Victims group demands investigation into disgraced Irish priest

A victims group has called on the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office to launch an urgent investigation into disgraced Irish priest Cornelius Kelleher.

Last week Cork-born Kelleher was removed from his ministry in Minnesota – following serious allegations of child sex abuse.

Now Verne Wagner, the Minnesota director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,   wants Kelleher to be investigated, along with his Bishop Paul Sirba who delayed reporting the abuse.

In a letter to St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin, Wagner writes: “I would ask your office to investigate with what tools you have available this reported crime.”

Rather than immediately notifying the authorities, Sirba hired a private investigator and waited 14 months to report the crime, Wagner said.

“Since when is it okay not to report child abuse immediately and then conduct your own investigation rather than call the police to do this?” Wagner asked. “By doing this, the bishop tampered with possible evidence and witnesses.”

Rubin has said his office will have to look at the specifics of the case before determining if any criminal charges are warranted.

“It’s possible that the statute of limitations could pre-empt criminal charges,” he said.

The offences are said to have taken place during Kelleher’s time as a pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Chisholm, Minnesota in the 1970s and 1980s.

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