Ex-Priest Sentenced to Four Years

February 29, 2012

[with video]

A victim of Co Down convicted paedophile and former priest, Daniel Curran - who was jailed on Wednesday for four years - has told UTV he was "scared to live and afraid to die", as a result of the abuse he suffered.

The 61-year-old former priest, from Bryansford Avenue in Newcastle, was told by Judge David Smyth QC that a jury trial could have seen him sentenced to 18 years behind bars.

As it was, Curran had pleaded guilty at Downpatrick Crown Court to five charges of indecently assaulting two boys while he was a parish priest in west Belfast between 1989 and 1994 and was handed the four-year term.

Standing emotionless in the dock, Curran was told by Judge Smyth that he had abused the trust his position as a priest afforded him and that the acts of abuse were not isolated incidents.

"You systematically set out to abuse these children - you knew exactly what you were doing when you asked their parents to put them in your care," the judge said.

Curran regularly took boys, aged nine and ten, from St Paul's parish to his isolated cottage near Tyrella beach in Co Down.

The youngsters went on the promise of an escape from the daily violence then raging on their streets - but instead they were plied with alcohol and sexually abused.

"He was a charmer and he used his personality to build trust. He's obviously worked very hard at gaining trust in order to be able to gain access to me and many other people like me," one of his victims told UTV.

"Several times, I had wanted to kill myself."

Curran has previous convictions for sex offences and was sentenced in 1995 to seven years for abusing nine boys - the youngest aged just eight.

Members of the victims' families wept and hugged each other in the public gallery on Wednesday, as sentence was again passed on the ex-priest.

In a statement, Bishop Noel Treanor apologised on behalf of the Diocese of Down and Connor and said he sincerely regretted the pain and distress that had been caused to victims.

"Indeed, the entire Catholic community suffers whenever trust is betrayed in this manner by any person ministering in her name," he said.

"It is my hope that the sentence handed down today will assist those affected on their journey towards healing.

"I would reiterate the Diocese's unequivocal apologies to all those who have suffered abuse by clergy and religious and give the reassurance that the safeguarding of children and young people is paramount," he said.


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