Priest apologises over gay porn

Sun, Apr 29, 2012, 01:00

A Catholic priest from Co Tyrone who "inadvertently" displayed gay pornographic images to a group of parents and a child has issued an unreserved apology.

The images   were shown on a screen by Fr Martin McVeigh, the parish priest of Pomeroy, during a PowerPoint presentation at St Mary’s Primary School about children’s first Confession on March 26th.

The images were on a memory stick he had stuck into a laptop he was using.

In a statement today, Fr McVeigh said he “deeply” regrets his failure to check his presentation in advance.

“I had no knowledge of any offending imagery existing in it. After the images were inadvertently shown, I immediately removed the memory stick from the laptop,” he said. “In my shock and upset and in my concern to ensure that the images would never be shown again, I destroyed it later that evening.”

There was no suggestion that the images were of minors or in any way illegal.

Fr McVeigh said he accepts the incident was very serious and caused much anxiety and distress.

“I apologise unreservedly for the hurt caused. I want to assure you, however, that I was not responsible for the presence of the offending images and in this respect I ask you to accept my innocence.”

Fr McVeigh said he has asked the Archbishop of Armagh, Cardinal Seán Brady, for permission to leave the parish and take sabbatical leave. “The memory of this awful episode will remain with me for the rest of my life,” he said

In a statement, Dr Brady said he had agreed to the request “on the understanding that he will, on its completion, return to the diocese”.

He also apologised for the incident, which he described as “traumatic” for both the parish and for Fr McVeigh.

Since the incident, the laptop in question has been reported stolen from Fr McVeigh’s house. The PSNI have appealed to the public for information to help establish the circumstances behind the theft.

Dr Brady said two other computers in the sacristy and computer equipment in the parish office and Fr McVeigh’s parochial house had been examined as part of a diocesan inquiry. “These have been forensically examined by an independent technical expert and no inappropriate imagery has been found,” he said.