Tuesday 21 November 2017

Revealed: Irish dancing teacher who sexually abused his pupil

Dance teacher fails in court bid to keep his identity secret

Tim Healy

AN IRISH dancing teacher who sexually abused a young female student for seven years was unmasked yesterday after he failed in a court bid to keep his identity secret.

The High Court yesterday lifted a ban on naming retired printer Michael Quigley (68), of Barnhill Park, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, who had denied the abuse claims.

His victim, Donegal schoolteacher Dana Doherty, said she hoped the authorities in Irish dancing circles would take every precaution to ensure children under their care were protected from predators.

Ms Doherty (42), who earlier this week was awarded €400,000 against Quigley for the abuse which began when she was 12, had asked the court to lift her abuser's anonymity.

Quigley, a married man with children, was tried on criminal charges on two occasions but in both cases the juries were unable to reach verdicts. The DPP then decided not to pursue the matter any further.

Mr Justice Sean Ryan, who made the damages award on Tuesday, yesterday said he saw no reason why the parties should not be named. But he deferred a final decision until yesterday after Quigley's legal advisers appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. The court rejected the appeal.

Mr Justice Ryan also ruled that Ms Doherty should be paid €50,000 of a €400,000 award made against Quigley, if he wants to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

Justice

Afterwards, Brian Gill, Ms Doherty's solicitor, said that taking this civil action had at last allowed Ms Doherty to have her voice heard. Mr Gill said she would be eternally grateful to two fellow Irish dancers who came forward to corroborate her evidence.

"Together these three brave women stood together to release the truth," he said.

"Now the truth has finally come out, Dana's hope is she can let go of her painful past and look forward to the future

"They say justice delayed is justice denied; thankfully not on this occasion," he added.

Earlier, lawyers for Quigley said if he succeeded in his appeal, irreparable damage would have been done to his reputation by having him named at this stage.

Naming him would also affect his wife and children.

He also said, in relation to payment of the award, that he did not have money and that he was retired from his full-time job with the 'Derry Journal'.

Lawyers for Ms Doherty claimed Quigley had transferred ownership of two houses in Letterkenny to his wife Alice's sole name in 2005, including the family home. Mr Justice Ryan said while he sympathised with the man's family, he was not sure he had to take into account people who were not party to the action. The judge added that he believed fairness weighed in favour of naming Quigley.

The judge also ordered Quigley to pay costs.

Irish Independent

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