A former North Coast priest who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing children in his native Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s has been released from an Irish jail.
Patrick Joseph McCabe, 77, was freed over the weekend by a Dublin judge based on his age, statements of contrition and the fact that he had already served 21 months of a two-year sentence.
Men who claimed they were molested by McCabe when he served at St. Bernard Parish in Eureka from 1983 to 1985 said Tuesday they were disappointed he didn't receive a more serious punishment.
Greg Horne, 40, of McKinleyville, said the judge missed a chance to send a strong message that church abuse won't be tolerated.
"He should never be a free man, ever," Horne said. "I don't get anything. There's nothing for me. You can't put Humpty Dumpty back together again."
Horne and three other North Coast men who claimed they were abused by McCabe sued the Irish order and the Santa Rosa diocese, contending that officials knowingly placed a pedophile in their midst.
Three of the men settled their lawsuits last year for $550,000. The Archdiocese of Dublin paid $400,000 and the Santa Rosa diocese paid $150,000.
Horne refused to make a deal and his case is pending. He's been hampered by a state Supreme Court ruling on how long a person can wait to sue after being molested.
He said he was worried that other people could be abused by McCabe despite his age.
"I know he'll do it again," Horne said. "It's on the shoulders of the Irish courts."