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Former North Coast priest sent to Irish prison in molestation cases

Published: Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 3:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 25, 2013 at 12:56 p.m.

ALAMEDA -- A former Catholic priest who worked in the Santa Rosa Diocese has been sentenced to 18 months in prison in his native Ireland for molesting two boys more than 30 years ago.

Patrick Joseph McCabe, 77, who fought his extradition from the Bay Area, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Friday at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

McCabe also received an 18-month sentence at the court last year for abusing boys.

The former priest was working as an administrator at an Alameda nursing home when Interpol located him in 2007. He was extradited in 2011.

One of his victims, James Moran, now 50, said McCabe "changed the path of my life forever" in a statement he prepared for Irish authorities as part of the prosecution.

"For me, it was a turning point; initially I was shocked, confused and nervous," said Moran, who waived his right to anonymity following Friday's sentencing. "I didn't know who to trust. I couldn't concentrate on anything."

McCabe targeted Moran in 1976 at an Irish boarding school after he saw his photo while visiting Moran's family and thought the youth attractive.

Another boy was abused in the parochial house of the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin, according to investigators.

"We are glad that Fr. Patrick McCabe has received prison time for abusing two 13-year-old boys in the 1970s," said Barbara Dorris of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. "We are especially grateful that McCabe was not let off the hook because of his advanced age. Children are always safer when predators are behind bars, whether that predator is 20 or 80."

According to a 2009 Irish government report on sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, officials in the Dublin Archdiocese moved priests such as McCabe to the United States and other locations after they became aware of complaints against them.

Four former parishioners sued the Santa Rosa Catholic diocese in 2010, accusing it of fraud and negligence for failing to disclose sex-abuse claims against McCabe dating from 1973 to 1981 in the Dublin archdiocese.

The men allege they were molested by McCabe at St. Bernard Parish in Eureka from 1983 to 1985. Three settled their lawsuit against church officials last year for $550,000. A fourth man rewrote his lawsuit in an attempt to avoid being timed out by the statute of limitations.

McCabe came to the Santa Rosa Diocese in 1983, months after he had been designated as a pedophile and placed on a drug to curb his sexual impulses at a church treatment facility in New Mexico. His transfer was arranged by former Dublin Archbishop Dermot Ryan and former Santa Rosa Bishop Mark Hurley, according to an official report by the Dublin Archdiocese on more than 40 priests involved in sexual misconduct in Ireland. McCabe was initially sent to Eureka, but transferred to a Guerneville parish in 1985 after parents complained he put children on his knee during first confessions.

The Dublin report says McCabe returned to Ireland in 1986 and three months later was accused of abusing a 9-year-old boy.

The Oakland Tribune contributed to this report.

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