Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

Priest abused me four times, man tells trial

A man who had abandoned his dream to become a priest broke down in court yesterday as he told a jury how a Catholic cleric sexually attacked him four times as a teenager.

James Doherty was the second witness to give evidence at the trial of Fr James Martin Donaghy (53), who denies 26 charges of sex abuse and indecent assault of three males, including another priest.

The 43-year-old west Belfast man, who now lives in London, was raised in the Stewartstown Road area and became an altar boy at the Church of St Michael the Archangel in Finaghy.

He told Belfast Crown Court that in his later teens he and other older boys used to help out as unofficial sacristans.

Mr Doherty said that the accused came to the parish in 1983 and was more “hip” than the other priests.

The witness said the first attack on him was when he was 17. He said it happened in November 1985 when the then parish priest Fr Agnew died and Mr Doherty stayed overnight at the parochial house.

He said a naked Fr Donaghy got into bed beside him and pulled down his underpants before attacking him. He said two of the other three assaults occurred in the parochial house of Corpus Christi where the accused had moved.

Mr Doherty fled to England after the assaults. However, he said he didn't report the incidents until 2003.

The trial continues.

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