Saturday, September 28, 2013

Abuse by priest 'destroyed my family' an emotional and moving interview the 32-year-old man looked back on his years of torment by a man he believes was protected by the Catholic Church.

"I wanted to be a priest from a very young age, and in fact I wrote to the bishop when I was ten and, saying I wanted to be a priest," said David - not his real name.

"That dirty b****** has destroyed my faith. I don't even know if anybody exists up there anymore, I have no feelings for the Catholic Church whatsoever."

David's dreams of the priesthood were shattered when he became the target of unwelcome sexual assaults from the ruthless, sexual predator, Fr James Donaghy.

His ordeal began when he was a 13-year-old altar boy and continued into his 20s, such was the fear instilled in him by his abuser.

David is angry about the way Fr Donaghy destroyed his family.

The priest may be serving 10 years in jail for offences against David and three others, but he has left David carrying the life burden of guilt for the sins of the father.

"This never leaves you," he continued.

"When you have this, when you have all this stuff done to you and you have it done as a kid and you can't understand why and you fall out with your family. You feel like nobody loves you, you feel like you are dirt; you are damaged and it never, it just does not go away."

Eventually in 2009, it was a letter from the priest Pat Buckley to David and a follow up phone call that helped persuade him to finally speak out.

The case against Fr Donaghy was based on the testimony of David and another victim, Father Patrick McCafferty - but the path to justice was not smooth.

David explained: "We were brought into that courtroom, we thought we were going ahead with this and then suddenly the cases were going to be separated."

There would be two trials - the first involving the evidence of Fr McCafferty and later the trial involving David, who said he was devastated.

He said: "I still have bodily convulsions if it gets too much for me in my head, and I'll literally end up in a ball on the floor."

The priest denied all 23 charges going back 17 years.

Jailing Donaghy for 10 years in February 2012, Judge Patrick Lynch described him as a ruthless individual, a sexual predator who used his charm, humour and domineering personality to get his gratification.

Two months ago Fr Donaghy finally admitted in court to being a paedophile as another case was brought against him. He was convicted but will serve no extra time in prison.

As David reflects on his ordeal, he thinks of his parents' divorce brought about by Fr Donaghy playing one parent against the other to ensure access to David.

He said: "He took a leading role in the family whenever they had separated. He effectively in some sense did turn my mother against my father."