Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Cops are investigating abuse allegations against Bishop involved in sex party scandal

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POLICE are investigating a Catholic bishop involved in a sex party scandal over allegations he molested a priest.

Officials are investigating an allegation against Robert Byrne in another diocese.

Bishop Byrne, 66, resigned as Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle last month, saying the demands of his office were “too much of a burden”.

It came amid claims one of his priests had been holding sex parties in a church house next to St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle.

Father Michael McCoy, 57, the dean, reportedly arranged the early 2021 gatherings with a drag queen among those attending.

At that time churches were closed except for
funerals.

Father McCoy killed himself in April 2021, police said
they had received a historic allegation of abuse against him.

Bishop Byrne had appointed him dean shortly after his appointment as bishop in 2019, replacing Father Dermott Donnelly – the brother of TV’s Declan – much to the surprise of worshipers.

Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, the Pope’s envoy to Great Britain,
was informed of the allegations against Bishop Byrne.

It was made by a priest to be his own bishop.

The Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops has already requested a report on his resignation.

It is overseen by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool.

There is no evidence that Bishop Byrne attended or knew anything about the sex parties.

A spokeswoman for Archbishop McMahon said the Dicastery of Bishops in Rome had asked him to “prepare a detailed account of the events leading up to Bishop Byrne’s resignation.”

She said the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) had been invited to “review the protection”.

She added: “We can confirm that a referral to police has been made regarding an allegation against Bishop Robert Byrne.”

CSSA’s Stephen Ashley said the agency was conducting an “official, independent, unscheduled security audit and security review in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle”.

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