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Friday 9 December 2016

Predatory paedophile priest (81) gets six years for sex abuse

Independent.ie reporters

Published 29/07/2011 | 14:16

The priest who sexually assaulted clerical abuse campaigner Marie Collins back in 1960, was today jailed for sexually abusing another girl in the 1980s.

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Paul McGennis (81) of Holy Cross Diocesan Centre, Clonliffe Road, Dublin 3 was sentenced to six years in jail with four years suspended due to his age and health.

He abused Ms Collins, who brokered the historic apology to victims in 2002 by Cardinal Desmond Connell, when she was just 13 and he was chaplin at Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin.

He was jailed for 18 months in 1997.

In this instance he admitted eight sample counts of indecent assault of the girl – who was just eleven when the abuse started - at two locations in Dublin between June 1980 and May 1984.

Judge Desmond Hogan said today that he had been in a position of trust, must have known he was taking advantage of the young girl and that his word would not be questioned.

The now 42-year-old woman twice attempted suicide in an effort to deal with a four-year cycle of abuse committed by the retired cleric who is still a priest, but out of ministry.

The married woman, who revealed in a victim impact report earlier this month, that she was worried about how long her husband would stay with her because of the ongoing effects of the abuse, requested that McGennis be publicly identified.

McGennis is living in the diocese under strict conditions imposed by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

The conditions include that he have no contact with young people.

McGennis was called to the witness box by defence counsel Mr Luan O Braonain, where he apologised.

"I would like to apologise most sincerely to (the victim) and her family for the stress and torture I have put them through and for the fact that my initial denials must have made it worse," he said.

"For that early denial I apologise profoundly to the family," he added.

The Circuit Criminal Court heard McGennis had four previous convictions for indecent assault and had served a prison sentence, and was co-operating with a garda investigation launched as a result of the Murphy report.

Sgt Brian Lyons told the court there were no matters outstanding against the priest.

The court heard the abuse took place in the priest's house in one Dublin parish and continued after he moved to another in the city.

Sgt Lyons said the priest would always have chocolate in the house and would give the girl sweets and toys, but when she began to get older he would give her money after having sex with her.

The woman said she lived in fear of the priest, who had threatened that her family would be expelled from the church if she told anyone.

She said she would "get messages" for McGennis and that the abuse began when she was late returning from an errand on one occasion and he "gave out" to her.

The woman said the abuse would take place almost every fortnight in the bedroom of the parish house and in a waiting room.

She said the abuse continued after he moved to a different address.

When she began having her period he started to use condoms.

Sgt Lyons said the girl would cry -- and that she could not breathe as she was asthmatic -- during the abuse. She would ask McGennis to stop but he would continue.

When interviewed by gardai in 2009, McGennis denied the allegations but he pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this year.

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