The Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora has received correspondence containing allegations that a local priest allegedly took cocaine and performed sex acts during video calls with a woman in the United States.
The complainant also claims the named priest told her that he had sex with a parishioner in his presbytery, after which he received “a slap on the wrist” from his superiors.
Gardai have confirmed that it is making enquiries into the allegations of drug use by a priest in the diocese, but it has yet to launch a formal investigation, Galway Beo reports.
The woman, who is from Louisiana in the United States, claims to have met the cleric on an adult chat website earlier this year before beginning a long-distance relationship that continued for several months.
She has alleged that they engaged in “mutual masturbation” during video calls, and says he would “often” use cocaine while he was online. She claims he said he was leaving the priesthood and going to the US so they could be together.
Initially, the complainant had not known the man was a priest but she claims he told her shortly before they started video-calling. He invited her to watch him celebrating Mass on the parish website.
The allegations are contained in a statement that the woman provided to independent Catholic cleric, Bishop Pat Buckley, who referred the matter directly to Galway Bishop Brendan Kelly in correspondence seen by Galway Beo.
Bishop Kelly stated that he takes “all these matters very seriously” in his reply to Bishop Buckley, and asked that the woman contact the diocese’s designated liaison officer directly.
However, this week, a spokesman for Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference said that there would be no comment issued in relation to the allegations. Numerous attempts to contact a diocese representative were unsuccessful.
Pat Buckley is a former Roman Catholic priest who was consecrated a bishop in a private ceremony in 1998 by controversial cleric Martin Cox, the bishop who also ordained singer Sinead O’Connor in 1999.
The consecration was performed without a pontifical mandate, contrary to Canon Law, and was therefore described as “valid but unlawful” by a spokesman for the Church. Both Buckley and Cox were consequently excommunicated.
The Larne-based cleric was contacted by the complainant last month and referred her statement to Bishop Kelly on September 20, seeking “appropriate action” and suggesting that the priest needs “professional help” for his addictions.
In the statement, the woman claimed her relationship with the named priest began as “friendship” but changed when he indicated that “he wanted an online sexual relationship”.
She claims: “He asked me to download Skype so that we could have face-to-face conversations. During these sessions we engaged in mutual masturbation.
“[He] told me that he was leaving the priesth