Jail for priest who assaulted sister and brother

By Emer Connolly and Fiona Ferguson
Irish Independent
July 3, 2012

A FORMER priest has been given an eight-year sentence after attempting to rape a young girl and for sexually assaulting her brother more than 30 years ago.

John Calnan (73) was moved to another parish after the girl told her mother about the abuse. The incident was first reported to gardai in May 2010.

The court heard that Calnan "admitted to paedophile tendencies" towards the girl and that there was "a grooming process".

In her victim impact statement to the court, the girl said: "My mother complained to another priest but nothing was done. The man who abused me told me to keep it a secret and my mother also told me not to tell anyone.

"I am angry with the man who abused me, angry with my parents for letting it happen and angry with the church for not preventing it."

She said that her confidence and self-worth have been damaged: "I felt guilty, as if I had done something wrong.


"I am still afraid of him, the fear of him and the place."

The girl's brother didn't give a victim impact statement.

Calnan, of The Presbytery, 35 Paul Street, Cork, pleaded guilty to the attempted rape of the girl between January 1, 1980, and April 30, 1980, in west Cork. She was aged seven at the time.

Calnan also admitted three counts of sexually assaulting the girl between October 25, 1976, and October 24, 1979.

He further admitted one count of sexual assault on the girl's brother between August 10, 1975, and October 9, 1979. The victim was aged between nine and 12 at the time.

Mr Justice Paul Carney imposed sentences totalling eight years and suspended the final three years taking into account Calnan's guilty plea, lack of convictions and the state of his health. He also ordered 18 months' post-release supervision and that Calnan stay away from his victims forever.



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