Priest charged with abuse of young males

Irish Times
November 16, 1995

A priest appeared at Wexford District Court yesterday on charges relating to the sexual abuse of young males over a six year period.

Father Sean Fortune (42), a native of Gorey, Co Wexford, with an address at Rocklands Cottage, Wexford, was remanded on bail to December 6th, on 22 charges of gross indecency and indecent assault on six youths.

The offences - under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act and Section 62 of the Offences Against the Person Act - are alleged to have taken place in a number of locations in Co Wexford from December, 1981, to a date unknown in 1987.

The charges include 10 of indecent assault and 12 of gross indecency. The alleged victims were between the ages of 12 and 16 at the time.

Det Garda Pat Mulcahy told the court that he arrested the defendant yesterday morning on foot of an arrest warrant issued at Wexford District Court in early November in relation to a charge of indecent assault on a male.

Det Garda Mulcahy said he charged him with offences on five separate charge sheets and the defendant replied not guilty to each of the charges.

State solicitor, Mr Jack McEvoy, said he would be seeking substantial bail of a personal surety of Pounds 5,000 and an independent surety of Pounds 5,000. He would also be asking that the accused surrender his passport.

Mr Garret Sheehan, solicitor for the accused man, said the defendant's brother, Mr Thomas Fortune, was willing to act as independent bailsman. His details had been furnished to gardai earlier in the week and were found acceptable.

Judge Donnchadh O'Buachalla granted bail on the terms proposed by the State Solicitor and remanded the defendant to Wexford District Court on December 6th. Mr Sheehan undertook to hand the defendant's passport into the court immediately.

The defendant appeared in court dressed in a black suit and clerical collar. He stood calmly beside his solicitor during the short hearing and bowed solemnly to the judge as he left the court room after signing the bail bond. He left in a patrol car driven by a garda.



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