Former Priest Accused of Abusing Child As an Altar Boy

By Patsy Mcgarry
Irish Times
October 28, 2010

A FORMER Dublin priest yesterday faced 16 charges in the Circuit Criminal Court involving the sexual abuse of a child.

Six concern buggery, the remaining 10 are indecent assault. All allegedly took place between June 1st, 1979, and June 30th, 1983, when the then altar boy was aged between seven and 12.

The accused denies all charges. Due to media restrictions ordered in this case the identity of the former priest or his accuser cannot be reported, nor can details which could lead to either being identified.

All incidents are alleged to have taken place in the presbytery of a Dublin parish, with one outdoors. In his evidence the now 38-year-old complainant indicated that the 16 indictments were sample charges. Over the relevant years he “was interfered with or raped, or both, once a week . . . sometimes three times a week”, he said.

One alleged incident at the presbytery occurred when he was “around 10”. As usual the priest put on music and offered him lemonade and sweets. The complainant told Mary Rose Gearty, for the State, “he asked me to come over to the coffee table in the room. He took one of those ropes for priest’s vestments and he asked me to bend over the table. He tied my wrists to my ankles and pulled my shorts down.”

As the alleged rape took place and the then altar boy began to cry the defendant “closed a window and turned the music up. He said everything was fine and that he loved me”.

A second allegation of buggery took place at an enclosure near an area where the complainant and other children used play. The complainant was “nine or 10” and had a day off school for his birthday, something his mother allowed.

He met the accused who was driving to visit someone in hospital. When he came out the accused said they would “go for a drive”. They went to the enclosure, the complainant said.

The alleged rape on this occasion was sudden. When it ended the defendant wiped the complainant with “a skinny purple cloth thing that goes around his neck ”. A “silver box fell out of the pocket of his jacket”. It was like two boxes the complainant had seen in the church, “one for oil and for Holy Communion”.

The complainant also told the court he was abused by an uncle of his who he told about his abuse by the then priest. The uncle asked him to show him what the priest did and repeated the abuse. He also said he had been receiving counselling and had been in hospital “on several occasions”.

He agreed with David Keane, for the defence, that he had made six statements to gardai about the alleged abuse, the first in April 1993 which he withdrew in September 1995. He made “ a substantial statement” in March 1998, a further one in July 1999, another in June 2001 and a sixth statement in December 2003.

Mr Keane pointed out that in statements the complainant said the alleged enclosure buggery took place on his eighth birthday. He said the incident couldn’t have taken place that day, a Sunday, as the defendant had early Mass and two separate baptisms, one in another part of the city.

“So it wasn’t possible for a lengthy hospital visit,” Mr Keane suggested. He also pointed out that as part of his duties the defendant said early morning Mass at a local convent.

The complainant responded that he also served Masses there and at weddings. “I never heard that before,” said Mr Keane.


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