Monday 15 April 2024

‘I deserve to know his name’ – man taking An Garda Síochána to court in effort to uncover identity of priest who abused him

A Dublin man who was raped by a priest as a child is taking An Garda Síochána to court to try uncover the identity of the cleric who abused him.

At age four, Jonathan Randall was raped by a man while on a family holiday in Bettystown, Co Meath, more than 40 years ago.

He had reason to believe it was paedophile priest Brendan Smyth, but new garda information has emerged that the suspect is a different priest who, like Smyth, was from the North and is now dead.

Mr Randall (48) had suppressed the memory of being raped until 2018.

In June 2019, he walked into a south Dublin garda station and gave a detailed statement about what happened to him as a child.

The statement of complaint was transferred to Co Meath and examined by a detective who began to investigate.

In October 2021, Mr Randall was told gardaí were confident they had identified his suspected abuser.

They were unable to provide him with the man’s name, but they did give him some information. This included that there was a lot of material about the suspect online as he was well known and that his crimes led to a political fallout and involved extradition requests.

Mr Randall said: “The gardaí didn’t break any rules, they were very careful not to mention his name.”

Through his legal representative, Mr Randall has requested to know the identity of his attacker from the DPP and An Garda Síochána. This has not been provided and he has now issued legal proceedings against An Garda Síochána in an effort to compel the force to release the dead cleric’s name.

Solicitor and senior counsel Stuart Gilhooly, of HJ Ward LLP, confirmed he has lodged the legal action on behalf of Mr Randall.

​“I have issued proceedings against the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána as a result of the failure to provide or even respond to my requests for the name of the perpetrator. I hope this will come before the courts in the coming months,” he said when contacted.

Should the suspect’s name be released, it would open the way for Mr Randall to initiate legal action against his religious order over the abuse. But that is not his motivation.

“What is most important to me is to have a name. I think it would help give me some kind of closure,” he said.

“Who is this phantom priest? He destroyed so much of my life. At the very least, I deserve to know his name.”