Abuse victim contests transfer of property to former teacher's wife
A WOMAN who was awarded €400,000 damages last year after a judge found she was sexually abused by her Irish dancing teacher has brought a High Court challenge to the man’s transfer of property into his wife’s name.
Dana Doherty (42) claims the transfer of the ownership of two properties by Michael Quigley to his wife, Alice, was an attempt to defeat her right to obtain the damages. The properties are the family home at Barnhill Park, Letterkenny, Donegal, and a one-third acre site at Meenagowan, also in Letterkenny.
Ms Doherty, a national schoolteacher, is seeking a High Court order setting aside the transfers, made eight and 12 years ago. She has disputed Mr Quigley’s claim that he is a man of no means living on a pension. She claims he got a substantial payment when he took voluntary redundancy as a printer with the Derry Journal in the late 1990s, and had also made good money from his dancing classes in Derry and Letterkenny.
Mr Quigley (68) argues that Ms Doherty is not entitled to challenge the transfer, which, he says, was effected to get a loan to extend the family home at a time when he was retired and could not get a loan in his name.
He claims the transfer was also carried out before Ms Doherty brought the case which resulted in the €400,000 award.
Ms Doherty, he also claims, is not a creditor of his, which she must be to avail of the fraudulent conveyance law under which her challenge is brought.
The case opened yesterday before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan. The parties later consented to adjourning it to December to allow Mr Quigley’s appeal against the €400,000 award be heard by the Supreme Court. A stay on that award applies pending the appeal.
In her civil action against Mr Quigley last year, Ms Doherty told the court Mr Quigley began to assault her when she was aged 12. The assaults increased in seriousness as she got older. They occurred over a number of years at the dance classes and when he was driving her home, she said.
Mr Quigley denied all her allegations and said they were made up to get back at him because she was in love with him and he had spurned a suggestion that he leave his wife and live with her.
He was charged with indecent assault and underwent two trials in which juries were unable to reach verdicts. The Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to pursue the matter further and entered a nolle prosequi in the case. Ms Doherty then brought her action for damages, claiming he had taken her childhood from her.
In July last year, Mr Justice Seán Ryan said the proposition of Mr Quigley that Ms Doherty had concocted the claims to get back at him was wholly unconvincing.