Priest James Donaghy jailed for two years for further abuse

James Donaghy James Donaghy was sentenced to two years in jail

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A priest who is serving a ten-year jail sentence for sex crimes against three victims has been sentenced to two years for abusing a boy.

In June, James Martin Donaghy, 55, originally from Lady Wallace Drive, Lisburn, admitted four charges of indecently assaulting the boy and one of common assault.

The offences happened between January and May 1989.

However, Donaghy will not serve any extra time in prison.

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

In the circumstances, given the "principle of totality", he said his sentence would run concurrently with the previous term.

The judge said no-one had been at fault for the case not being dealt with sooner, and in particular there could be no criticism of Donaghy's victim.

Sexual abuse, he added, had "devastating consequences and not all victims are ready to voice their complaints at an early stage".


The court heard that at the time of the offences, Donaghy was a priest in the west Belfast parish of Corpus Christi, Ballymurphy. He told the youngster 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 "callous and abusive" treatment of his victim had had a lasting effect on him, he said.

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.

The judge also told Donaghy, who was again put on the Sex Offenders' Register for life and banned from working with children and vulnerable adults, that had he contested the charges, he would have been jailed for four years.

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