Victim of clerical child abuse avoids jail term for causing damage to a church

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Victim of clerical child abuse avoids jail term for causing damage to a church

A victim of clerical child sex abuse who caused €100,000 in damage to a church because he was upset by a “derisory” offer of compensation from the church has been given a fully suspended sentence.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that on July 26, 2017, Ian Kidd (54) received a letter from solicitors for the Catholic Church with a “final offer” of €30,000 for the abuse he suffered at the hands of a priest.

He found this offer derisory and became upset, his lawyer Marc Thompson BL said. Kidd went out and filled a can with €5 worth of diesel and went to St Agnes' Church in Crumlin.

He walked up to the altar and began pouring the fuel on the floor while shouting at “terrified” parishioners in the church to “get out, get out”.

“He had a cigarette and may have had the wherewithal to ignite the diesel but he did not,” Kieran Kelly BL, prosecuting, told the court.

A garda negotiating team arrived at the church and Kidd spoke to one garda about the historic abuse he suffered at the hands of a priest, now deceased.

The court heard that the bulk of the damage was caused when diesel was spilled on the altar, which is made of Carrara marble. A monstrance, a crucifix and a Paschal candle were also damaged.

Kidd of Daytona, Brittas, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to criminal damage at St Agnes' Church, St Agnes' Road, Crumlin on July 26, 2017.

Judge Elma Sheahan suspended a two year prison term on condition that Kidd continue to engage with treatment for his alcohol addiction. She noted he was mentally fragile at the time because of the abuse he had suffered at the hands of clergy.

She said she accepted as genuine his remorse and regret for his actions and noted he had made efforts to address mental health and alcohol abuse issue. She noted that he is considered not to be at risk of reoffending.

The court heard that gardaí received multiple complaints of abuse allegedly committed by the priest who Kidd said abused him. A High Court case, in which Kidd said he was repeatedly abused, resulted in a financial offer and was settled in 2018.

In a victim impact statement Father Paul Tyrell, the parish priest, said parishioners were terrified by the incident but said the parish has no desire to add any suffering Mr Kidd “may have suffered in this parish in previous years”