Priest Who Abused Boy to Confront New Claims by Ex-Pupil
By Sarah Murphy
Irish Independent [Ireland]
January 6, 2007
Fresh claims of indecent assault have been made against a former principal of a boys' primary school who received a jail sentence last year.
Con Desmond (pictured below), a Catholic priest, was given a three-year suspended sentence on December 20 for indecently assaulting a young boy in Waterford in the early 1980s.
Gardai in Waterford are now investigating the allegations against the priest made by another former pupil following his sentencing last month.
Desmond was a De La Salle brother and principal of the De La Salle boys' primary school on Stephen Street in Waterford city when the offences occurred.
The new claims concern abuse that also allegedly occurred during the 1980s and around the same time as those the priest has been convicted for.
A court found Desmond indecently assaulted a pupil three times in his office and three times in his car on the way to and from hurling training.
Desmond left the school in 1984 and was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Killaloe, attached first to the parish of Killmaley and then the parish of Knockerra. He still lives in Clare.
His victim made the complaints in 2002, and since then, he has been suspended from clerical duties. Waterford Circuit Criminal Court heard Desmond was sorry for what he did.
He was given a three-year suspended sentence but is to remain on the Sex Offenders Register for five years.
Meanwhile, one of the country's leading Catholic bishops has defended his handling of the case.
Bishop Willie Walsh said he told gardai in Clonmel in 2003 that he insisted Desmond see a psychiatrist, who carried out an assessment and reported verbally to him that he was satisfied Desmond did not constitute any danger to children.
Bishop Walsh told gardai that in his initial conversation with Desmond, he did not divulge any information in regard to sexual abuse of children other than saying he felt under stress in regard to media publicity in this area.
In the light of the positive psychiatric report and the fact that he had no complaint against him, he did not remove Desmond from ministry.
Bishop Walsh promoted Fr Desmond in 2001, making him parish priest in Killimer. A year later, the Waterford man made his complaints and Desmond was suspended from clerical duties.
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