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Reader comments · Comment: The real issues in stories of the priest, the porn and the memory stick · PinkNews

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Comment: The real issues in stories of the priest, the porn and the memory stick

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  1. As a (gay) parent I would be upset by the idea of my child seeing pornographic images. I would be equally upset if they were images of gay or straight porn. Sex is normal and healthy but it is totally inappropriate to expose children to it because they are not yet sexual beings and sexualising children can make them vulnerable and confused. In this situation I would certainly be wary of jumping o conclusions that the priest is to blame. he may have had nothing to do with it, but if he did it seems clear that it was not his intention to show the images.

    1. There was only one child there. It was to parents.

      I saw pretty hardcore (straight) material at a young age…I wasn’t traumatised, despite the amount of female anatomy in show.

  2. That’s all well and good, but don’t get preachy, casting the first stone bollocks, as a gay man I’m always affected by so called good christians and their prejudice, ignorance and propaganda.
    I agree with Dromio regarding children being exposed to sexual material, also that the priests intentiions wouldn’t have been to show these images, but let’s not get our knickers in a twist because the imagery was gay!

  3. Jane, your comments are entirely reasonable.

    It may be that Father McVeigh has either innocently displayed images or even was set up.

    That said, we do not know what sort of pronography was displayed – and as many parents have said in the media (including one here on PN) – they would not want their children to be seeing pronographic images – a choice that was not given to them.

    At least one eight year old is reported to have been present.

    I know of at least one case where a West Yorkshire teachers abuse of children was uncovered out of an inquiry to what he initially claimed was the inadvertent display of pornographic images to some school children aged 9/10. He had sexually abused 5 children – which were discovered due to the inquiry into his displaying pornography. He later admitted the sexual abuse when confronted with evidence from the investigation.

    Now, I am not saying Fr MacVeigh has abused children or that he deliberately showed porn. That needs to be investigated.

    1. Childrens welfare must come first. Even if there was only one six year old present – every child matters.

      Yes, speculation does not help. False allegations can be made. People in positions of trust can be set up. They should be honest and open with any investigation and demonstrate what they know.

      The PSNI have a duty to ensure children are protected. There are grounds for concern in this case – they should be investigated. The PSNI have said nothing on record (other than what the RC church claim that they have said).

      The children matter.

    2. Why are you suggesting that this priest should be investigated for potentially abusing children? There is no suggestion that he did any such thing. It looks to me that you – along with catholic church – equates being gay, or looking at gay pornography, with paedophilia. That’s disgusting.

      It seems to me that the main things that this guy is guilty of are technical incompetence and being a catholic priest. Unfortunately, neither of these are criminal offences.

      1. @cw

        Where have I suggesting he should be investigated for abusing children? You are finding meanings in my comments that are not there.

        I am suggesting that showing 16 images of porn (whether gay or straight, soft or hard core) to between 1 and 4 eight year olds, irrespective of the presence of other adults, is inappropriate and amounts to concern.

        That is what needs investigating.

        I am aware that otehr similar investigations have led to more sinister concerns in other cases, and this heightens my sense of urgency that this matter is checked out.

        No where have I suggested the priest is involved in the abuse of children. All I have said is his alleged actions are highly inappropriate and for child safety reasons need investigation.

        Do you disagree that children need protection?

        1. > Where have I suggesting he should be
          > investigated for abusing children? You
          > are finding meanings in my comments
          > that are not there.

          From you earlier message:

          “I am not saying Fr MacVeigh has abused children … That needs to be investigated”.

          1. I notice you have deliberately edited my comment.

            The entire comment was:

            “Now, I am not saying Fr MacVeigh has abused children or that he deliberately showed porn. That needs to be investigated.”

            The abuse comment needs to be taken in context of what was said prior. The investigation into whether he showed porn deliberately or not needs to occur.

            I contend you had to edit my comment to make it fit the way you wish to twist my words and sentiment.

          2. Im with cw on this, there was a veiled suggestion in the last paragraph

          3. Mo

            I am afraid you are finding motives in my comments that are not there.

  4. Ian Bower 2 Apr 2012, 2:47pm

    Isn’t this absolutely an everyday occurrence with RC priests? ;)

    1. Paul O'Neill 2 Apr 2012, 5:51pm

      No it certainly is not. And bigotry comes in many forms Ian.

      1. Absolutely, Paul

        Whilst there has been many cases of problems with the RC church worldwide – that does not mean all RC priests, or the majority (or Fr MacVeigh) are abusers.

        There have also been many cases of other professions and organisations which have had a number of cases of abuse.

        Each case must be tested on its own merits.

  5. Well said :)

  6. Totally agree with the article. We’ve all seen this scene in many a film, where the adult suddenly finds porn has been inserted into their slideshow. What some fail to note here is that whilst children were present there were also a number of adults watching events unfold. This doesn’t sound like the actions of a deranged child groomer does it?

    I think we need to stop projecting our own feelings and prejudices onto this story. An innocent man could have his life ruined by these accusations being insinuated. Yes the police should investigate, but if they already have done and decided there’s no case to answer we should be willing to accept that.

    1. So, just because it might be a mistake or the priest being set up … then the children;s safety don’t matter, and there shouldnt be an investigation – is that really what you are saying David?

      Child protection seems totally unimportant to you.

      Fr McVeigh if he values child safety will not be afraid of a probe into what happened in this incident.

      1. Twenty-six adults were in that room. One child was present. If the ratio was reversed my feelings would be different, but this does not scream child groomer to me in the slightest. The PSNI obviously agree with that assessment.

        1. We only have the RC churches comment that this is what the PSNI have said, and they have a vested interest in this matter. We do not know what the PSNI think.

          Every Child Matters – whether one or more. Most child groomers target specific individuals (although I am not saying this is the case in this instance).

          I do not think displaying pornographic images to any number of eight years olds is appropriate.

          1. Of course it’s not appropriate Stu, but where we disagree is that you appear to be suggesting that this man may have deliberately embarrassed himself in front of dozens of adults in order to gain better access to one child supposedly present in the room for nefarious purposes. I believe that to be a ludicrous assessment of the event. The PSNI have not pursued this, which to me suggests that the presence of the child may itself be an embellishment by someone for whom gay men and paedophiles are the same thing.

            The truth is that the PSNI officers know a lot more about this than we do, and unless the Catholic Church spokesman is lying to such an extent he will be very quickly caught out the PSNI is not pursuing the matter. That to me says there is nothing here to investigate in that regard, because there is no way now that the police would join in any coverup related to child abuse in a church. The slightest sniff of suspicion and they’d be all over it.

          2. @David

            I am not suggesting anything of the sort.

            I have no idea where you seem to think I am suggesting that this was part of some plan to gain access to a child or children. I have not made such a suggestion nor have I had such a thought.

            That would be a ludicrous assessment of the event. I find it ludicrous also that you suggest I was implying this.

            I am saying showing numerous porn images is wrong and needs investigating. I suspect this was not deliberate (although I am concerned at the number of images reported to have been shown as that seems odd – and if I had been an invesitgating officer I would have wanted some explanation about the number of images and nature of each image).

            In the cases I am aware of where abuse has been discovered following porn being shown to children, the showing of the porn was apparently inadvertent (only one case was it suspected of being deliberate). The fact there have been some cases demonstrates to me that we need to be careful where…

          3. … someone (whether inadvertently or deliberately) shows porn to children, to make sure a risk assessment is carried out and determine whether any offenses about the showing of the porn (or other offenses) are disclosed.

            I am not suggesting the priest did this deliberately. I am not suggesting he has abused children or that he intends to.

            I wouldnt be surprised in the lack of comment from a police service if they are investigating a sensitive matter of child welfare. This may be why we have not heard directly from PSNI. I remain concerned at one Irish media outlet stating a PSNI comment that they have not received any complaints in this matter.

            I am sure it will all become known in a reasonable amount of time. Either the priest will be exonerated or the RC church will be embarrassed by their public comments about the PSNI.

            That does not mean that my contention that the PSNI have a duty to investigate thoroughly is wrong.

          4. So if what you post is true and not one complaint has been submitted what does that tell you? Do you think the adults present are deliberately covering up for the priest, even though the embarrassing details of the story appear to have leaked to the press via the same group of people?

            Also you are indirectly suggesting the ludicrous scenario with your conviction that an investigation must be carried out, and with statements such as Every Child Matters. 26 other adults in that room, better yet, 26 parents in that room don’t seem to believe this is a major issue. The people that were actually witness to the event. Are you suggesting they are complicit or that you know better than they do what transpired? I don’t get it.

          5. @David

            If the reports are true, all it tells me is that no complaints have been made. That might be for many reasons, and in no way does the absence of complaints suggest any cover up – not have I suggested such.

            However, this is a matter where an adult in a position of trust is alleged to have behaved inappropriately towards either a young child or young children by showing them porn. That matter needs to be tested. The reports are that no complaint has been made. As it is a potential (no more, no less) matter of concern regarding child safety then PSNI and childrens services have a responsibility to act and establish whether there are any concerns. Child protection matters do not need complaints in order for the police/childrens services to act.

            There appear to be comments from plenty of parents in the media that seem to suggest this matter is serious and worrying. Including one who stated they were shocked and horrified at what had happened.

            A new report …

          6. … that I have just seen quotes the PSNI as stating that Father MacVeigh is currently under active investigation due to concerns that have been raised directly with the PSNI and that he is fully co-operating.

            Clearly, the investigation that needs to take place, is taking place and is not concluded.

      2. Stu you seem to be trying to force a circular argument.

        We don’t actually know if there was a child in the room, the only source being a few of the papers covering the story. Either way. The police have investigated it and found that neither the crudity of the pictures nor the audience involved met the threshold of a criminal offence being committed.

        Yet you think a full investigation should be made into whether the man had alterier motives constantly saying “think of the children!” and “then the children’s safety don’t matter?”. Have you just copied those straight out of the Coalition for Marriage site or the Christian Institute? It’s obvious from the man’s reaction that it wasn’t intentional and most of the men in that room probably have their own little collection hidden away on a locked PC folder. Why do you think there is a danger? Because he’s a Priest? Because he’s a man? Because the porn was gay and not straight?

        1. Paul

          We only have the RC churches word that the police have said this is not a criminal matter and have investigated it. The PSNI have not commented.

          I have yet to find a news outlet that has covered the story that does not put at least one eight year old in the room. Some say there were four or more present.

          I have not said that the man has ulterior motives. I have been very careful to point out that he may be innocent (and thus would himself benefit from an investigation exonerating him).

          Please do not lower yourself to try and link my concerns to the putrid organisations that are the Anti Gay Institute or C4M.

          My concerns are that a child or children have been exposed to porn (numerous images – whose level of severity I have no means of knowing). Only the RC church (who have vested interests in this matter) have stated the PSNI have found no crime. The PSNI have not made such a comment. The showing of the images is wrong and could amount to outraging public …

          1. … decency. I do not accept the RC churches word that the PSNI have said this is not a crime, particularly as the PSNI have not made any comment to the media.

            So is the fact the porn was gay an issue here – only in that is a factual issue, not in causing any different concern to straight porn. Personally, myself and my boyfriend enjoy a great number of porn films in the comfort of our homes.

            Is the fact he is a priest relevant, only in the sense that it means he is deemed (in law) to be a trusted person and thus can commit criminal offences of beach of trust and that the church itself has a vested interest that means its comments about other agencies should have independent verification.

            Is him being a man relevant … only in the fact that he is male – not specifically to my concerns.

            Eight year old children should not be shown multiple pornographic images (whether gay or straight, soft core or extreme).

            The RC church should not make comments on behalf of the police.

          2. For some reason I can’t post my reply to the concluding part of your comment:

            Granted, my references to C4M and CI and were antagonistic. However, your constant replies to almost every single comment on this page and that of the original article, referring to the children, were starting to grate.

            My understanding as to the facts of the progress by the authorities on this issue had become slightly unclear. I fully agree that no one should take the RC’s word on what has happened, I am very sceptical when it comes to their integrity on these kinds of issues.

            I agree that PSNI should investigate the incident and ascertain if the images were graphic enough for an offence to be committed, both because it was viewed by non-consenting adults but more importantly a child/children.

            However, I see no reason why that isn’t being done, especially because this is the PSNI and not the Garda …

          3. … Yes, children may have been exposed to graphic sexual images which may have serious ramifications on their well being. But what concerns me just as much is the parents who are they are outraged he is still conducting mass at the school and in charge of their children’s pastoral care. Is this because they have valid reasons for believing he shouldn’t be entrusted with their children or because they are equating gay porn with paedophilia?. And yes, I did not think your issue was that the porn was gay, that was antagonistic too.

            The children’s welfare must come first, but I am concerned that the suspicions that propelling this investigation and any suspension is based on the wrong reasons – i.e. not that it was porn but gay porn. Moreover, the only reason why it would constitute such a thorough investigation is because there is a chance that there are children at risk, but a very small chance…

          4. …I am just as disgusted (although wholly unsurprised) by the RC Church’s complicity in child abuse. But if the Priest genuinely never intended to show these images then he is already a victim. Erroneous assumptions will already be being made by the community around him and further afield. I do not see how constantly commenting about concern for children who we do not know have actually been exposed to any harm until the investigation is completed, actually helps to maintain objectivity of the situation.

          5. @Paul

            We seem to come to some middle ground!

            Thank you for your admissions you were being antagonistic. Thank you for accepting that my concerns in this matter are not about whether the porn is gay or straight etc.

            My reasons for mentioning the children repeatedly – is because that is where my concern lies (although I accept that others have appeared to use their concern for children as a disguise for concern about some spurious and false view that gay porn somehow equate to paedophilia – it does not). My concern is a) the porn may have an impact on the child/children (I don’t know the nature of the porn other than it was gay, and I suspect nor do you) and b) there have been cases where porn was shown to children, perhaps inadvertently, where other concerns have been encountered by police/childrens services when investigating and its important not to discount these until there has been a proper review of the facts.

            PSNI have now said that the priest is subject to an ongoing …

          6. … investigation aiming to establish if a crime or any other matters of concern are disclosed and that Fr MacVeigh is co-operating fully.

            I also am skeptical about the RC’s word on issues like this, prior behaviour is often a good predictor of future behaviour (although not always) and the RC church behaviour to child welfare concerns in the past has been far from appropriate. They may be being honest in this case – although the PSNI statement has a different emphasis to that which the RC church alluded to yesterday.

            On one level I can empathise with the parents who do not want him taking pastoral responsibility etc currently – only on the basis that a teacher or clinician doing similar things would be suspended as a neutral act. This has not happened. That said, there is reason to be concerned there is some level of lynch mob mentality about some of the parental reaction (however, emotionally understandable this is). I would hope they would now trust the PSNI to act fairly.

          7. … I agree that there will have been some damage to the priests reputation in this matter. If he has acted inappropriately (which hopefully the investigation will identify if this is the case or not) then whether such acts were made in error or were malicious then some of that damage is caused by Fr MacVeigh himself. Some can be repaired if he is exonerated in any way by the investigation and by the RC church working in the school and community to address fears. I accept not all can be restored, but child safety is a priority – and there is a risk here (you accept that), even if it appears a small risk from the information know at this stage.

  7. Spanner1960 2 Apr 2012, 3:17pm

    Well, as the old adage goes:
    95% of men masturbate, the other 5% are liars.”

    It’s a simple fact of life that as soon as teenage boys figure it out they will probably keep doing it till the day they die. Trying to pretend it doesn’t happen, or denigrating somebody, (even a priest), that they do is simply total hypocrisy.

  8. I too await the results of the investigation into the matter involving Father McVeigh. He may in fact be as entirely innocent as this poor clergyman:

    http://unicornbooty.com/blog/2012/03/29/wait-until-you-hear-how-this-priest-got-a-potato-stuck-in-his-butt/

    1. He might be innocent, and I hope that he is – and that he is fully and publically exonerated.

      He might not, and it is in the interested of the childrens safety that this is established. I am sure Fr McVeigh if he values childrens safety would expect and anticipate nothing less.

      1. Spanner1960 2 Apr 2012, 5:16pm

        I think the point must be made though is that porn is porn, and if explicit imagery is shown to minors it should be investigated. The fact that is gay porn is totally irrelevant.

        1. Absolutely. Porn should not be shown to minors. It does not matter what kind of porn it is, how many children are shown it etc etc.
          This case (if the allegations are true) is aggravated by the fact a priest is a person who the law regards as being a person of trust, ie children and parents put their trust in priests, teachers, clinicians etc.

    2. Hilarious, Dana.. !! :D

  9. Jane

    Do you disagree that allegations of showing a series of pronographic images to eight year old(s) in a public setting by a person holding a position of trust in the community should be investigated thoroughly in order to ensure those children are properly protected in the future?

    If you do not think such an investigation should take place, why not?

  10. chris lowcase 2 Apr 2012, 5:03pm

    well said! though the ipression i get from a lot of comments (not just on here) is that it wasnt the fact that it was gay porn, just porn. and its understandable when you look at some of the kids ages. that said, its just a mistake. he was clearly devasted for a number of reasons. hes not a sex offender.

    could this not be a prank? it seems just too perfect. if i was an internet porn enthusiast, i would probably keep my porn on a seperate pen drive to my presentations. i would also make sure there was no way of confusing the two. and i would label the offensive drive ‘GAY PORN! DONT TAKE TO SCHOOL!’

    1. If he suspects it is a prank, he should make a complaint to the police.

      1. chris lowcase 2 Apr 2012, 10:23pm

        maybe safer in the hands of the teachers and parents. but unless somebody confirms its a prank (beyond my off the cuff speculation) i think its unlikely because nothing i’ve read even hints to it.

  11. Jason Feather 2 Apr 2012, 5:25pm

    Of course children should not be subjected to pornography but the damage is more often caused by the reactions of adults than children themselves. In places where porn is restricted or banned (particularly very religious societys who have a very toxic relationship with sex) there’s an increase in rape & sexually related violence. I’d be much more disturbed by the number of children subjected to images of violence which seems to be more acceptable while porn is presumed to ‘damage’ children in some way never explained. Also the story resonates with a lot of people because of the hypocrisy of views about gay sex inherent in the catholic church

    1. I agree with your wider comments.

      I still think this matter needs an impartial investigation by the PSNI – and not just reassurances from the RC church that they have consulted the PSNI.

  12. Jane Fae wrote: “Fr Martin McVeigh, the priest whose (shared) data stick appears to have been host to material not entirely approved by Catholic dogma.”

    What strange mental gymnastics are you doing, Jane, with your “not entirely approved by Catholic dogma”?

    Not entirely?

    You have to be joking.

    Jane, YOU are an “intrinsically disordered” person in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

    Shame on you for having anything whatsoever to do with such an institution.

    Religion is a delusion. Ditch your delusion.

    But if you must maintain your religious delusion, then do at least ditch the delusion that the church only “not entirely” disapproves of your sexual inclinations and activities.

    Wake up, girl!

    1. chris lowcase 3 Apr 2012, 1:25am

      dont be such a hateful bigot. you could of quite easily made that point without being so rude. many gay people believe in god, many of them catholic. you cannot speak for all those people. you will never understand the logic in which people associate their faith with their sexuality. im an athiest, and i know a great deal about the problems that have come from religion. but jane cant be held responsible for any of that. its true that jane is a writer, but i dont think she had a hand in writing the bible, or any of the scriptures that the faith is based on. and on that note jane also has no say in how the catholic church is run, or how they should veiw said scriptures.

  13. As reported in the Sligo News in the past half hour:

    “The Police Service of Northern Ireland said McVeigh remains under investigation and is said to be cooperating fully. The PSNI are investigating whether any criminal events have occurred and whether there are any other reasons to be concerned. As the matter is under active investigation then it would be inappropriate to speculate further at this time.”

    This indicates to me that the PSNI feel there is sufficient grounds to investigate thoroughly and determine whether or not a crime has been committed.

    I hope that it turns out to be a horrific and embarrassing incident for Fr MacVeigh and that he is exonerated on doing nothing more than making a stupid mistake. I hope that is all it is. We need this investigation to ensure that though.

  14. You seem to be jumping to the conclusion that we are all jumping to the conclusion in a certain way. i.e. we are having a laugh and then condemning the priest in question.

    Well you are wrong and this says alot about how your won mind is reacting to the situation.

    My first thought regarding this story was that someone had put the porn on the stick as a joke. A bored alter-boy or Sunday school pupil for example.

    My second thought was if the porn belonged to the priest, then i wondered what taste in porn he had because as we know not all gay porn is equal.

    I note with bemused degree of minor alarm that the child protection services were asked to make an enquiry but presumably that relates to the fact that children in the service viewed the imagery both in front of their (religious) parents and in a church and where both ‘institutions’ have don’t discuss such matters with minors.

    I don’t think it’s about being a crime and if it’s about sin well that’s something else.

    1. Perhaps my mind is coloured from my time working in child protection.

      I would be alarmed if child protection services were not alerted due to instances such as this.

      I am reassured that PSNI are investigating and seeking to determine IF any crime occurred and IF there is any concern about child safety. Thats the right thing to do.

      1. Ah, your seemingly considerable – and in my view disproportionate – concern with the arrangements for a full investigation become more comprehensible with the revelation of your having spent time working in Child Protection.

        1. Its no revelation. Something I have mentioned many times previously on PN.

          I am sure that some enquiries were not iundertaken by child protection in cases like that of Victoria Climbie and Baby P were not undertaken because they were seen as “disproportionate”.

          Father McVeigh has nothing to fear if he has done nothing wrong. Children have everything to fear if protection agencies fail to act to protect them or ensure their safety.

          PSNI are now acting, thats what matters.

  15. Frankly, if its Northern Ireland that’s why the reaction was “horrified”. Its a place of very traditional attitudes in general and positively medieval attitudes to sex and sexual expression. Whatever the relevant authorities may officialy say, take it from someone who’s lived in Northern Ireland for ten years that what’s “horrified” the people here is that a PRIEST could have any kind of sexuality at all and not be wholly dedicated to God. This is a country where sex before marriage isnt acknowledged and kids in Catholic schols arent given any kind of sex education. While its not ideal for wee kids to be seeing porn what the parents will have found most shocking is the prospect of having to reveal the existence of a) alternative sexualities because homophobia is rife and accepted in the country and b) sex for a reason other than to make babies which is still regarded as pretty shameful by the majority of people over 40 and a significant chunk of younger people too!

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