Tuesday 18 December 2018

Eucharistic Minister (63) jailed for offering schoolboy €50 for sex

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Tom Shiel

A 63-year-old former Eucharistic Minister who offered a 13-year-old schoolboy €50 for sex was sentenced to five years in prison today by the Circuit Criminal Court.

Thomas Folliard, Church Road, Aughamore, Ballyhaunis, Co  Mayo, was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of propositioning the youth for sex in a south Mayo town in January of last year.

When he appeared for sentencing today Judge MacCabe said the accused had shown no remorse, and that he continues to deny and accepts no responsibility for his predatory behaviour.

Before sentencing Mr Folliard to five years in prison, the judge described the offence committee as "grave" and "despicable".

At the trial hearing earlier this year, evidence was given by the victim that the accused followed him from an urban shopping centre and propositioned him on a nearby street.

Mr Folliard, who was charged under Section 3 of the Child Pornography and Trafficking Act, 1998, had money in his hand. He first asked his victim if he wanted to make some money and then offered him €50 for sex.

When the boy refused and began to move away, Mr Folliard told him he was "a lovely lad".

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the victim, who cannot be named, said he had to get a lift home from school for some time after the incident as he was in fear.

He had also stopped engaging in sport for some and would cross the road if he saw anybody 'suspicious' approaching.

Brendan McDonagh, defence counsel, said Mr Folliard had an unblemished record and was kind and helpful to elderly people in the community.

Counsel added that when the allegation was first made against him, the accused had told his parish priest and stepped down from being a Eucharistic Minister.

Due to ill heath, Mr McDonagh said, Mr Folliard was not suitable for community service.

Judge MacCabe said there was evidence of premeditation in that the accused followed his victim.

He added that Mr. Folliard was 'relatively old' but the absence of remorse gave him some concern as to risks he might pose in future.

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