Mother tells how she suffered with sister in silence for 20 years after sick attacks by paedophile priest

By Maurice Fitzmaurice
The Mirror
May 22, 2009

A MOTHER told yesterday how she suffered in silence for two decades before revealing that she was subjected to years of sex abuse at the hands of a paedophile priest.

The woman, who cannot be identified, told the Irish Daily Mirror both her and her sister were sexually assaulted by sick Vincent Downey at a religious home.

Speaking in the wake of the damning report into sexual and physical abuse at homes run by the Church, the 42-year-old said: "He has ruined my life and my sister's and all he got was a couple of years in jail.

"And I'm still waiting for some sort of apology, some sort of an acknowledgement about what happened to me." The mother of two was abused, of along with her younger sister, by Downey, also known as Brother Bernard who was a member of the Montfort Order. Montfort House in Monaghan town no longer exists.

The 82-year-old was jailed in late 2007 for three years at Monaghan Circuit Court, but the sentence was later reduced on appeal to two-and-a-half years.

The four counts against Downey related to offences between 1977 and 1981, when the girls were aged about eight and nine years.

The elder sister, from Co Armagh, said yesterday: "He will be out in no time and will get on with what's left of his life. But he has ruined mine. "My kids don't understand why I'm so protective and won't allow them out of the street, but that's what he has done to me.

"I've attempted suicide and I have cut myself in the past. I'm scarred psychologically and physically.

"When we were at Montfort House he would come to our bed to do what he did to us. "But we never said anything, we never spoke out.

"But 10 years ago when my kids were getting to the same age as I was when he abused me it all started to come out.

"My husband was dumbfounded. Eventually we went to the police, but it took seven years of going in and out of courts before he finally pleaded guilty just before the jury was going to be sworn in.

"I was glad he did though, because I didn't want a jury to find him guilty, I wanted him to admit what he did to me and my sister." The clerical abuse victim visited Downey at Montfort House as he was a member of her extended family.



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