Sex abuse priest jailed for two years for further offences

A priest from Lisburn who is serving a ten-year jail sentence for sex crimes against three victims has been sentenced to two years for abusing a boy - however he will not serve any extra time in prison.

Friday, 5th July 2013, 3:08 pm

James Martin Donaghy, 55, originally from Lady Wallace Drive, admitted four charges of indecently assaulting the boy and one of common assault between January and May 1989.

Donaghy was told during sentencing at Belfast Crown Court on Friday that had these current offences been dealt with when he was originally sentenced, they would have been taken into consideration.

Given the “principle of totality”, Judge Kinney said, his sentence would run concurrently with the previous term.

The fact that the case had not been dealt with sooner was nobody’s fault, the judge said, and in particular there could be no criticism of Donaghy’s victim.

Donaghy, who was a priest in the west Belfast parish of Corpus Christi, Ballymurphy, told the young boy he could get his dead grandfather into heaven as he sexually abused him.

Judge Kinney said that while Donaghy’s guilty pleas deserved credit, the priest claimed that he could not recall the actual abuse which suggested denial on his part.

He added that Donaghy was still considered a dangerous offender and posed a significant risk of serious harm to the public. His crimes were all the more pernicious because they had involved a breach of trust of a youngster in a vulnerable position.

However, Judge Kinney said there were some indications of remorse. The judge said that it could only be hoped his guilty pleas would contribute and allow his victim closure to this harrowing part of his life.

Donaghy heard he would have been jailed for four years, and once again he was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and banned from working with children and vulnerable adults.