Saturday 29 July 2017

Former priest convicted of raping child in his parish

Stock picture
Stock picture

Conor Gallagher

A former priest has been convicted of raping a child in his parish ten years ago.

The 63-year-old is already serving a lengthy sentence for sexually abusing a different child six years ago.

On Thursday, a Central Criminal Court jury convicted him of six counts of oral rape, defilement and sexual assault in his home between 2005 and 2006. The victim was aged between 10 and eleven at the time. The man had denied the charges.

The trial heard the priest befriended the boy before starting to invade his personal space and make sexual comments.

This progressed to several incidents of sexual abuse. At one stage the priest told the child to go home and “Google gay porn.” The boy's father noticed this in the family computer's internet search history and confronted the child.

He told his father he looked it up because he was “curious.”

During the abuse the priest told the child it was a natural thing. The victim told prosecuting counsel Conor Devally SC that he believed him because “he’s a priest, everybody loved him, everybody trusted him 100 percent.”

He victim said the priest “started getting dirty” when he showed him around his house. He began sexually assaulting the child. He drove him home afterwards.

A similar incident happened some time later when the priest directed the boy to perform sex acts. He said the priest told him “anything we do is private.”

“I think I blocked out a lot of incidents,” the victim said. “It actually torments me more in my mind but maybe its good that I don’t remember some of them.”

He said he stopped going to the priest's house after sixth class and didn't have much to do with him after that. He disclosed the abuse to his GP in 2013.

Asked why he didn't say anything sooner, the victim said it was private and confidential and “I didn’t want anyone to think of me as the boy who was abused.”

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy remanded the accused in continuing custody until March 27 when a victim impact statement will be available to the court.

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