Former priest to be freed as 18-month term for abuse backdated

Victims tell court how Patrick McCabe (77) left them ‘tortured, tormented and haunted’

 Abuse victim James Moran speaking to the media outside court today  after former priest Patrick McCabe received an 18-month jail sentence for indecently assaulting him and another young boy in the 1970s. He said said McCabe’s sexual assault had blighted his life. Photograph: Courtpix

Abuse victim James Moran speaking to the media outside court today after former priest Patrick McCabe received an 18-month jail sentence for indecently assaulting him and another young boy in the 1970s. He said said McCabe’s sexual assault had blighted his life. Photograph: Courtpix

 

A former priest whose abuse of children in the 1970s and 1980s was featured in the Murphy report will walk free this weekend after an 18-month jail term was backdated by the judge.

Patrick McCabe (77), formerly of Alameda, California, was extradited here in June 2011 and has spent the last 21 months in custody awaiting sentence.

Waiving his right to anonymity, one of his victims James Moran (50) said McCabe’s sexual assault had blighted his life. Mr Moran said he went from being a happy child to contemplating suicide at 18.

McCabe pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to indecent assault of Mr Moran at a Co Kildare school between January and April 1977.

He also pleaded guilty to indecent assault of another boy, who cannot be named, at two locations in Dublin between January and September 1979. Both victims were 13 when McCabe molested them.

David Keane SC, defending, said he had been instructed by McCabe to offer a “sincere apology to the two victims for the pain and hurt he has caused”. He said his client also asked for their forgiveness.

Judge Margaret Heneghan said both victims had described how the abuse at the hands of McCabe has left them “tortured, tormented and haunted”.

Garda Insp Jim Doyle told Cormac Quinn, prosecuting, that he travelled to California in 2006 to interview the priest about the abuse.

McCabe told him he visited Mr Moran at his boarding school after seeing a photograph of the boy at his parents’ home. The then laicised priest said: “He met all the requirements to match my fetish. He was handsome and had a nice shirt and tie. I embraced him and fondled him.”

The second victim was abused at the parochial house after McCabe had offered to show him the crypts of the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin city centre. McCabe was dressed and was sexually aroused when he started kissing the boy and lay on top of the boy with all his weight.

On another occasion the ex-priest abused the boy after they had prayed together at an altar he had in his home. He gave the boy a present of rosary beads after the abuse.

McCabe was arrested in the US in August 2010 and extradited to Ireland in June 2011. Last October he was jailed for 18 months after he pleaded guilty to the indecent assault of five schoolboys.

Judge Heneghan said the maximum possible sentence for each offence was two years. She said she had to take into account McCabe’s guilty plea, his admissions to gardaí, his remorse, his age and his medical condition.

She said McCabe’s conduct was utterly abhorrent and was an immense breach and abuse of trust but accepted a submission from defence counsel that these offences lay at the lower end of the scale. She said this was not a case where consecutive sentences were appropriate.

The victim said his life had been blighted by the abuse and the events around it. As an adult he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I failed my Leaving Cert, failed all attempts at relationships but most importantly, felt I had failed my family. I have experienced every emotion associated with self-loathing,” Mr Moran told the court.