Tuesday 10 December 2019

Former priest gets suspended sentence for molesting boy (10)

Sonya McLean

A serial child abuser and former priest has received a three-year suspended sentence for molesting a ten-year-old boy 30 years ago.

Patrick Maguire (75) who is currently living under a strict regime with the Columban Fathers in Dalgan Park, in Navan, County Meath, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to indecently assaulting the boy in Dublin on dates between October 1, 1981 and May 1, 1982.

The ex-priest has 15 previous convictions for similar offences of abusing young boys and is a registered sex offender.

Maguire’s defence counsel Shane Costelloe BL told Judge Mary Ellen Ring that there are more charges pending against his client that are currently before the courts and other people have since made complaints to the gardaí.

The court heard that the now 40-year-old victim prepared a “compassionate” victim impact report in which he stated that he has since forgiven Maguire.

The victim said he was not a vengeful person and asked judge to be lenient on Maguire.

“It looks like his past has come back to haunt him,” he said in his report.

The man said he was “appalled at the church who knew about Maguire’s crimes and did nothing about it”.

The man did not disclose the abuse to his family until 2011 just before he made a formal complaint to the gardaí on November 4, 2011.

Mr Costelloe said his client, who was first ordained a priest as a 24-year-old, is deeply ashamed and was mortified by the level of compassion shown by the victim.

“It was an appalling breach of trust of the worst sort,” counsel said.

Judge Ring said a letter from the Columban Fathers contained an apology to the victim and outlined the strict regime they have placed on Maguire.

She said the society have properly taken responsibility for Maguire when they could have “cut him loose”.

“They are doing something towards the debt they owe to the victim,” Judge Ring said.

She described Maguire’s behaviour as “inexcusable” and said he had “robbed the victim of an innocence he was entitled to”.

The judge said he had abused the boy’s trust and that of his parent’s in “vile way”.

Judge Ring sentenced Maguire to three years in prison which she suspended in full on strict conditions including that he remain living under the care of the Columban Fathers, that he have no unsupervised contact with children and their families and that he liaise with the Probation Service for three years.

Garda Ronan Smith told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that on the night of the assault Maguire had asked the boy’s parents if their son could stay the night.

The child’s father was initially reluctant to do so but agreed after the priest assured him his son would have his own room as another priest wasn’t returning to the house that night.

The priest later told the boy that they would have to stay in the same room and tried to persuade the child to share a bath with him. The boy refused to do so but undressed to his underwear before getting into bed after Maguire instructed him to do so.

Gda Smith said Maguire got into bed naked and lay behind the victim rubbing his penis against him and fondling him. The victim cried throughout the incident.

The following morning Maguire gave the victim Christmas cake for breakfast and told him not to tell anyone he had been “naughty”, saying it would get him into trouble.

Maguire met with the gardaí in 2011 and accepted that he had molested the boy and the child had not liked it.

Gda Smith said Maguire was sentenced to six years in 2000 after he pleaded guilty at Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court to ten charges of indecent assault. The final three years of the term was suspended after Maguire successfully completed a sex offender’s programme.

He was also jailed for a year in England in 1998 after he admitted to four charges of indecent assault and received a three year suspended sentence from Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in 2007 after he pleaded guilty to one charge of indecent assault.

Mr Le Vert described a “compassionate” victim impact report in which the man said the fact that he kept the abuse a secret for so long has affected every aspect of his life.

He said he understood that Maguire probably had severe difficulties at the time and was acting on his impulse.

The man said that reporting the abuse helped to “alleviate the sense of helplessness it had left me with” and he wished he had reported it sooner.

The Columban Fathers had offered a sum of money “as a concrete expression of Maguire’s remorse” which was accepted by the victim.

Judge Ring asked that the victim be allowed see a letter from the Columbans that had been presented to the court which outlined the regime the organisation has imposed on Maguire.

Maguire is not allowed outside of the compound in Navan without supervision and is no longer allowed to be in the presence of young children. He is currently engaging with his local Probation Service.

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