Cleric accused of abuse fails to keep name secret

By Brian McDonald
Irish Independent
May 24, 2002

A priest appeared in court yesterday on charges of sexually abusing a boy during his time at the Letterfrack industrial school in Connemara.

The elderly cleric - named in Clifden district court as simply Christopher Kilkelly - faces two charges of indecently assaulting the boy in 1957 and 1958 at Letterfrack.

The 78-year-old accused, with an address at Belton Abbey, Moone, Athy, Co Kildare, was dressed casually and accompanied in court by a priest in clerical garb.

Det Garda Jack Cosgrove gave evidence of arresting and charging defendant earlier yesterday. He replied 'not guilty' to both charges.

Supt Tony Dowd applied for the matter to be adjourned for preparation of an evidence book and said the Director of Public Prosecutions had not yet decided if the case would be tried in the district court or in the Circuit Court.

Defence solicitor Benen Fahy told the court his client had gone of his own will to the garda station to be charged. He had co-operated in every way with the investigation.

Mr Fahy then made a detailed application to prohibit identifying the defendant in media reports.

But Judge John Garavan pointed out that he had rejected similar applications on behalf of three other defendants who had previously appeared before him in respect of charges arising from the Garda investigation into allegations of abuse at the Letterfrack institution.

"I took the view before that I'd be justified in not prohibiting publication. I have to be even-handed," added the judge.

In a further submission, Mr Fahy contended that, because of the charges his client faced, he was automatically entitled to anonymity, anyway, under the law. The judge said he would make no order.

Defendant was then remaded on bail to Clifden district court on July 25.

A Christian Brother, Maurice Tobin (70) of North Circular Road, Dublin, who faces 136 charges of sexually abusing boys at the Letterfrack industrial school had the case against him adjourned to the same date.



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