Level of church abuse no shock to victim

A HADLEIGH man abused as a child by a trainee priest has said he is not surprised there were thousands more like him.

Colin Adwent

A HADLEIGH man abused as a child by a trainee priest has said he is not surprised there were thousands more like him.

Noel Pattern was sexually molested from the age of 12 by a student seminarian while growing up in County Wexford in the Republic of Ireland.

Over Easter, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin revealed a new shocking report detailing the horrifying scale of the abuse will humble the Catholic Church.

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He warned that a massive investigation of parishes in the Irish capital will find thousands were subjected to horrific attacks between 1975 and 2004.

Archbishop Martin said the full horror of years of physical, sexual and psychological torture has not been recognised.

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He said: "The Report of the Commission on Child Sexual Abuse will shock us all.

"It is likely that thousands of children or young people across Ireland were abused by priests and the horror of that abuse was not recognised for what it is.”

The three years of abuse Mr Pattern suffered led to him to armed robbery and gun-running during the troubles in Northern Ireland.

He also attempted suicide, before ultimately finding redemption.

The 37-year-old father-of-two, who has waived his right to anonymity, said: “For a victim who has had to live with it every day since the abuse occurred, I'm not a bit surprised. I have met many, many more victims.

“The mark it leaves on people's lives is desperation, and a sense of being betrayed and marginalised. I fell apart emotionally. I tried to commit suicide three times.

“People have trouble holding down jobs, have mental health problems, and drinking problems. They find comfort in drugs, alcohol or the wrong relationships.

“The biggest issue was not necessarily with the abuser themselves, it was with the establishment in the Catholic Church and the inability for them to listen.”

Mr Pattern said he had been discouraged by the Church's response to the Ferns report published in 2005.

It contained revelations of clerical child abuse, identifying more than 100 allegations made against 21 priests between 1962 and 2002 in the Wexford diocese.

Mr Pattern always felt the true scale of the abuse was not revealed, with victims being paid compensation after signing confidentiality agreements.

He also said he believed not enough was done to publicise the counselling or psychotherapy available through the Church.

Mr Pattern's abuser died in 1996 on the Wirral in a HIV care centre. He never stood trial.

The Bishop of Cloyne John Magee stood aside last month after it was revealed he broke church rules on the handling of complaints.

Last year a report found Bishop Magee took minimal action over a series of child abuse allegations against two of his priests and what little action he took was inappropriately delayed.

* Noel C Pattern's has written a compelling book to help others.

Forgiving Ferns will raise money for three charities, Inspire Counselling & Training: www.inspirecounselling.org.uk, Agape Alive India: www.agapealiveinindia.org.uk and The Living Room: www.thelivingroom.me.uk

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