Saturday, February 28, 2009

Priest fails to have conviction for raping schoolgirl overturned

A Donegal priest yesterday lost his appeal against his conviction for raping a schoolgirl in a church sacristy over 20 years ago.

The Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed the appeal brought by Fr Daniel Doherty (49), with an address at Derriscleigh, Carrigart, Co Donegal, against his conviction on two charges each of rape and indecent assault.

In May 2006, a jury found Doherty guilty of raping the then 13-year-old girl in the sacristy on dates in 1985, of indecently assaulting her in the parochial house in 1985, and in his car on a date in December 1984.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison and the trial judge, Mr Justice Philip O'Sullivan, certified Doherty to be registered as a sex offender.

Doherty denied all the charges and appealed against his conviction. The DPP opposed the appeal.

In his appeal, Doherty claimed certain evidence put before the jury should not have been included as it was highly prejudicial to him. He also claimed the trial judge's charge to the jury was flawed.

Yesterday, the Court of Criminal Appeal said it was satisfied that no grounds which would render Doherty's conviction unsafe, had been made out.

The trial judge, Mr Justice O'Sullivan, had "not misdirected himself in law in any respect" nor was his charge to the jury in any way "insufficient" or "open to challenge", it said.

During Doherty's 2006 trial, his victim said that he stopped his car at a pier while driving her home one night in December 1984 and then climbed over on top of her kissing her and touching her body. She said he told her not to tell anyone, and that anybody would believe a priest before believing her.

She said he raped her for the first time in the toilet at the sacristy in 1985, while the second rape happened in the sacristy after she and another had attended confession.

A complaint made to her teachers during the 1980s did not result in a proper investigation.

She later made her allegations formally in a letter to the Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Seamus Hegarty, in 2003, which led to the garda investigation.

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(Source: II)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The sentence below flashed out at me like a glowing light from the above feature

She said he told her not to tell anyone, and "THAT ANYBODY WOULD BELIEVE A PRIEST BEFORE BELIEVING HER."

Unfortunately for a lot of victims of clergy in either civil or abuse cases that is actually the case where I have stressed in capitals that anybody would believe a Priest before they believe a member of the laity. It is an unfortunate reality because of the "brainwashing" of Catholics that they normally think a Priest CANNOT or WOULD NOT lie. However Priests like anyone else are firstly ordinary men and secondly a Priest and that they are no different to the rest of us. They will lie, even on Oath, to get themselves out of "sticky" situations and wrongdoings and the sooner we all realise that the better.

When you actually see a Priest lie on Oath the hurt you feel of betrayal of all you have held sacred in your faith is totally shattered as you believed it just could not happen and you are left in total shock that it has.

That shattering of your faith in your Church because of the lies told by the Priest are almost more damaging to you than the actual wrong doing he has done against you and leaves you forever more questioning about everything you have ever believed about the Church. The Priest in thinking of only getting himself out of a scrape does not know the actual damage he has done to his own Church, a Church he took vows to serve and horror or horrors he actually put his hand on his ultimate Bosses (God's) Bible and lied. That to most Catholics is beyond belief but it has happened and I have no doubt it will again.

Shame on these Priests for the damage they have done to their Church.