An English priest who molested a 12-year-old boy after bringing the child and his brother on holiday to Ireland over 40 years ago has been jailed for nine months.
Michael Dunn, aged 67, who pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault, intends to appeal the sentence, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday.
Dunn knew the boy and his family as the child served as an altar boy. The victim was bullied at school and Dunn became his “trusted confidant”, the court heard.
The victim told the court Dunn groomed him to comply and that said he felt helpless to escape.
“I was imprisoned in what was supposed to be a holiday and 100 miles from home,” he said.
The now 53-year-old said in his Garda statement he felt he loved Dunn as he was a father figure and friend. He was the only person who showed him physical affection and he later “felt bad for letting it happen”.
Dunn, with an address in Lawrence St, York, England, pleaded guilty to three charges of sexual assault in August 1975 when he was 26 years old. He was jailed for 18 months in England in March 2005 after he was convicted of sexual assaulting another young boy in the 1970s.
Judge Melanie Greally noted Dunn entered the priesthood at a very young age, when he was “ill-prepared for the challenges of priesthood, both sexually and socially”.
The judge took into account mitigating factors including his guilty plea and the fact he had lived an “irreproachable” life ever since.
Bernard Condon, defending, indicated Dunn would be appealing the sentence and asked that he be granted bail pending the outcome. Judge Greally denied the bail application.
In a victim impact statement, the man
said he had been at an early stage of his sexual and emotional development.
“I cannot say the abuse made me gay but it normalised in my psyche an attraction to men.”
He said that, as a married man and father, he led a “secret life of alcohol and infidelity with other men”.
He said his “greatest sadness” was the pain this process had caused his wife and children. He described life with him as “intolerable”, two of his older children left home and his marriage had broken down.
He said he had completed 60 hours of therapy and had finally started a process of coming to terms with what happened to him. “I hope to live a normal, honest and fulfilled life from now,” he said.
Mr Condon said his client apologised and regretted his behaviour. He said he recognised the impact the abuse had on the man and “is full of remorse, horror, and shame”.
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