Actions speak louder than words, says abuse victim ahead of Pope visit

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A man abused for eight years by a notorious paedophile priest has said the Pope’s actions will speak louder than his words during his visit to Ireland.

Sean Faloon, 39, from Hilltown in Co Down, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and flashbacks of attacks by Malachy Finnegan, who died in 2002.

He was first targeted as an altar boy aged 10 in 1989.

He said: “Actions speak louder than words.”

He added: “It will not only protect the children of the future and the present in the Catholic Church, it will also help Catholicism and Christianity as a whole also.

“But the longer they delay putting things into action, the longer this is going to go on, the longer we will make noise and the more people will lose trust in the Catholic Church.”

He said Finnegan groomed him initially, then that progressed into full sexual contact.

It continued on average once a week for many years.

“I realised it was wrong, what we were doing, about 13 years old, but I felt trapped, I felt I could not get out of it, I felt I would be in trouble.

“He said it would ruin me if anyone found out and I was getting the same impression as well because I believed him.”

As he was getting older he realised he needed to speak out and stand up for other children who were abused.

He said he would have depression and PTSD until the day he died.

He said: “Feeling his left hand on my left shoulder, sitting very close to my right leg, I can smell his breath, stubble rash.

“I can feel that, I can feel the movement in his car, when he abused me in his car, I can remember sitting on his sofa, I can remember how the sofa felt on my hands, there are all sorts of things
that go through my mind every day.”

He lives near Perth in Scotland, having left home aged 19 and said returning to Northern Ireland produced bad memories and intense headaches.

“I am away from it because I cannot cope with it, it is healthier for me to stay in Scotland, however my heart is here in Ireland,” he said.

“I want to move back, hopefully that will happen some time in the future, however I cannot see it happening any time soon.”

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