Sunday 23 April 2017

Former priest guilty of gross indecency


A FORMER PRIEST who is now aged in his late seventies was handed a four-year suspended sentence after he pleaded to eight counts of gross indecency committed in the 1960s.

Prosecuting Counsel, Philip Sheahan, B.L., told Wexford Circuit Criminal Court last Tuesday that the offences were carried out on a boy who was fourteen years of age at the time.

During the course of the prosecution evidence, Judge Pauline Codd heard that the defendant assaulted his victim at night, on at least twelve to fourteen times in total over a two-year period.

The victim was described to the court as being a young quiet boy with whom the defendant would create a conversation, while at the same time sexually abusing him.

Defence Counsel, Patrick McCarthy, S.C., told the court that the defendant had no previous convictions.

He was accepting full responsibility for what happened, and admitted a series of offences between July 1 and September 30 in 1964 when first interviewed by Gardai. He expressed deep sorrow at what had happened. He also said that he had everlasting regret and he knew that nothing he could say would ease the pain of the victim.

A Victim Impact Report that was before the court told how the victim felt 'trapped' at the time of the offences, and was afraid to discuss it with his parents. It had taken him 48 years to pluck up the courage to bring the matter to where it was being dealt with in the court.

Imposing sentence, Judge Pauline Codd described the offences as a 'gross breach of trust' perpetrated on a young boy over a sustained period of time. Taking a number of mitigating factors into account and acknowledging the plea of guilty, she imposed a four year sentence, suspended for a period of five years on the condition that he enter a bond of €250 euro to keep the peace for a period of two years.

The man was also ordered to remain under the supervision of the Probation Services, engage in sex therapy and be of good behaviour for two years.

The guilty party cannot be named, by order of the court.

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