July 2011

Donegal abuse victim asks how child abuser kept caretaker job

A Donegal caretaker who returned to work in a school where he had previously sexually abused a child, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for molesting and raping four more boys in the same school.

The final four years of the sentence were suspended.

Michael Ferry, 55, from Carrick Boyle, Gweedore, Co Donegal, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 38 sample charges of rape, 18 sex assaults and two charges of production of child abuse images between July 1990 and September 2005.

The abuse happened at Ard Scoil Mhuire in Derrybeg, which is a former school building that is used for Irish language courses in summer. The boys were not pupils at the Irish language school.

The court heard they would regularly go to the school to play football and hang around.

The boys, aged between ten and 17 years old, were sexually abused on an almost weekly basis, some for as long as four years.

Ferry groomed them by supplying them with alcohol, cigarettes and money.

He would also make them watch pornography with him.

Mr Justice Paul Carney said it was a disturbing feature of this case that the outrages perpetrated in the school pre-dated and post-dated the man’s conviction for indecent assault at the same school.

He was convicted in 2002 for two incidents of indecent assault in 1985 and 1986, received a six-month suspended sentence and was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years.

Mr Justice Carney said this must have been known to local gardaí and presumably the school authorities.

He said despite the fact that he had pleaded guilty to the previous charge, he remained working at the school and had the opportunity to engage in the stalking and grooming of the boys in this case.

He said the aggravating factors in this case were the systemic grooming of boys, the premeditation, the breach of his position of trust and the multiplicity of victims and offences.

In mitigation, he said Ferry had pleaded guilty and showed genuine remorse.

Ferry was a caretaker in the building all year round.

At the time of the offences, the school was operating as a summer school.

Two of the boys told gardaí they were abused by him when he got them so drunk they were afraid to go home to their parents.

Another woke up from a vodka induced sleep and found himself naked and bleeding.

In victim impact statements read to the court, the four boys, who are now young adults, described being through a nightmare.

Some said they had turned to drink and drugs. One said the abuse had taken over his life.

Another said the abuse was like being pounced on by a wild animal. Another said he had crashed his car and motorbike into a wall on two different occasions.


Ferry pictured above on right

Victim waives his anonymity

In a statement outside the court, one of Ferry’s victims asked why Ferry was not stopped after he was brought before the courts in 2002.

Derek Mulligan, who waived his anonymity, also asked why his employers still employed him.

Mr Mulligan said he believed someone so sick and perverted never changed.

He also urged other victims of sexual abuse to come forward and said it was not until he came forward that his nightmare ended.

Mr Mulligan described Ferry as a demon who had shown no remorse. His only remorse was for being caught, he said.