Priest found not guilty of abuse; reflects on “the darkest two years” of his life

David Pierre, Jr., of writes about a priest in Ireland who was recently found not guilty of an alleged act of child abuse:

Very few priests speak publicly about their horrifying ordeals of being falsely accused of child sex abuse, but Rev. Eugene Boland is doing so after a jury in Derry, Ireland, unanimously found him not guilty in June of the flimsy claim that he had somehow “inappropriately touched” a girl over two decades earlier.

The verdict brought an end to what the priest now calls “the darkest two years of my life.”

From “a priest’s worst nightmare” to victory

On March 31, 2010, Fr. Boland received the phone call that every priest fears. His bishop was on the line, and he told him to contact the diocese’s child safeguarding leader the next day.

“That was a bleak day,” Boland told the Irish Independent. “It just came out of the blue … I was shell-shocked. I’m sitting in my home on my own. I didn’t know what the allegation was, or who was making it.”

“I didn’t sleep that night,” says the priest.

The popular priest was eventually ripped from the ministry he so loved and forced to withstand screaming front-page headlines about his case, aggressive police tactics, and a high-profile criminal trial.

Throughout the ordeal, however, Boland felt a sense of “relief” over the fact that he knew he was innocent and there would be an opportunity to publicly make his case.

When the jury returned the unanimous “not guilty” verdicts, the priest could not have been more ecstatic. “I could have skipped down the street outside the courthouse. There was an overwhelming feeling of relief – that I had been heard and I had been vindicated.

Read the entire piece. Pierre, who contributes a regular column to CWR, has written for several years about falsely accused priests and the “guilty until proven innocent” approach taken by some in the media and justice system toward priests. See the January 2012 Catholic World Report interview, “The Truth About Falsely Accused Priests”, for more information.

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About Carl E. Olson 1207 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.