GAA referee convicted for abuse

Published Tuesday, 10 June 2014
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A victim of a well known GAA referee has appealed for other victims of child sex abuse to come forward and bring their abuser before the courts to get the justice they deserve.

GAA referee convicted for abuse
Patrick Francis McQuillan was convicted at Antrim Crown Court. (© UTV)

His call came as his abuser Patrick Francis McQuillan, from Moyle Avenue, Ballycastle was convicted on Monday of a catalogue of sex abuse crimes involving six victims from the Co Antrim seaside town on differing dates stretching from December 1985 to March 2000.

McQuillan, a father-of-four and also a well known GAA referee and scout master, was involved with St John's Ambulance as a first-aid worker and was employed as a local part-time fireman.

He was convicted at Antrim Crown Court of a total of 38 offences including indecent assault and gross indecency with or towards a child.

Speaking later, one of his victims, who did not want to be named, said going to the police was "absolutely the best decision I have ever made in my life" as he talked of encouraging other sex abuse victims to come forward.

The man, who was first abused when he was aged about ten, said he had started off, thinking he was a lone victim when going to the police. However, following his example, other victims came to tell their story.

It has brought closure to that part of my life ... I pray to God that if it has happened to anybody else ... I hope to God they come forward.

Abuse victim

He added: "You know you couldn't make up the stuff that happened. Some of the stuff should never happen to a young child. Never."

"I have been living with this for years, letting it go on, and while I went on with what I thought was my normal life, it wasn't normal. It was always hanging there, over you. I thought I had buried it deep in the back of my head, but the older I got ... you know when you are in a bad place and you start taking it out on others who are only trying to help you, and you know it is not right".

However, the man said he felt sorry for the family of his abuser who had "hid it so well" over the years.

"Unfortunately his family is paying for it now as they will be living the prison sentence as well," he added.

His trial had heard that over the years McQuillan had abused his victims either in his or their homes, and some of his victims were regularly abused over a number of years.

The abuse, it was said, followed a similar pattern, and often started with McQuillan touching his victims over their clothing.

However, it soon progressed to incidents where he touched them, and or, tried to get them to touch him.

In one case, McQuillan indecently assaulted one of his victims while on the pretext of teaching him to swim.

He originally faced a total of 51 child sex abuse charges, involving seven complaints.

The jury, of seven men and five women who spent more than six hours deliberating, over two days, acquitted him of indecently assaulting one of them, a girl.

However, the jury convicted him of sexually abusing all six of his male victims from when they were youngsters until they were in their teens.

McQuillan, was convicted, either on unaminous or majority verdicts, of 38 charges.

In addition to acquitting him of indecently assaulting the girl, he was also cleared of ten other charges involving five of his male victims.

They also failed to reach verdicts in two other counts, and were discharged from having to bring in a decision on one of the charges.

The GAA man, who coached both girls and boys, will be sentenced next month.

© UTV News
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