November 2018

Twisted former Donegal priest jailed for nine months after ‘simulating sex’ with child as he drove her to Dublin in his car

Twisted Con Cunningham was sentenced to nine months in prison

A former priest has been sentenced to nine months in prison for three counts of indecent assault against a girl.

Vile Con Cunningham, of Glen Road, Carrick, Co Donegal, “simulated sex” with a girl as he drove her to Dublin in his car.

In jailing the twisted 83-year-old at Donegal Town Circuit Court, Judge John Aylmer said he did not accept that the offences were at the “lower end of the scale”.

The judge said while no penetration had taken place the ex-priest put his tongue down her throat simulated oral sex and had pushed the child’s face into his crotch until he satisfied himself.

He had left the child with stains and bruising to her genital area from “simulated sex”.

The judge said the defendant had climbed on top of the girl and a “significant level of both force and violence” was used.

The then Fr Cunningham had begun the abuse by initially sitting her on his knee and tickling her in front of her mother who was happy with the attention the girl was getting.

It later progressed to rubbing her breasts and getting on top of her in his car while both were clothed while making grunting noises and it was clear he was satisfying himself, the victim said.

The judge said given the defendant’s position of authority as a priest, this was “a grievous breach of trust against the young girl and her family”.

Cunningham pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault against the female on dates between January 1 1976 and December 31 1976 at a location in Donegal.

The defendant also pleaded guilty to a similar third count that occurred at an unknown location between Donegal and Dublin on dates between January 1 1976 and June 30 1977.

Judge Aylmer initially imposed a sentence of 15 months but suspended the final six months.

The woman told two ex-boyfriends, her husband on the day he proposed to her and counsellors about the abuse.

The victim made a statement of complaint to the gardai on January 2 2013.