Deliver Us from Evil

FATHER DOES WORST O'Grady walks freely in Ireland.
FATHER DOES WORST O’Grady walks freely in Ireland.

Time Out says

Soft-spoken, elderly Father Oliver O’Grady conjures memories of Mister Rogers. But the former Catholic priest is hardly a friend to children. Starting in 1973 and continuing for the next two decades, he raped and sodomized hundreds of boys and girls across California, before being convicted and sent to prison. Nowadays, he lives as a free man in his native Ireland, where filmmaker Amy Berg (who has produced several TV news stories on priestly pedophilia) tracked him down for a fascinatingly candid talk about his sordid past.

Is O’Grady remorseful? Kind of, but his inability to comprehend the anguish that he sowed is maddening. The pain is evident in tearjerking interviews with some of his grown victims and their families. In one devastating scene, a man angrily confesses that the experience has left him so shattered that he no longer believes in God. Berg also interviews lawyers, psychologists and religious experts, who argue that O’Grady’s case is typical: Denied the opportunity for normal sexual development, many priests turn into abusers. And when their misdeeds became known, church officials often fail to take adequate action; O’Grady was simply transferred from parish to parish. Driving the dysfunction home is damning courtroom footage of O’Grady’s superiors nervously trying to explain why they allowed him to continue his hideous ways for so long. (Opens Fri; Angelika.) — Les Simpson



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