Priest is remanded in custody


A GALWAY priest who sexually abused a teenage boy in a boarding school because he, felt "entitled to some pleasure in his life" has been remanded in custody for sentence on May 20th by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The 41 year old, priest, was a friend of the boy's family and when they consulted him about their son's secondary schooling, he advised them to send him to the boarding school where he was chaplain, a detective told prose cut ion counsel, Mr Joseph Mathews SC (with Ms Miriam Malone).

The detective said the priest became an adviser to the boy and took a keen interest in his education and sporting activities.

He also expressed concern about the boy's hygiene and took him to his rooms in the college for baths. From January 1988 to early 1989 he regularly undressed the boy and bathed him. He would fondle the boy's genitals and sometimes penetrate his anus with his finger.

After finishing school, the victim went to a third level college outside London. In January 1995, when he was 21, he spoke to his mother and aunt and told them what the priest had done.

The priest was remanded, in custody by Judge Patrick Smith, who said he needed time to consider all the facts before sentence.

At an earlier hearing, the defendant pleaded guilty to four sample charges out of a total of 15 listed against him. He admitted indecently assaulting the youth when he was aged 13-14 years on dates from January 31st, 1988, to December 1st, 1989.

The detective said that in February he approached the priest, who was now working in a local parish, and put the allegations to him. The priest replied, "I won't deny anything."

The detective said that, before the abuse started, the victim was known as a bright, extroverted young man. But once the abuse began, he became introverted and withdrawn.

He blamed himself for not telling the priest to stop. The abuse finally came to an end when he told the priest not to abuse him any more.

He has since received counselling and is coming to terms with the fact that he was an adolescent victim and was not to blame.

Defence counsel, Mr Patrick MacEntee SC (with Mr Brian Murray), said his client deeply regretted the hurt caused. He was undergoing counselling and accepted he would have to fight his compulsion for young boys for the rest of his life.

At the time of the offending, the accused was working very hard on his parish duties.

The priest used this pressure as an excuse to persuade himself he was entitled to "some pleasure in his life", counsel said.

A court order was made preventing the media from naming the defendant to protect the identity of the victim.