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Colm O'Gorman : biography

01 July 1966 -

Colm O'Gorman (born 1 July 1966) is an Irishman from County Wexford, founder of One in Four, former senator, and current executive director of Amnesty International in Ireland. He is a survivor of clerical sexual abuse, and first came to public attention by speaking out against the perpetrators.

O'Gorman subsequently founded One in Four, an Irish charity which supports men and women who have been sexually abused and/or suffered sexual violence. He is also a former director of that organisation.

O'Gorman was a Senator in 2007, representing the Progressive Democrats, a centre-right Irish political party. He is currently executive director of Amnesty International in Ireland.

Child sexual abuse and the Roman Catholic Church

As an adolescent in County Wexford — between the age of 15 and 18 — O'Gorman was sexually abused by Friar Seán Fortune. The abuse occurred between 1981 and 1983. He became the first of Fortune's many victims to come forward and report the assaults to the Irish police. In 1998, he sued the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ferns and the Dublin Papal Nuncio, who later claimed diplomatic immunity. His case against the Catholic Diocese of Ferns was settled in 2003 with an admission of negligence and the payment of damages — in April 2003, O'Gorman was awarded €300,000 damages. O'Gorman documented his lawsuit in the BBC documentary Suing the Pope.

He successfully campaigned to set up the Ferns Inquiry, the first Irish state inquiry into clerical sexual abuse. He founded the charity One in Four in London in 1999 and established its sister organisation in Ireland in 2002. He is a well-known figure in Irish media as an advocate of child sexual abuse victims and a commentator and campaigner on sexual violence. He was named one of the ESB/Rehab People of the Year and received a TV3/Daily Star "Best of Irish" award in 2002, one of the Sunday Independent/Irish Nationwide People of the Year in 2003 and in the same year he was also awarded the James Larkin Justice Award by the Labour Party for his contribution to social justice in Ireland.

In 2006 O'Gorman filmed Sex Crimes and the Vatican for the BBC Panorama documentary series, which claimed that the Vatican has used Crimen sollicitationis secret document to silence allegations of sexual abuse by priests and also claimed Crimen sollicitationis was enforced for 20 years by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became pope Benedict XVI.

Early and private life

Colm O'Gorman was born in County Wexford. His father was Seán O’Gorman, of Adamstown, County Wexford – a farmer, builder and local Fianna Fáil politician. Seán O’Gorman was a member of Wexford County Council, and later moved with his family to live in Wexford town. He twice stood unsuccessfully as a Fianna Fáil candidate in general elections: in 1969 and 1973.

In 2002, Colm O'Gorman settled near Gorey, Co. Wexford. He is raising two children with his husband, of whom they have joint legal guardianship. When this was revealed it generated debate on fosterships in the Irish media.

Political career

In April 2006, he announced that he would stand for the Progressive Democrats, a market liberal political party, in the 2007 general election in his native county of Wexford. On 3 May 2007, he was appointed to the Senate by the Taoiseach to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Senator Kate Walsh.

He was not elected in the 2007 general election in Wexford polling three percent of the vote, losing his deposit.

He was not re-appointed to the 23rd Seanad in July 2007.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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