School issues letter about child abuser

 

A CATHOLIC grammar school in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, has distributed a letter campaign explaining the facts about a former priest and teacher at the school who was convicted as a sex offender.

St Michael's College sent out several hundred letters over the Christmas holiday concerning a convicted child abuser, John McCabe, who taught English and religion at the college from September 1977 to June 1988.

McCabe was sentenced to 20 months' imprisonment on 13 charges of sex offences against a Belfast boy between 1979 and 1985 at Enniskillen Court last month.

The offences took place in Belfast and in McCabe's residential quarters at St Michael's College, Enniskillen.

It was claimed in court that on one occasion in his residential quarters McCabe got the boy so drunk that he passed out and the child was naked when he awoke.

The 24 line letter refers to "offences and charges" brought against John McCabe who taught at the college for 11 years. The letter states: "Mr McCabe left his position at the college due to ill health after he suffered from a heart attack in January 1988."

It emerged in court that McCabe - known as "Father Jack" - began a relationship with a woman in 1987.

The court also heard that in 1989 the Bishop of Clogher, Dr Joseph Duffy, was informed about McCabe's abuse by the victim's parents.

McCabe subsequently taught at Hazelwood College, an integrated school in Belfast.

The St Michael's letter adds: "The victim was known to Mr McCabe through his friendship with the victim's family. He was never at any time a pupil of St Michael's and had no other connection with the school.

"The management and governors of St Michael's are conscious of the great distress caused by this painful case to the victim and his family. They are anxious therefore that staff, pupils and parents should receive a true and accurate account of the facts."