'Sexual predator' ex-priest jailed

Published Friday, 10 February 2012
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A former priest who used his "ruthless" character, as well as "charm and humour", to befriend and abuse three victims has been jailed for 10 years.

'Sexual predator' ex-priest jailed
A priest used his "ruthless" character to befriend his victims. (© UTV)

Judge Patrick Lynch QC told 53-year-old "sexual predator" James Martin Donaghy that his litany of offences and other similar offences had "seriously compromised, perhaps irrevocably" the trust in the priesthood in this country and others.

He also told Donaghy that he had damaged, not just his three victims, but also the reputation of the church and his colleagues - "the great majority of whom are beyond reproach".

Donaghy appeared to remain aloof in the dock, during sentencing at Belfast Crown Court on Friday.

At the end of his trial last year, a jury convicted Donaghy - from Lady Wallace Drive in Lisburn - of a total of 23 sex offences, committed over a 17-year time span against three victims who were all teenagers when the abuse first began.

Over the course of the five-week hearing, the three victims - Father Patrick McCafferty, James Doherty, and a third man who cannot be identified for legal reasons - all gave evidence against the "domineering and controlling" priest who subjected them to bouts of distressing abuse.

On Friday, Judge Lynch said Donaghy had left them all with emotional scars and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

As well as the ten-year jail term, the judge ordered that Donaghy remains on the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life and also imposed a 15-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order, barring the paedophile from being alone with children, working with children, or living in accommodation without approval.

© UTV News
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14 Comments
lorna in limavady wrote (1,015 days ago):
Paddy the same could be said of the RUC don't judge all by the works of a few...The Roman Catholic church is more open and people will complain about abuse and this is good that the abused can talk and not feel they will be isolated as was before. When that was not the case the church must have attracted these people for it was easy to carry on with their evil deeds and when complaints came in they were sent away. Having Priests of such nature helped noone and are an threat to any occupation
laura in ballymena wrote (1,015 days ago):
MIRAM, are you serious? Explain yourself please.
Mark in Belfast wrote (1,015 days ago):
Miriam - I think you are the person who should be ashamed! I can not believe that you would even write such a remark! Mr Donaghy is a Criminal and people like him have no place anywhere within Church! And for you to make such a pathetic, uninformed remark is shocking! It is peopl like you and Priest and Bishops with your view point who have our Church in the mess that it is in. Justice was served - and rightly so! But in my opinion he did not get long enough! After all of his actions, he made those poor men get up in court and speak about every detail of what he done! He is the scum of this earth, and you should be totally ashamed and disgusted with yourself for your remarks!
Mary C in Wexford, Ireland wrote (1,017 days ago):
Miram, if you are not a troll (and even if you are) it is you who should be ashamed of making such an ill-informed and callous comment about a person and a situation you clearly know nothing about. Is it not enough for you that a fellow human being has endured 30 years of unimaginable emotional and psychological pain and suffering in consequence of his abuse at the hands of a (now convicted) sexual predator? Must you now impugn his honesty, courage and integrity in going through the ordeal of giving evidence, detailing his horrific abuse in open court and being vigorously cross-examined by the defence counsel? And, I might add, doing so while waiving his right to anonymity. I suggest your moral compass needs recalibrating if you think that Fr McCafferty has anything to be ashamed of in helping to put a dangerous sexual offender behind bars.
tanya khellal in belfast wrote (1,017 days ago):
I sat in the public gallery watching this case and i felt sick not knowing the finer details of what occured were going to be highlightened as such.I will never forget the tears rollling down one of victims faces for the rest of my life.
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