Retired Assistant Priest Spared Jailed Following Sex Attacks on Teenage Boys

Evening Times
July 1, 2015

A RETIRED assistant priest has been spared jail string of sex attacks on three teenage boys including one from Glasgow.

The then-father Colman McGrath abused two boys who were training to join the priesthood at Blairs College in Aberdeen.

McGrath, 76, then went on to indecently assault another school boy he was tutoring at his chapel in Langside, Glasgow’s South Side.

The abuse only came to light years later and in June 2014 McGrath - who retired in 2006 - was interviewed by police about his conduct.

At Glasgow Sheriff Court McGrath pled guilty to three charges of indecent assault between August 1972 and September 1982.

Yesterday Sheriff Kenneth Mitchell imposed a community payback order with the conditions that he will be supervised for three years and must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in 12 months.

He was also put on the Sex Offenders’ register for three years.

The court heard McGrath was ordained as a priest in June 1962 and between August 1963 and June 1978 taught at Blairs College in Aberdeen, where young men studied with a view to joining the priesthood.

He was then based at St Helen’s Presbytery in Langside between 1979 and 1984.

Procurator fiscal depute Mark Allan told the court that the first charge which spans between August 1972 and June 1973 involved a 17-year-old boy at the school.

He said McGrath’s first victim was in his sixth year and his attacker commented about a skin condition on his back.

In March 2014, the victim contacted the Archdiocese and reported the incidents.

The court was told the second victim - a 16-year-old pupil - remembers four incidents between August 1973 and February 1974.

The final victim McGrath preyed on was a 14-year-old student struggling with maths and sent to him for tutoring in September 1980 at St Helen’s Presbytery in Langside, Glasgow.

He was hit on the hand with a belt when there was a mistake made during teaching sessions which progressed to being spanked by the priest.

The court was told during his police interview in June 2014 he remembered the boys involved but denied the allegations.

It was said on McGrath’s behalf that in the interview he said he could not recall incidents rather than it being outright denial.

It was also said that McGrath took exception to the incidents being linked with confession.

He claimed that something might have been said in confession, but were separate and confession would never have happened in his room.

McGrath, through is lawyer, made an “unreserved and full apology” to all three victims and said that they “feature regularly in the prayers of the accused”.








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