Vatican examines report on sex abuse allegations

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A DETAILED report on child abuse allegations against a Scottish Catholic priest has been sent to the Vatican for a decision by the Church’s highest authorities.

Father Thomas Mullen, the priest at Our Lady of Lourdes in Dunfermline, was arrested in March last year by officers from Fife Constabulary in relation to allegations of child sex abuse dating back more than 30 years.

But earlier this year, the Crown Office decided to place the possible prosecution of the priest on hold, after Fiona Cameron, the procurator fiscal at Dunfermline, received a report from the Fife force.

A separate investigation into the allegations against the 
71-year-old priest by the Catholic Church in Scotland was then 
ordered by Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the head of the Church in Scotland.

The investigation was conducted by Father Paul Gargaro, the church’s senior investigator in Scotland, who is also the assistant priest at St Margaret’s Church in Clydebank.

The Church confirmed yesterday that his report has now been sent to the Vatican authorities in Rome for a final decision.

Father Mullen was placed on administrative leave from the priesthood after the allegations first surfaced, and he remains suspended from his duties as a parish priest.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh said: “Father Thomas Mullen has been removed from parish ministry pending the results of a Church investigation which has been forwarded to Rome for advice and judgment.

“The Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh co-operated fully with the police investigation.”

A spokesman for Fife Constabulary confirmed yesterday that a 71-year-old man had been arrested.

Father Mullen could not be contacted for comment.