BY Ian Dunn | May 8 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

6-FR-PAUL-MORTON

Police clear Cambuslang priest

A Motherwell diocesan priest has been cleared by police after being falsely accused of sex abuse, but his family says he was denied ‘natural justice’ as he was unable to defend himself against the unfounded historic allegation.

While Fr Paul Morton, 55, formerly of St Bride’s Cambuslang, cannot return to active ministry until the Church concludes its own separate investigation, Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell said he now hopes the Church investigation will conclude as quickly as possible.

“We will all require to be patient during this process, which is the prescribed way to proceed,” the bishop said. “I pray that this case will quickly proceed to a just conclusion and we will be able to welcome Fr Morton back to active ministry.”

A statement from Fr Morton’s four brothers and two sisters says, though their sibling had been ‘completely exonerated,’ he was also subjected to a ‘damaging and distressing ordeal that lasted for eight months.’

“The traumatic events for him and our family began in October of the previous year when an allegation was made against him by an anonymous individual,” they say. “Paul was immediately removed from his parish duties and also asked to leave the parish house for a period of ‘administrative leave.’”

They add that their brother has ‘been the victim of an unwarranted and incomprehensibly malevolent act perpetrated by a malicious individual,’ an act which ‘has taken its toll on his health, emotional well-being and on the very essence of his beliefs.’

They say Fr Morton only learned of the nature of the allegations against him through the media, and ‘due to the present legal position, the individual against whom an allegation is made is never privy to the detail until he or she is to be charged or not charged.’

“This inevitably creates a situation where a person has no opportunity to defend himself or herself against an accusation. Paul had been denied natural justice—the right to prove his innocence,” his family says.

—ian@sconews.co.uk

—This story ran in full in the May 8 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.

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