Abuse blighted my life, says victim as he watches his attacker walk free

A former priest whose abuse of children in the 1970s and 1980s was featured in the Murphy Report will walk free this weekend despite receiving an 18-month jail term.

Patrick McCabe, aged 77, formerly of Alameda, California, was extradited to Ireland in Jun 2011 and has spent the past 21 months in custody awaiting sentence.

Waiving his right to anonymity, one of his victims, James Moran, aged 50, said McCabe’s assault had blighted his life. He said he went from being a happy child to contemplating suicide at the age of 18.

McCabe pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to indecent assault of Mr Moran at a Co Kildare school between Jan and Apr 1977.

He also pleaded guilty to indecent assault of another boy, who cannot be named, at two locations in Dublin between Jan and Sept 1979. Both victims were 13 when McCabe molested them.

David Keane, defending, said he had been instructed by McCabe to offer a “sincere apology to the two victims for the pain and hurt he has caused”. He said his client also asked for forgiveness.

Both victims had saidthe abuse had left them “tortured, tormented, and haunted”, said Judge Margaret Heneghan.

Insp Jim Doyle told Cormac Quinn, prosecuting, that he travelled to California in 2006 to interview the priest about the abuse.

McCabe told him he visited Mr Moran at his boarding school after seeing a photograph of the boy at his parent’s home.

The then laicised priest said: “He met all the requirements to match my fetish. He was handsome and had a nice shirt and tie. I embraced him and fondled him.”

The second victim was abused at the parochial house after McCabe had offered to show him the crypts of the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin City.

McCabe was dressed and had an erection when he started kissing the boy and lay on top of the boy with all his weight.

On another occasion, the ex-priest abused the boy after they had prayed together at an altar he had in his home. He gave the boy a present of rosary beads after the abuse.

McCabe was arrested in the US in Aug 2010 and extradited to Ireland in Jun 2011. Last October he was jailed for 18 months after he pleaded guilty to the indecent assault of five schoolboys.

Judge Heneghan said the maximum possible sentence for each offence was two years. She said she had to take into account McCabe’s guilty plea, his admissions to gardaí, his remorse, his age, and his medical condition.

She said McCabe’s conduct was utterly abhorrent and was an immense breach and abuse of trust, but accepted a submission from defence counsel that these offences lay at the lower end of the scale. She said this was not a case where consecutive sentences were appropriate.

The victim said his life has been blighted by the abuse and the events around it. As an adult he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

“I failed my Leaving Cert, failed all attempts at relationships but most importantly, felt I had failed my family. I have experienced every emotion associated with self-loathing,” Mr Moran told the court.


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