independent

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Abuse began after boy went to priest looking for odd jobs to earn money

Published 26/03/2014 | 05:22

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Father Denis Nolan

A County Wicklow priest was jailed for seven years when he was convicted of 'systematically' sexually abusing a boy over five years starting when the boy was just 12 years old.

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Denis Nolan (61) with an address at 10 Carrigmore, Tinahely pleaded guilty to sexual assault at 10 Carrigmore, Tinahely, Co. Wicklow on a date between January 1, 2007 and June 30, 2007.

He also pleaded guilty to five counts of defilement of a child under the age of 15 years between July 1, 2007 and August 25, 2009 and five counts of defilement of a child under the age of 17 years between August 26, 2009 and August 25, 2011. All defilement charges occurred in the Presbytery, Rathnew where Nolan was parish priest at the time.

The victim, John Paul Stafford, waived his right to anonymity.

Detective Sgt. Fergus O'Brien told the court that Mr. Stafford, who is now 19 years old, was 12 years old he approached the local parish priest, Nolan, with a view to carrying out some odd jobs to gain extra money.

Three weeks after he started doing odd jobs in the Presbytery Nolan asked him to go to his family home in Tinahely and while there grabbed Mr. Stafford by the testicles and penis.

Nolan told him it was 'what adults do' and told him not to tell anyone. On arrival back in Rathnew he gave him €10.

A few days later, Mr. Stafford was in the Presbytery and Nolan asked him if he had told anyone about the incident in Tinahely and when he said no he called him over to him.

Nolan also asked the child if he had enjoyed it.

Nolan felt his leg and Mr. Stafford felt Nolan's leg and there was kissing between the two. Nolan then gave Mr. Stafford €15.

Detective Sgt. O'Brien said the youth had told gardaí that the abuse would generally take place after school with the child being in fifth class when the abuse started.

He said the abuse intensified to groping after about three or four weeks and then escalated to the point of both Nolan and Mr. Stafford stripping naked and oral sex taking place.

The money given to Mr. Stafford by Nolan also increased to €40. Some days no sexual acts took place but Nolan still gave Mr. Stafford money. Mr. Stafford was calling to Nolan's home in the Presbytery in Rathnew up to four times a week at certain points during the abuse.

Nolan told the youth that he wasn't to tell anyone and told him any time, if he needed money, to go to him. He also gave him a phone at one stage.

Mr. Stafford told his mother he was getting the money from friends in school or his father telling gardaí, 'I knew it was wrong but I got so used to going along'.

When Mr. Stafford's mother confronted Nolan, he said he had been giving him money because he was afraid of her son. She told gardai she knew 'something was going on but couldn't prove it'.

The HSE had also visited Nolan in March 2010 after being contacted by Mr. Stafford's mother, Theresa Stafford. Nolan agreed not to have any contact with Mr. Stafford and agreed to tell the HSE if there was any contact between him and Mr. Stafford.

However, he didn't contact them again and the sexual abuse continued.

One day, she went into her kitchen and found John Paul crying and he said he had been abused by Nolan since he was 12 years of age.

She said he hadn't been able to go into the details with her and the first she learnt of the level of abuse was when her son spoke to gardaí.

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