A court has heard an apology from a 79-year-old former priest to a woman for the "torture" of sexual abuse he subjected her to from the age of 11.
Paul McGennis, of Holy Cross Diocesan Centre, Clonliffe Road, Dublin 3, pleaded guilty to eight sample counts of indecent assault on the female at two locations in the city on dates between June 1980 and May 1984.
Judge Desmond Hogan remanded McGennis on continuing bail and will sentence him at the end of the month.
The court heard the abuse took place in the priest’s house in one Dublin parish and continued after he moved to another in the city.
Sgt Brian Lyons told Martina Baxter BL prosecuting, the ex-priest would always have chocolate in the house and would give the girl sweets and toys but when she began to get older he would give her money after having sex.
The woman said the abuse continued because she was a child and was scared.
She said she would “get messages” for McGennis and that the abuse began when she was late returning from an errand on one occasion and he “gave out” to her. The woman said the abuse would take place almost every fortnight in the bedroom of the parish house and in a waiting room.
She said when she would return from running errands a housekeeper would let her in and although not in the same room, was often present in the house while the abuse took place. She said the abuse continued after he moved to a different address and when she began having her period he started to use condoms.
Sgt Lyons said the girl would be crying during the abuse as he was hurting her and she could not breathe as she was asthmatic. She said that she would ask McGennis to stop but he continued.
She complained to gardaí a number of years ago after receiving counselling following a suicide attempt.
When interviewed by gardaí in 2009, McGennis denied the allegations but he pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this year.
McGennis was called to the witness box, where he apologised for the "torture" he had put her through.
“I would like to apologise most sincerely to (the victim) and her family for the stress and torture I have put them through and for the fact that my initial denials must have made it worse. For that early denial I apologise profoundly to the family,” he added.
In her victim impact statement, the victim said he had “taken away my innocence, my childhood memories, my chance of an education and my prospects for the future”.
The abuse continued to threaten her marriage and denied her the chance to have children, she said. It left her without self-esteem or the ability to form and maintain relationships.
The court heard McGennis has four previous convictions for indecent assault and has served a prison sentence.
On June 24th, 1997 he was sentenced to 18 months for two indecent assaults for an offence in 1960 and received an 18-month sentence.
On June 27th, 1997 he was sentenced for two indecent assaults occurring between May 1977 and 1979 and received nine months concurrent to the other sentences. He appealed these sentences and served nine months for the offences.
Agreed that it is a huge scandel that needs to be more addressed.
More scandal on its way
A long-awaited report into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in the Diocese of Cloyne is due to be made public within weeks.
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said today the Murphy report is expected to be brought before Cabinet on Tuesday, July 12th and published shortly after.
The report centres on allegations of child sexual abuse against 19 clerics operating in the diocese between 1996 and 2009.
The High Court ruled in April one chapter be censored over fears it could prejudice the criminal trial of an alleged pedophile priest.
Mr Shatter said he had hoped the report would have been published by now.
“It’s been a long drawn out process of consultations involving lawyers who had an interest in the matter and unfortunately it’s been more long drawn out than I anticipated,” he said.“It looked as if it might be necessary to make a court application to get some further clarity on the matter, but as a result of legal advice I received at the end of last week that doesn’t appear to be the case.
“We’re now moving to a position where it is likely the report can be brought before cabinet on Tuesday week and published very shortly thereafter,” he told RTÉ.
Its publication follows a two-year investigation by Circuit Court judge Yvonne Murphy, who also investigated the handling of abuse claims in the Dublin Archdiocese.
The statutory inquiry was ordered in January 2009 after a damning report by the Catholic Church’s abuse watchdog found that the then Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, took minimal action over a series of child abuse allegations against two of his priests.
Branding his child protection inadequate and dangerous, the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) in the Catholic Church said that what little action the bishop took was also inappropriately delayed.
The former Vatican aide, from Newry in Co Down, faced down repeated calls to quit his post in Cork until his resignation was finally accepted by Rome in March 2010.
Dr Magee, who served as private secretary to three different popes, apologised to victims when the inquiry’s scathing report was first published on the internet the week before Christmas 2008 but refused to resign.
It detailed how he failed to inform authorities about abuse allegations.
A second audit by health chiefs, published in January 2009, found the bishop failed to tell authorities one of his priests was under investigation for abuse. At the same time, he claimed he was fully compliant with child protection
His daily duties were later taken over by Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, before his resignation was accepted.
Maeve Lewis, of support group One in Four, said she welcomed the publication of the report as soon as possible.
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