
      she was the sixth person to come forward but there was "no pastoral
      reason" for making this information public. "I have since located two
      other victims of Smyth from our parish. I know of a third, a neighbour
      and my sister's friend, and if I count my sister, that makes at least
      nine children. Smyth was caught molesting children at our parish in
      early 1968, sent to a mental hospital and allowed to return to reoffend.
      To my knowledge there are two major groupings of us. Those aged six and
      seven who were one-on-one with Smyth in preparation for taking the
      sacrament of penance, and those five years older preparing for

      Last week, the Boston archdiocese finally confirmed that Smyth at one
      time worked in Boston...."He destroyed my entire family. He was moved
      around four states in the US, from parish to parish within those states.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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