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Former Franciscan Brother exposed genitals and stimulated himself in front of teenager in toilets at Knock Shrine

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Former Christian Brother Christopher McCarthy, 71 from Newcastle West, Co. Limerick, leaving Castlebar District Court after he was found guilty. Photo : Keith Heneghan

Former Christian Brother Christopher McCarthy, 71 from Newcastle West, Co. Limerick, leaving Castlebar District Court after he was found guilty. Photo : Keith Heneghan

Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus

Former Christian Brother Christopher McCarthy, 71 from Newcastle West, Co. Limerick, leaving Castlebar District Court after he was found guilty. Photo : Keith Heneghan

A former Franciscan Brother has been found guilty of exposing his genitals and stimulating himself in front of an 18-year-old at Knock Shrine.

Christopher McCarthy (71), of Sharwood Estate, Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick, denied the offences before Judge Alan Mitchell at Castlebar District Court today.

He also denied beckoning the teenager to come into a toilet cubicle although, in an earlier statement to gardai, he admitted doing so.

The accused told the court he had travelled to Knock by bus on September 17, 2017, to celebrate the Feast Day of Padre Pio.

He admitted knocking on the door of the toilet cubicle but said he had only done so because the other two cubicles were not very clean. He denied seeing the teen enter the toilet earlier.

Reporting restrictions were imposed by Judge Mitchell prohibiting the naming of the victim.

However, the judge refused an application by defence solicitor John Cussen that McCarthy not be named in media coverage because of the "profound effect it would have on my client".

The victim said he was in a public toilet when he heard what he described as "a soft knock" on the door of the cubicle. "Then I saw a foot, a brown shoe, coming under the door a couple of times," he added.

He said when he emerged from the cubicle he saw a man, whom he identified in court as McCarthy, "stimulating himself and touching his genitals".

"I was confused and in a state of disbelief over what was happening," he added.

"I tried to hold the man by the coat until gardai arrived. He told me he had a knife before he ran away. I chased him before contacting the gardai."

He said he feels disgusted over what happened and gets flashbacks.

Cross-examined by Mr Cussen, the witness agreed the defendant’s trousers were not down but you "could see his genitals through his trousers and you could see he was sexually aroused".

Garda John Coen said he took a statement from McCarthy on October 26 where he outlined he was formerly a Franciscan Brother, Brother Paul McCarthy of the Franciscan Order.

In his statement McCarthy denied exposing himself and masturbating on the date in question but said he did have "tendencies towards men from time" but "also liking girls".

Convicting McCarthy, Judge Mitchell said the evidence of the injured party was the most credible.

Sentencing was adjourned.

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