Ex-priest jailed for 12 months for sex abuse

Irish Times
January 22, 2003

A former priest in the Archdiocese of Tuam who sexually abused two boys under 10 in his houses in two parishes has been sentenced to a prison term of 12 months on each count, to run concurrently.

During the hearing in the Western Circuit Court jurisdiction yesterday, John Molloy (43) said he regretted the shame he had brought on the Catholic Church and said he was still a religious man.

He was convicted of gross indecency against a boy under six between 1985 and 1987 and sexual assault of a 10-year-old boy in 1991.

Both victims outlined how the abuse had ruined their lives by stealing their innocence and childhood. The 10-year-old boy had called the priest a "pervert" and it was said that the realisation that the boy knew what was happening was wrong had frightened the former priest.

Molloy told the court: "Obviously, I cannot undo the hurt and harm that I have caused. With all my heart and all my life as it is, I earnestly apologise for that hurt, that pain.

"I just hope that through this process, through my admission of the hurt and pain I have caused, it will bring some healing to the life of the victims and their families."

The former priest revealed that in 1995, after the first offence was reported, the archbishop of Tuam at the time informed him of a therapy place in England where he could get help and treatment.

Judge Kevin Haugh said the defendant had abused the trust of families who trusted him with their children.

It was an appalling tragedy, but the offences committed were on the lower end of the scale.

The victims deserved enormous credit for their courage in coming forward.

One of the victims had been cruelly called "a queer, a faggot and a homosexual" by local people, and he hoped that those people would now apologise for the terrible wrong they had done.

Sentencing Molloy to 12 months imprisonment on each count, Judge Haugh directed that he be placed on the sex offenders register, but declined to impose a post-custodial supervision order.

The Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Michael Neary, said in a statement he was "deeply saddened by the crimes committed by John Molloy who was convicted today at Westport of having sexually abused children".

He added: "John Molloy served in this archdiocese from August 1985 to February 1995, when he was withdrawn from ministry by my predecessor, Dr Joseph Cassidy. He did not thereafter return to priestly work and was laicised in 1998.

"To those who have suffered abuse as children in this case, I offer my most sincere sympathy and support. I offer them, furthermore, a profound apology on behalf of the Archdiocese of Tuam . . .

"I take this opportunity to stress my own personal commitment to child protection and to confirm that the church's 1996 guidelines in this regard are fully operational in the Archdiocese of Tuam.

"I am determined to ensure that, as far as is humanly possible, a safe environment is provided in every parish for all of our children and young people," the Archbishop's statement concluded.






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