Ex-Lay Preacher Accused of Abuse

Belfast Telegraph
November 15, 2006

A Londonderry court has heard claims that a former lay preacher subjected two sisters to a litany of sexual abuses starting when they were six years old.

James Doherty (72), from Milltown View in the Waterside, denies 25 charges ranging from gross indecency to anal rape against two sisters who attended the same church as him.

He faces 21 charges relating to the younger sister, now 36, dating back to 1976.

Starting her evidence yesterday, the younger sibling gave a brief and sometimes tearful account of the first incidents she remembered.

Earlier, Jackie Orr QC opened the case for the prosecution by telling the jury of 12 men that Doherty was a friend of the complainants' family who lived with them intermittently and often babysat the children.

She said that the younger of the two sisters endured 10 years of sexual abuse at the hands of the defendant, starting when she was six.

Detailing the alleged offences in Londonderry Crown Court yesterday, Ms Orr said they began with indecent assaults and acts of gross indecency and progressed to rapes as the girl got older. She said that eventually, sexual abuse was taking place "practically every time they were alone together".

The incidents are alleged to have happened in the backyard of the family home, the kitchen, the defendant's car and the woman's father's car, at least once on the way back from church.

Doherty is further charged with four counts of indecent assault against her older sibling (38), beginning in 1974.

At hearing.


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