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Smyth was 'child killer' - victim

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 6th June, 2012 3:30pm

Smyth was 'child killer' - victim

Helen McGonigle in 1968.

A woman sexually abused by Fr Brendan Smyth believes that the paedophile priest killed a child in America in the 1960s.

The notorious Norbertine priest abused Helen McGonigle in the town of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, starting when she was six years-old, in late 1967.

Smyth had been assigned to the local parish, Our Lady of Mercy, in the Diocese of Providence, in 1965. A chilling warning made by Smyth after abusing Helen - that she would "end up like the body in the woods" - made her link the paedophile to the discovery of the remains of a child in woodland near her school.

That discovery, however, Helen says, took place after Smyth's threat.

Helen, who is now a US attorney, was so convinced that he was responsible for the death that she notified the Police at East Greenwich in Rhode Island in March 2007.

Police confirmed to The Anglo-Celt they had taken a statement from Helen but added that no investigation was launched into the events of 1967 or 1968 due to the amount of time that had since passed, the death of Smyth, the time-frame quoted in her statement and that their older records were not digitally stored. At the time of going to print, police in Rhode Island were unable to confirm or deny any bodies found in the woods in 1968, due to the time passed.

In this week's Celt newspaper Helen talks of:

* why she believes Smyth is a child killer;

* the tragic impact Smyth's abuse had on her and her family;

* why she rejects the apology from the former abbot of Kilnacrott

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