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Book Release: Altar Boy

A book by Andrew Madden

'Although I still carry many of the effects of child abuse I no longer consider myself a victim. I've done something about it. I've turned it around.'

Becoming an altar boy was Andrew Madden's first step toward realising his dream of becoming a priest. It was brilliant – getting to go behind the scenes in a busy parish church, helping on the altar in front of everyone – and he couldn’t wait to be grown up and saying Mass himself. But the day Andrew was molested by his favourite priest, Father Ivan Payne, his love of the Catholic Church was poisoned. Father’s Payne’s abuse lasted for three years, until Andrew was fifteen. But its impact went on and on. Andrew lost direction. He lost self-belief. He lost the capacity to have loving sex. And he lost himself in drink.

In the early '90s Andrew reached a financial settlement with Father Payne. He would go on to become the first Irish victim of sexual abuse by a priest to go public with his story. Altar Boy is the story behind that story.

Altar Boy is a candid, and sometimes searing, account of how abuse can affect a life. It is an articulate, challenging and often damning assessment of the behaviour of the Irish Catholic Church. And it is a story of hope: Andrew Madden’s calm and humane consideration of his own life - and Father Payne’s - shows that victims don’t have to remain victims.

Buy the book online from Penguin Ireland

Related Link

Andrew's interview with The Sunday Times


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Run for and by people who have experienced sexual abuse.