Former priest charged with sexually assaulting two altar boys in Co Cork

State alleges incidents happened in sacristy of church after priest said Mass

The ceiling in the front entrance hall of  Cork Courthouse, where a former priest was today charged with sexually assaulting two altar boys more than 20 years ago. Photograph: Alan Betson/Irish Times.

The ceiling in the front entrance hall of Cork Courthouse, where a former priest was today charged with sexually assaulting two altar boys more than 20 years ago. Photograph: Alan Betson/Irish Times.

Wed, May 8, 2013, 14:21

A former priest has been remanded on bail after he was charged with sexually assaulting two altar boys in the sacristy of a church in Co Cork more than 20 years ago.

Patrick Crowley (62) was brought before Cork District Court today where he was charged with nine counts of sexually assaulting the two boys.

The State alleges Mr Crowley sexually assaulted one boy on six occasions and the second boy on three occasions on various dates between September 1st, 1989 and May 31st, 1990.

Det Garda Donal O’Connell gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution and told the court that Mr Crowley made no reply to any of the charges when they were put to him after caution.

He gave an outline of the alleged facts to Judge Olan Kelleher to allow him to decide whether to accept jurisdiction after hearing the DPP had agreed to summary disposal on a guilty plea.

Det O’Connell told the court that Mr Crowley was serving at the time of the alleged offences as a curate in Ballincollig and that the two complainants were altar boys aged around 10 and 11.

He said the State would allege that Mr Crowley sexually assaulted each of the boys separately when he was alone with each of them in the sacristy of the church.

He said the State would argue that Mr Crowley would send the boy to get papers from a local shop after Mass and when the boy returned with the papers, he sexually assaulted him.

The State would allege that Mr Crowley would put his hand down the front of the boy’s trousers and fondle his private parts, Det Garda O’Connel told the court.

Judge Kelleher said he wanted to read statements from the complainants before making a decision on jurisdiction and he adjourned the matter until June 5th.

He remanded Mr Crowley, who left his ministry in 1994, was laicised in 2002 and who now lives at Cuan Mhuire, Athy, Co Kildare, on bail to appear again on that date.