Former Irish priest and child abuser arrested in Portugal

Oliver O’Grady previously jailed for possessing nearly 280,000 child pornography images

Previously, Oliver O’Grady was sentenced to 14 years in California for abusing children while a priest. File photograph: Collins Courts

Previously, Oliver O’Grady was sentenced to 14 years in California for abusing children while a priest. File photograph: Collins Courts

 

A former Irish priest and convicted child abuser has been arrested in Portugal on foot of a European Arrest Warrant and is expected to be returned to Ireland in the coming days.

Oliver O’Grady (74) was arrested in the Algarve area of Portugal last week and, according to statement from Portuguese police, is suspected of child pornography offences in Ireland.

In 2012, O’Grady was jailed in Ireland for three years for possessing nearly 280,000 images of child pornography.

He had thousands of explicit images of children stored on computers and USB drives, some depicting victims as young as two. Gardaí also found more than six hours of child pornography videos and more than 500 pages of online discussions on the subject of child pornography.

Previously, O’Grady was sentenced to 14 years in California for abusing children while a priest. He was deported to Ireland in 2001 after serving seven years of his sentence.

Illegal files

The images leading to his 2012 conviction were discovered after O’Grady left his laptop on an Aer Lingus flight on February 15th, 2010. A staff member examined the computer and alerted gardaí after coming across the files.

When gardaí went to the hostel where O’Grady was staying and he showed them to a locker containing several USB devices and an external hard drive. He also told them about more computer equipment in a storage facility in Tallaght. All the devices contained illegal files.

O’Grady was born in Limerick and emigrated to California after joining the priesthood. In 1993, he was sentenced to 14 years for four counts of lewd acts against children and was deported to Ireland on his release.

After leaving the priesthood, he moved to Amsterdam for several years before returning to Ireland on the flight where he left his laptop behind. While here, he had to move residence several times because of his notoriety.

“If people didn’t download child pornography,” Judge Martin Nolan said in 2012, “there is a good chance that those children would not be abused in the first place.”

He said O’Grady had a serious problem and prison in America had not rehabilitated him.