"Sexual Predator" Ex-priest Jailed

February 10, 2012

A former priest who used his "ruthless" character, as well as "charm and humour", to befriend and abuse three victims has been jailed for 10 years.

Judge Patrick Lynch QC told 53-year-old "sexual predator" James Martin Donaghy that his litany of offences and other similar offences had "seriously compromised, perhaps irrevocably" the trust in the priesthood in this country and others.

He also told Donaghy that he had damaged, not just his three victims, but also the reputation of the church and his colleagues - "the great majority of whom are beyond reproach".

Donaghy appeared to remain aloof in the dock, during sentencing at Belfast Crown Court on Friday.

At the end of his trial last year, a jury convicted Donaghy - from Lady Wallace Drive in Lisburn - of a total of 23 sex offences, committed over a 17-year time span against three victims who were all teenagers when the abuse first began.

Over the course of the five-week hearing, the three victims - Father Patrick McCafferty, James Doherty, and a third man who cannot be identified for legal reasons - all gave evidence against the "domineering and controlling" priest who subjected them to bouts of distressing abuse.

On Friday, Judge Lynch said Donaghy had left them all with emotional scars and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

As well as the ten-year jail term, the judge ordered that Donaghy remains on the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life and also imposed a 15-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order, barring the paedophile from being alone with children, working with children, or living in accommodation without approval.








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