Belfast Telegraph

Sex offender John McDermott who unleashed 'tidal wave of abuse' jailed again

Predatory sex offender John Michael McDermott — who is already serving more than nine years for his involvement in the abuse of seven children — was jailed again for abusing yet another youngster.

It marks the fourth time in four years McDermott has been jailed for sex offences.

The 63-year-old and his three brothers unleashed “a tidal wave of abuse” on their quiet village of Donagh near Lisnaskea.

McDermott was jailed for the abuse of a schoolboy between August 1989 and September 1990 when the child was aged 12.

McDermott assaulted the boy at a GAA club and at a remote spot where the boy had gone fishing.

McDermott, from Moorlough Road in the village, was handed a total of six months for the two offences.

However, they will run simultaneously, meaning he will only serve an extra three months.

This will extend his release date from prison until August 2014.

Dungannon Crown Court Judge Jeffrey Miller QC said child sexual abuse was a “pernicious crime which can have devastating effects on the victim”.

“These crimes affect people in different ways and one should never seek even by implication to attribute blame to the victim. The responsibility and culpability must rightly stop at the door of the perpetrator,” he said.

Originally, two other brothers, 62-year-old James McDermott and Owen McDermott (54), were to have stood trial with him charged with sex offences committed during the 1970s and 80s.

However, they were deemed unfit to stand trial because of their mental disability.

While a jury found that they had carried out the abuse, there was public outcry when a two-year Supervision and Treatment Order allowed them to return to the family home beside a children's playground.

They have since moved to secure accommodation within a psychiatric hospital in Londonderry.

A fourth brother, 62-year-old Peter Paul McDermott, hanged himself the day after he went on trial for his role in the abuse, which the original trial judge, Judge David McFarland said, had turned what was “a quiet picturesque village in Co Fermanagh...into...a village that had an appalling secret, and it was the children who bore the brunt of the tidal wave of abuse”.

McDermott was originally jailed for nine years in June 2010 for abuse spanning a period of 35 years.

He was given an additional six months in October 2011 for sexually abusing a schoolboy in 2002, and finally another six weeks in September last year.

Judge McFarland said the deviant McDermott brothers had between them stolen the childhood of their victims, subjecting them to horrific abuse.

He said “some, of course suffered more than others, some for longer period, and some were abused by one or more brothers”.

However, when coming to deal with McDermott in 2011, Judge McFarland said the “sentence of six months is appropriate. On its own, I acknowledge, it is a lenient sentence. But when taken together with all the offences, it means a commensurate sentence of twelve and a half years, a sentence I believe correctly reflects your offending.”

McDermott's original sentence of nine-year jail, plus three years probation, followed his guilty pleas to a total of 35 offences, involving the abuse of, four boys and a girl, including the rape of a schoolboy, committed between 1969 and 2001.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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