January 2003

Ex-priest jailed for assaulting schoolboys

A former Irish Roman Catholic priest has been jailed for a year, after being convicted of assaulting two schoolboys.

John Molloy, 44, sexually assaulted a boy who was under the age of six, at the curate’s house in the parish where he was ministering in 1985.

Six years later he carried out a similar offence against a 10-year-old in a parish to which he had been transferred.

Judge Kevin Haugh, sitting at Westport, Co Mayo, heard Molloy, who resigned from the priesthood in 1995, had intimately fondled the two boys.

One of the victims told the court the ex-priest had stolen his innocence. He said his life had been destroyed by some of the comments made by people in his home town.

He said he had held his father’s gun up to his head at times since the incident and there were occasions when he felt he was going to kill himself.

The judge paid tribute to the victim who had given evidence and said he hoped “those small minded people” who had abused him on the streets of his hometown would see fit to apologise to “this young man who had the courage to stick his chin out and make a complaint”.

Michael Neary, the Archbishop of Tuam, the diocese in which Molloy served, said he was saddened by the crimes committed by the former priest.

He said Molloy had been withdrawn from the ministry in 1995. The archbishop added: “To those who have suffered abuse as children in this case I offer my most sincere sympathy and support.

“I offer them, furthermore, a profound apology on behalf of the Archdiocese of Tuam.”