Belfast Telegraph

Ex-priest guilty of child sex assaults

A paedophile former priest has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a boy and a girl between 30 and 40 years ago.

Wheelchair-bound 71-year-old Joseph Michael Steele sat to the side of counsels' benches at Belfast Crown Court as he pleaded guilty to a total of 10 sex offences.

Steele, with an address at Kimmage Manor, Crumlin, Dublin, admitted five counts of indecent assault and two of gross indecency committed against the male child on dates between January 1967 and January 1971 and a further three counts of indecently assaulting his female victim on dates between August 1979 and July 1983.

No details of the offences were revealed in court yesterday and Steele was released on continuing bail pending the completion of probation pre-sentence reports before he is sentenced next month.

It is not the first time Steele has been before the courts accused of sex offences.

More than 16 years ago, in February 1996, the member of the Holy Ghost Order confessed to and apologised for 11 charges of indecent assault and one of gross indecency, which took place between 1969 and 1983 when he was a pastor and chaplain of a children's home.

The offences related to the sexual molestation of two boys and three girls between the ages of nine and 15.

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