Fr Terrence Rafferty avoids prison after sex assault

Image caption,
Fr Rafferty was the former administrator of Newry Cathedral

The former administrator of Newry Cathedral has been sentenced to 100 hours community service for indecently assaulting a teenage girl.

Father Terrence Rafferty, of Chestnut Grove, Newry, pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault.

The priest was also given a three-year probation order.

The details of the case were only released after a court ban protecting the priest's identity was lifted.

This followed a request from the victim. The incident happened more than a decade ago.

Fr Rafferty, who has now resigned as parish priest in Donaghmore, has been banned from working with children or vulnerable adults for 10 years.

The judge told him he had abused the position of trust he had enjoyed as a priest.

Monsignor Aidan Hamill, the vicar general of the diocese, said the matter was now the subject of an internal church process.

"A betrayal of sacred trust occurred in this case," he said.

"On behalf of the diocese, I want to offer my sincere apologies for the anguish and distress which the complainant and her family have suffered and to give the reassurance that the safeguarding of children and young people is paramount."