Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Priest pleas for mercy for rape accuser

A priest who was falsely accused of rape pleaded for leniency for the Dublin city man who claimed he had abused him as a child.

Paul Anderson (aged 34), of Crumlin Park, Crumlin and formerly of Fatima Mansions and Iveagh Trust Flats, New Bride Street has been jailed for four years for falsely claiming he was buggered by a priest when he six years old.

The accused priest forgave the defendant but admitted: “I would have honestly preferred had the perpetrator shot me through the head rather than have put me and my family through the pangs of anxiety and the profound sufferings we endured over the past four years."

Paul Anderson was convicted in June by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury of falsely claiming the priest sexually abused him while allegedly giving him First Holy Communion tuition over 25 years ago.

The priest accused by Anderson told the court during cross-examination that he "absolutely had not abused and buggered" Anderson and that his allegations were "appalling".

When the garda investigation revealed that Anderson's claims were all untrue, the priest was reinstated to his pastoral ministry at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve 2003 and received a standing ovation from the congregation.

During the trial Anderson repeated the claim that acts of indecent assault were committed on him by the priest in the period February to May 1981.

However, he failed to convince the jury.

The priest said he would be forever grateful to the professionalism of members of An Garda Síochána who "gave me back my life" and particularly Det. Sgt Mooney and Det. Gda Kavanagh "who approached this case with meticulous attention to detail that uncovered the truth and led to justice being done".

He said that since Jesus Christ’s forgiveness was 'seventy times seven times' then “surely I must be able to find it in me to forgive Paul Anderson - which I now do - and I do so wholeheartedly”.

"So may I sincerely ask that this be taken into merciful consideration by the court when sentence is being passed," he said.

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