Thursday 14 November 2019

Priest admits abusing teen over eight years

Ralph Riegel

AN ELDERLY priest has admitted subjecting a teenage boy to eight years of sexual assaults.

Fr Vincent Mercer (66), right, pleaded guilty before Cork Circuit Criminal Court to 15 sample counts of sexual assault against the teenage boy between 1986 and 1994. Fr Mercer, of Black Abbey, Kilkenny, had faced a total of 39 counts of sexual assault.

The cleric was charged with assaulting the teen at various locations in Munster between January 1, 1986, and February 22, 1994 when the boy was aged between 11 and 17.

Fr Mercer is a serving member of the Dominican Order though he is not now in ministry.

Judge Sean O'Donnabhain heard that the State accepted the cleric's guilty plea to the 15 sample charges of sexual assault.

Defence counsel Tom Creed applied for sentencing to be adjourned until February 22.

Fr Mercer was remanded on bail on his own bond of €2,500. He must sign on twice weekly at Kilkenny garda station.

The cleric only spoke during the brief hearing to confirm his guilty pleas.

Irish Independent

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