A priest who is serving a ten-year jail sentence for sex crimes against three victims has been sentenced to two years for abusing a boy.
In June, James Martin Donaghy, 55, originally from Lady Wallace Drive, Lisburn, admitted four charges of indecently assaulting the boy and one of common assault.
The offences happened between January and May 1989.
However, Donaghy will not serve any extra time in prison.
At Belfast Crown Court on Friday, Judge Kinney told Donaghy that had these current offences been dealt with when he was originally sentenced, they would have been taken into consideration.
In the circumstances, given the “principle of totality”, he said his sentence would run concurrently with the previous term.
The judge said no-one had been at fault for the case not being dealt with sooner, and in particular there could be no criticism of Donaghy’s victim.
Sexual abuse, he added, had “devastating consequences and not all victims are ready to voice their complaints at an early stage”.
The court heard that at the time of the offences, Donaghy was a priest in the west Belfast parish of Corpus Christi, Ballymurphy. He told the youngster he could get his dead grandfather into heaven as he sexually abused him.
Judge Kinney said that while Donaghy’s guilty pleas deserved credit, the priest claimed that he could not recall the actual abuse which suggested denial on his part.
He added that Donaghy was still considered a dangerous offender and posed a significant risk of serious harm to the public. His “callous and abusive” treatment of his victim had had a lasting effect on him, he said.
His crimes were all the more pernicious because they had involved a breach of trust of a youngster in a vulnerable position.
However, Judge Kinney said there were some indications of remorse. The judge said that it could only be hoped his guilty pleas would contribute and allow his victim closure to this harrowing part of his life.
The judge also told Donaghy, who was again put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and banned from working with children and vulnerable adults, that had he contested the charges, he would have been jailed for four years.
Donaghy is already serving a ten-year jail sentence in Magilligan for sex crimes against three victims.
He had been due to go on trial atBelfast Crown Court on Wednesday, but instead defence QC Eugene Grant asked for the charges to be put to the sexual predator again.
Speaking in a calm, clear voice Donaghy, wearing a blue suit, white shirt and blue striped tie, entered guilty pleas to four charges of indecently assaulting a male child and a further charge of committing common assault against the same boy on dates between January and May 1989.
As he entered his guilty pleas, his victim’s mother wept quietly in the public gallery before fleeing the court in tears.
No facts of the case were opened in court and His Honour Judge Kinney remanded Donaghy back into custody until July 2, when he will be sentenced after pre-sentence probation reports have been compiled.
Judge Kinney told Donaghy he would be placed on the police sex offenders register and barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.
However it can now be revealed that given his previous litany of offences, the priest, described by another judge as a “ruthless” character, is already on both lists for life.
In February last year following a five-week hearing in the very same courtroom, Donaghy, whose address was given as c/o Magilligan Prison but who is originally from Lady Wallace Drive in Lisburn, was jailed for ten years.
He was convicted by a jury of a total of 23 sex offences committed over a 17-year time span against three victims, who were all teenagers when the abuse first began.
Those offences included indecent assaults and committing acts of gross indecency with two, as well as attempted buggery with his third victim.
His victims Father Patrick McCafferty, James Doherty and a third man who cannot be identified for legal reasons, gave evidence against the “domineering and controlling” priest who subjected them to bouts of sickening abuse.
While Father McCafferty’s ordeal began in the early 80s when he was a trainee priest and continued on until 1987, Donaghy’s other two victims were young choir boys in the churches where the predatory paedophile was a parish priest.
In jailing Donaghy in February last year, Judge Patrick Lynch QC described him as a “ruthless individual” and “sexual predator” who used his charm, humour and “domineering personality” to get his gratification.
‘Sexual predator’ ex-priest jailed
A former priest who used his “ruthless” character, as well as “charm and humour”, to befriend and abuse three victims has been jailed for 10 years.
Judge Patrick Lynch QC told 53-year-old “sexual predator” James Martin Donaghy that his litany of offences and other similar offences had “seriously compromised, perhaps irrevocably” the trust in the priesthood in this country and others.
He also told Donaghy that he had damaged, not just his three victims, but also the reputation of the church and his colleagues – “the great majority of whom are beyond reproach”.
Donaghy appeared to remain aloof in the dock, during sentencing at Belfast Crown Court on Friday.
At the end of his trial last year, a jury convicted Donaghy – from Lady Wallace Drive in Lisburn – of a total of 23 sex offences, committed over a 17-year time span against three victims who were all teenagers when the abuse first began.
Over the course of the five-week hearing, the three victims – Father Patrick McCafferty, James Doherty, and a third man who cannot be identified for legal reasons – all gave evidence against the “domineering and controlling” priest who subjected them to bouts of distressing abuse.
On Friday, Judge Lynch said Donaghy had left them all with emotional scars and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
As well as the ten-year jail term, the judge ordered that Donaghy remains on the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life and also imposed a 15-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order, barring the paedophile from being alone with children, working with children, or living in accommodation without approval.