Sunday 18 February 2018

'Demon' jailed for 14 years over sex attacks on four young boys

Rapist given school job despite record of abuse

Ard Scoil Mhuire in Gweedore, Co Donegal
Ard Scoil Mhuire in Gweedore, Co Donegal

Breda Heffernan

A SERIAL sex abuser who returned to his school caretaker job despite being convicted of sexual assault has been jailed for 14 years after raping and molesting four more boys.

Michael Ferry (56) was described as a "demon" by one of his victims.

Sentencing him at the Central Criminal Court yesterday, Mr Justice Paul Carney said Ferry's earlier conviction for sexual assault of a child at the school "must have been known to local gardai and presumably to the school authorities".

Ferry, with an address at Carrickboyle, Gweedore, Co Donegal, worked as a caretaker year-round at Ard Scoil Mhuire, a former school building in Gweedore that is used by an Irish language school for summer courses.

Both gardai and the school refused to comment on the case when contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday.

Ferry was convicted on two counts of sexual assault at Letterkenny District Court in December 2002, given a six-month suspended sentence and a €500 fine. He was also placed on the sex offenders register. The offences took place in the school in the 1980s.


He was not named at the time as his victim did not want to upset Ferry's mother, who was ill.

Last week, he pleaded guilty to 38 sample charges which included 17 oral and anal rapes, 18 sexual assaults, one indecent assault and two charges of production of child pornography on dates between July 1, 1990 and September 31, 2005.

The four victims were not pupils at the school but lived locally and played football there. They were aged between 10 and 13 when the abuse began and were sexually assaulted by Ferry on an almost weekly basis.

Ferry supplied the boys with alcohol, cigarettes and sweets and showed them pornographic films.

The judge said it was a "disturbing feature of this case" that Ferry remained at the school where he continued to abuse children. The fact that he remained in his job gave him the opportunity to groom more victims, he added.

Two of the victims told gardai they were abused by Ferry in the school after he got them so drunk they were afraid to go home to their parents.

Another said he woke up from a vodka-induced sleep to find himself lying naked and bleeding.

At the sentencing hearing in Dublin yesterday, Mr Justice Carney said he had to take into account a number of factors including the inherent gravity of the offences, the position of trust Ferry held in the community, his systematic grooming of the boys, the effect the crimes had on his victims and the fact that he continued to offend after being placed on the sex offenders register.

Ferry was sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment with the final four years suspended and was ordered to be placed under supervision for a period of 10 years after his release. He was added to the sex offenders register for the second time and was ordered to stay away from his victims "in perpetuity".

Meanwhile, the Garda Press Office refused to say whether gardai in Donegal had informed the school of Ferry's 2002 conviction or if they were aware he continued to work at the school.

Ellen O'Malley Dunlop, chief executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, described the case as "shocking" and said it was "absolutely imperative" that garda vetting of those working in positions where they come into contact with children was put on a statutory basis.

Irish Independent

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