Ex-priest faces more child abuse claims

Derry Journal
April 16, 2010

A former Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing children in Derry more than 20 years ago is at the centre of a new police investigation, the 'Journal' can reveal.

He is Gerard John McCallion (62), whose serial sex abuse of young children was exposed after he was caught in bed with a ten year-old girl in St Mary's Parochial House in Creggan on the eve of his 40th birthday.

The Lifford-born former member of the Cistercian Order - which is based at Mount Melleray Abbey in Waterford - was defrocked in the 1990s after he admitted abusing three Derry primary school girls in the Creggan parochial house.

Now fresh allegations against the ex-priest, who was described by a crown court judge in 1997 as a "sexual parasite", have been made by a Derry man who was a child at the time of the alleged abuse in the city.

A well-placed source has revealed to the 'Journal' that the alleged victim made a child sex abuse complaint against the paedophile priest to police in Derry last month. It's believed that the man had made a similar complaint against the former cleric to the RUC in the 1990s but that it was later withdrawn.

A police spokesperson said last night that the PSNI would not comment on individual cases. However police sources have confirmed that at least one new child sex abuse claim against the ex-cleric is under investigation.

The Bishop of Derry, Dr Seamus Hegarty, told this newspaper that his office would co-operate fully with any police investigation into such matters.

"The policy of the Diocese of Derry is to pass allegations of the abuse of minors to the civil authorities and to co-operate fully with any police investigation," he said.

The 'Journal' has been told that McCallion, who joined the Cistercian Order at 16 years-old, is currently living in southern Ireland. It's understood that he is living with a woman with whom he communicated while serving time in prison.

McCallion pleaded guilty to nine indecent assault charges involving two girls aged nine and ten in 1996 at Derry Magistrates Court and was jailed for two years.

In November 1997, he admitted indecently assaulting a young woman while she was in bed at Altnagelvin Hospital with a kidney infection, after a charge of raping her was dropped at Belfast Crown Court. On that occasion he was given an 18 month jail-term, which was suspended for three years.

At Letterkenny Circuit Court in 1998 he admitted indecently assaulting a seven year-old girl at a house in his home town of Lifford.



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.