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Campaigner praises Church for sacking priest

A CAMPAIGNER for the victims of childhood sex abuse has praised the Catholic Church for defrocking a priest accused of the crime.

Helen Holland said the dismissal of Father Thomas Mullen, revealed by The Herald yesterday, marked a new determination to deal with rogue clerics.

However, the veteran campaigner said she now expected to see more priests and clerics thrown out of their jobs, whether they have been convicted or not.

Father Mullen, 75, has been removed from office despite a decision by the Crown Office not to have him prosecuted for two alleged cases of abuse of boys. The decision, by the Vatican, is thought to be unprecedented in Scotland.

The Archbishop Of St Andrews And Edinburgh, Leo Cushley, told parishioners at Our Lady Of Lourdes, Dunfermline, of the decision at the weekend, claiming "the abuse of minors is something which cannot go unheeded".

Miss Holland, who was an abuse victim at a Catholic-run care home, said: "I welcome this move by the church. But they should not stop at one. All the priests who have been involved in the abuse of children should be defrocked. It is not right or fair just to do it with one person."

Other professionals, such as teachers or social workers, would routinely be subjected to professional conduct hearings if they faced such allegations. Such hearings would have a lower burden of proof than a criminal trial.

Miss Holland added: "Anyone else with a certain weight of evidence against them would lose their jobs. This should apply to priests too."

Father Mullen was dealt with under canonical rules after the Crown declined to prosecute - because it could not establish a Moorov doctrine for two similar cases because they took place so far apart.

The priest was suspended in 2011 when allegations were investigated by the police and a full review of his position was then carried out by the Vatican. The announcement was made on Sunday because a period under which his expulsion could be appealed had come to an end.

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