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‘Deliver us from evil’ priest is jailed over child porn video

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Ex-priest Oliver O’Grady was sentenced to 22 months in prison

Ex-priest Oliver O’Grady was sentenced to 22 months in prison

Ex-priest Oliver O’Grady was sentenced to 22 months in prison

A former priest has been sentenced to prison for 22 months for possessing child pornography.

Oliver O’Grady (75) had been found guilty by a jury a fortnight ago, having been charged with one count of possessing a video of an underage girl engaging in a sexual act.

Waterford Circuit Court heard that he had the video on a date between December 14, 2015 and March 2016, at his residence at St Otteran’s Place, South Parade, Waterford city.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly heard O’Grady has eight previous convictions, including the repeated molestation of two brothers in California over a 10-year period, for which he served seven years in the 1990s. He was later deported back to Ireland. These crimes were the subject of an Academy Award-nominated documentary in 2006 titled Deliver Us From Evil.

The latest case arose when a former housemate of O’Grady reported him to gardaí after discovering a sexually explicit video on the computer. The offence - which he denied - carries a maximum sentence of five years.

Yesterday the former priest addressed the court for the first time having previously provided a written statement for the trial.
O'Grady said he had no knowledge of the video's existence until investigating gardaí brought it to his attention, and confirmed he accepted the guilty verdict delivered by the jury.

As part of the address, which Judge Eugene O'Kelly later described as "bizarre", O'Grady thanked the prosecution and the Garda for their work, his own counsel and the staff at the courthouse and those transporting him from the Midlands prison.

Detective Garda Brian Morris outlined how on January 30, 2012, O'Grady was convicted of three counts of possession of child pornography, after a laptop he owned was left behind on an Aer Lingus flight. Some 280,000 images showing children in sexual poses and 1,000 video files of child pornography were discovered on the device.

He also received nine months’ imprisonment from Cloverhill District Court earlier this year for a failure to notify the court of a change in details, which related to his being placed on the sex offenders register.

The defence pointed out O’Grady previously received just three years in 2012, for possessing approximately over a quarter million images and 1,000 videos of child pornography.

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Sean D Rafter BL said the former priest was himself a victim of abuse between the ages of 12 and 14 when he served at his local church. “Unfortunately the cycle perpetuates itself,” Mr Rafter said.

There was “no intervention, no assistance and no accountability” from the Catholic Church when Mr O'Grady began to abuse children, he added. “That is the context of this man’s life.”

But State prosecutor Conor O'Doherty BL cited that the video was at the higher level of child pornography, and the judge said it amounted to the "exploitation and abuse of a child for the sexual gratification of others".

There was "no willingness" from O'Grady to deal with his problems despite already serving two prison terms, according to the judge. He handed down a 22-month sentence, backdated to when O'Grady was first arrested and placed in custody on October 26, 2019.


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