Former Priest Admits Sexual Assault and Attempted Rape

Irish Times
June 26, 2012

A FORMER priest has admitted the attempted rape of a young girl and the sexual assault of her brother in west Cork more than 30 years ago.

John Calnan (73), of the Presbytery, Paul Street, Cork, pleaded guilty to the attempted rape of the girl between January 1st, 1980, and April 30th, 1980, in west Cork. She was aged seven at the time.

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

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

The female victim told her mother, who in turn went to a member of the clergy about it. Shortly afterwards, Calnan was moved to another parish.

Alice Fawsitt SC, prosecuting, told Mr Justice Paul Carney that the accused "admitted to paedophile tendencies" towards the girl and that there was "a grooming process". The incident was first reported to gardaí in west Cork in May 2010.

The Central Criminal Court heard that the girl's parents were heavily involved in the church at the time and she would run errands, including delivering envelopes, to the priest's house. She and her siblings also used to play in the priest's yard.

Det Garda Maurice Shanley told the court the accused would visit the girl's family home and "would regularly have one of the kids on his knee". The court heard that the girl's brother also made an allegation against Calnan.

The judge said he would impose sentence on Calnan next Monday.


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