Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Porn scandal priest to leave area

Fr Martin McVeigh

The priest at the centre of a stand-off over the accidental showing of pornographic images at a presentation to parents in a Co Tyrone primary school is to leave the area.

Parish Priest of Pomeroy Father Martin McVeigh announced his decision following a row that has brewed for weeks after parents were outraged when the indecent images of men were screened as the clergyman began a PowerPoint presentation in preparation for their children's First Holy Communion.

The priest, as well as Catholic primate Cardinal Sean Brady, issued statements where Fr McVeigh denied being responsible for the images, and said he destroyed the memory stick carrying the pictures because he was shocked in the aftermath of the incident.

Both Catholic church figures said he will leave the parish and take a break from his work, though the cardinal said the priest would return to the Diocese at some future date.

The cardinal said computers at the parish were examined as part of an inquiry and no inappropriate images were found, but a laptop stolen from the church in the aftermath of the incident had not been examined.

Fr McVeigh said: "I deeply regret my failure to check, in advance, my presentation. I had no knowledge of any offending imagery existing in it. After the images were inadvertently shown, I immediately removed the memory stick from the laptop. In my shock and upset and in my concern to ensure that the images would never be shown again, I destroyed it later that evening."

His statement to parishioners added: "I appreciate that the incident was very serious in nature and caused much anxiety and distress, particularly to those who were present on the evening in question and I apologise unreservedly for the hurt caused."

Cardinal Brady said the incident had caused "concern and offence to those who were present".

He added: "Since that time the diocese has undertaken an investigation into two computers in the sacristy as well as computer equipment both in the parish office and in the Parochial House used by Father McVeigh. These have been forensically examined by an independent technical expert and no inappropriate imagery has been found.

"However an additional laptop, which was located in the sacristy, was stolen in the period following the March 26 meeting with parents. This stolen laptop did not form part of the technical examination and its theft was reported to the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland)."

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