Northern Ireland

Malachy Finegan victim to take fresh case against Catholic Church

Sean Faloon who was abused as a child paedophile priest Malachy Finegan. Picture by Mal McCann.
Sean Faloon who was abused as a child paedophile priest Malachy Finegan. Picture by Mal McCann.

A MAN abused by former priest Malachy Finegan is set to take legal action against the Catholic Church for a second time.

Sean Faloon was first targeted by Finegan as a 10-year-old altar boy.

The legal action comes after the existence of unpublished documents linked to his abuser emerged after a High Court legal action earlier this year.

From Hilltown in Co Down, Mr Faloon (41) has previously revealed how his abuse began with hugging and kissing after Mass.

Mr Faloon was later raped and abused over a seven-year period from 1990 to 1997.

He said that the priest told him that if he ever told anyone about the abuse it would “ruin me for the rest of my life”.

Malachy Finegan
Malachy Finegan

Details came to light when Mr Faloon, who was aged 17 at the time, told his GP.

His family and police were later informed, however, a formal complaint was never made.

In 2006 he settled an action against the Diocese of Dromore for a six-figure sum.

Finegan was sent to a Church-run treatment centre, Our Lady of Victory, at Stroud in Gloucestershire .

It has now emerged that Mr Faloon is set to launch fresh legal action against the Catholic Church over its failure to alert police and social services about the abuser when he was in Gloucestershire.

Finegan resumed his abuse of Mr Faloon two days after returning from the centre, resulting in the victim being targeted for another three years.

Lawyers for Mr Faloon say that had authorities at Stroud acted promptly on the information they had the abuse would have ceased and Finegan would have faced the law.

Mr Faloon said he only became aware of Church-held documents linked to Finegan in June.

“Within two days of returning from Stroud Finegan resumed his rape and abuse of me.

“I’ve been retraumatised on learning about this.”

Mr Faloon added that a recent announcement by Archbishop Eamon Martin on redress for victims of abuse in the Diocese of Dromore “will not address these sort of unresolved problems".

“I am left with little option but to take legal action for a second time,” he said.

Solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, said: “It’s appalling that lessons weren’t learnt from the debacle of the Fr Brendan Smyth case.

“The Church sent Smyth to Stroud as well.

“He returned to Ireland to resume his rape and abuse of dozens of children."

Mr Winters said failings in the Smyth case were repeated with Finegan.

He said police in Gloucestershire are now investigating.

Gloucestershire Constabulary said it could confirm "we have received correspondence on behalf of a number of individuals".

"Before determining whether to launch a criminal investigation, we are seeking more information and are reviewing the material which has been provided".