Notorious paedophile priest left laptop with 280,000 child-porn images on plane
A NOTORIOUS paedophile priest was caught in possession of child pornography after accidentally leaving a laptop on a plane.
Oliver O'Grady (66) had thousands of explicit images of children stored on computers and USB drives, some depicting victims as young as two.
He was jailed yesterday for three years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
The images were discovered after O'Grady left his laptop on an Aer Lingus flight. A staff member examined the computer and alerted gardai after coming across the files.
Gardai found more than six hours of child pornography videos and over 500 pages of online discussions on the subject of child pornography.
The defrocked priest was the subject of the documentary 'Deliver Us From Evil' during which he admitted abusing dozens of children. The film by Amy Berg opened in New York, Los Angeles and Boston to critical acclaim in 2006 and was nominated for an Oscar.
Interviewed during the film, the former priest showed no remorse for abusing 25 children when he was a parish priest in California.
O'Grady, formerly of Charlemont House in Dublin 2, was sentenced to 14 years in the US in 1993 for abusing children. He was deported back to Ireland in 2001 after serving seven years of his sentence and lived in Dundalk for some months before fleeing the town when his home was vandalised.
He was back before the courts again yesterday after he accidentally mislaid his laptop, leading the garda Paedophile Investigations Unit to uncover a litany of child porn images and sickening messages.
O'Grady pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three counts of possessing child pornography at Dublin Airport on February 15, 2010, and at Citi Hostel on Charlemont Street and at an Elephant Storage Unit in Tallaght on December 10, 2010.
Judge Martin Nolan commented that "if people didn't download child pornography there is a good chance that those children would not be abused in the first place".
He took into account the early guilty plea and limited co-operation with gardai before jailing him for three years.
Detective Garda Gerard Keane of the Paedophile Investigations Unit had earlier told the court that he had found nearly 280,000 images on O'Grady's laptops and hard drives -- the majority of them showing children in sexual poses. He also found more than 1,000 child pornography video files.
An audio file was also discovered. It started off with O'Grady discussing religious matters but after several minutes he began discussing the sexual abuse of a male child, before returning to the topic of religion.
Det Gda Keane also found more than 500 pages of chat logs, which showed O'Grady's "serious fixation" on children. Most of the data had already been deleted by O'Grady but garda computer experts were able to recover it.
The computer was only discovered because O'Grady left it on a flight from Amsterdam to Dublin, and it was put in the lost property department.
Aer Lingus rules state that if lost property is not claimed within three months, the staff member who found it is allowed to keep it. When a staff member claimed possession of the computer and examined its contents, they found the illegal files and alerted gardai.
Gardai went to the hostel where O'Grady was staying and he showed them to a locker containing several USB devices and an external hard drive. He also told them about more computer equipment in a storage facility in Tallaght. All the devices contained illegal files. O'Grady admitted the equipment was his, but answered "no comment" to all other questions.
Defence counsel Philipp Rahn said O'Grady was "a socially isolated man". He was born in Limerick and emigrated to California after joining the priesthood.
After leaving the priesthood, he moved to Amsterdam for several years before returning to Ireland on the flight where he left his laptop behind.