Helen McGonigle with her brother Gerard and has described the apology to the victims of Brendan Smyth as an insult.
An American abuse survivor has criticised the apology of Fr Brendan Smyth's former abbot, which The Anglo-Celt printed last week, and has launched her search for answers.
Attorney Helen McGonigle, who features in our lead story this week, has sent a fax addressed to the former abbot, Fr Kevin A Smith, at Holy Trinity Abbey, Kilnacrott, Ballyjamesduff, requesting the abbey "provide[s] me with a copy of the entire file at the abbey on Fr Brendan Smyth".
The fax, which has an accompanying letter, is dated May 31, two days after Fr Smith released a statement apologising to victims of the paedophile Brendan Smyth. Smyth started abusing McGonigle in 1967, in Rhode Island, when she was six before Kevin Smith became abbot.
"Having had some time in prayer and reflection in Medjugorje on the past when I was Abbot and Superior of Holy Trinity Abbey, Kilnacrott, Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, I wish to acknowledge and apologise to all those who were abused in any way, their family, friends and fellow priests for mistakes which happened within the Church and various Institutions from August 1969 - March 1995, when I retired," said the abbot's statement.
"I thank the present Prior and Superior for the counselling help being made available through "Towards Healing" (freephone 1800 303 416)
"However, I believe that the real permanent healing comes from inviting Jesus Christ, The greatest Healer of all, into our lives and handing over to him all our hurts.
There has been a call for a criminal investigation and or international enquiry - I promise that I would be open to and give all information to either or both of those bodies. The Truth will set us all free.
"I trust that each one of the abused and indeed the abusers will accept this apology with the goodwill and sincerity with which it is offered. I shall remember you all daily in my Holy Masses and prayers," he said.
The former abbot was rounded on by abuse survivor groups, who said his words could do "more harm than good".
One in Four said while it acknowledged the apology of the former abbot to Smyth's victims, his statement could do more damage than good: "We believe the form the apology takes is likely to cause further anguish to survivors."
"Abbot Smith's refusal to act contributed to the sexual abuse of children. The tone of his apology indicates that he has no understanding of the immense suffering his failure caused and continues to cause to the survivors of Brendan Smyth's abuse," claimed executive director Maeve Lewis.
The Alliance Victim Support Group secretary Tom Hayes alleged that Fr Smith simply "does not get it".
"All this is very good for the Abbot's soul, but for those who were abused by Smyth, they have long since left these beliefs behind them and so cannot be comforted," he said.
Helen told the Celt this week: "I was quite upset by it. Abbot Kevin Smith was his superior so he was aware that Smyth was a child-molestor."
She added: "For him to now apologise with this latest round of controversy over Cardinal Brady I find positively insulting... He knew he [Smyth] was a child molester... He just doesn't seem to get it."
In her fax to Fr Smith she says: "Your statement indicates that 'The Truth' will set us free' and only by sharing Fr Smyth's records can we get to the truth, so that closure, healing and the appropriate restitution can come about for the many victims of Fr Brendan Smyth. By concealing the truth the trail of devastation left behind by Fr Brendan Smyth will keep resurrecting over and over, causing greater and greater public outrage, as has already been proven to be the case."
In it, she concludes: "I anticipate your co-operation and look forward to receiving a copy of Fr Brendan Smyth's entire file. I also hope you are a man of your word and that you truly will fully co-operate in any criminal investigation or public inquiry."