21 May 2006

Paisley criticised over refusal to meet father

Sunday Life

By Stephen Breen
21 May 2006

Ian Paisley was last night criticised for refusing to meet the father of a young girl sexually abused by a senior member of the Free Presbyterian Church in Canada.

'John' (not his real name), a former church deacon, travelled from Toronto last week in a bid to confront Dr Paisley over why the offender was not kicked out of the church.

But the Free P church in Belfast defended the decision not to meet the man, saying the matter was out of its "jurisdiction".

Spokesman the Rev David McIlveen said: "We have said all along that this is a matter for the presbytery in North America. Dr Paisley meets people from all over the world and after considering the content of this request decided not to accede to it.

"I imagine it was hard for him to comment on the situation because he doesn't know anything about it."

But the father was angry he did not get the chance to meet the DUP leader.

His daughter - now in her 20s and living in Co Armagh - was 13 when she was abused by Free P Sunday school teacher Jeffrey Kruger in Toronto.

Kruger pleaded guilty to sexual interference and received a year's house arrest and probation in 2003.

'John' said: "I'm very disappointed, the only thing I wanted was a few minutes of Dr Paisley's time to tell him about my daughter's case and the impact it has had on our family.

"The incident may have happened in Canada but Dr Paisley is leader of the church, this is an issue which is of relevance to him."

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