Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Former priest in abuse trial slams claims as ridiculous

A former priest sighed in exasperation during police interviews after he was accused of a string of sex offences and accused his three alleged victims of lying, a jury has heard.

James Martin Donaghy (53) told police the abuse allegations were “outrageous” and “ridiculous”, Belfast Crown Court was told yesterday.

The court also heard that during one interview focusing on allegations made by James Doherty, also known as Seamus, Donaghy sighed in exasperation as he told police: “That's a complete and utter lie and I'm outraged at the very thought that he would say that about me.”

Mr Doherty, who told the jury he wanted to be a priest himself until he was subjected to the alleged sexual attacks, has claimed that Donaghy abused him when he was an altar boy at the Church of St Michael the Archangel in Finaghy.

The witness said the first attack on him occurred when he was 17 in November 1985 when the then parish priest Fr Agnew died and Mr Doherty stayed overnight at the parochial house. He claimed that a naked Fr Donaghy got into bed beside him and attacked him.

He further claimed that two of the other three assaults occurred in the parochial house of Corpus Christi where the accused had moved.

Donaghy, from Lady Wallace Drive in Lisburn, denies a total of 26 charges involving the alleged sex abuse and indecent assault of three males between June 1983 and December 2000, including Fr Patrick McCafferty, another trainee priest and Mr Doherty.

Yesterday, the jury heard the transcript of a police interview which concentrated on the incident following Fr Agnew’s death.

Donaghy exclaimed: “I have never ever done that to anybody, never and I resent that being put to me because it's a lie.” He said Doherty had “never” stayed in the parochial house and said the allegations were “incredible”.

The trial continues.

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